Empower and Revitalize Japan for Next Generation

Enjoy our initiatives and ideas that embody SOPHOLA's Vision, Mission and Values.
We will update our employees' daily lives and thoughts so that you can understand the SOPHOLA culture.

Introduction to Sebastian

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that we will welcome Sebastian as a wonderful newbie. Not only he possesses valuable skills and charming character, but he also resonates with SOPHOLA’s vision, mission, and businesses. Before he starts working on 19th, I had asked him a bunch of questions to know more about him!

1) Tell me about your background!
A.  I was born in Stockholm, Sweden and grew up in Australia, England and Sweden. I first moved to Tokyo in 2009 but have subsequently lived in Kanagawa and Nara before settling in Nagano. Professionally, I have spent the last 2 years focusing on the Japanese ecommerce market working with Scandinavian brands to launch their products in Japan. Previously, I worked for several years as a marketing consultant for primarily fintech companies and app developers.

2) What are your strengths?
A. I think flexibility and independence are two of my main strengths. Flexibility in particular is not something which comes naturally to me as I tend to prefer structure but is something that I have had to learn in my last two jobs, where job descriptions and responsibilities were very fluid. Working independently has also been something I have had to learn, sometimes painfully, as a result of working with teams spread out in different countries and time zones.

3) What made you decide to join SOPHOLA?
A. There were two main aspects that really attracted me to Sophola: on the one hand, the work itself was very compelling, combining some areas that I was familiar with from my previous jobs with brand new areas such as the focus on AI tools. It is a new challenge with some familiar elements. On the other hand, the long-term vision of the company and its goal to affect positive change really spoke to me. The manner in which the company intends to have a positive effect by leveraging modern technologies and its area of expertise also makes it feel achievable and concrete.

4) Tell me what you would like to do at SOPHOLA!
A. In the short term, I want to develop my sales skills and help Sophola expand its portfolio of foreign clients. I also want to pursue a content marketing strategy to communicate valuable information that addresses the questions of prospective customers. In the long term, I want to be involved in Sophola’s work promoting traditional crafts.

5) What do you suggest our readers do in Nagano?
A. I would definitely recommend skiing or snowboarding. While the big ski resorts like Hakuba are great, I personally love my local slope Banshogahara. It’s never crowded and the atmosphere is really laid-back with mostly locals. If you’re not into skiing, I would recommend visiting a hot-spring. Zippuku no yo is great if you’re looking for something big. I also like Oyu in Bessho Onsen if you are looking for something a little more rustic. If you’re like me and find Japanese summers unbearably hot, I also recommend escaping the heat in Karuizawa. It gets very busy and packed with tourists on holidays and weekends but if you head off the beaten track, it is incredibly peaceful and, crucially, very cool.

Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO