100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2017-2018 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Aqua Bank

President Takashi Takehara

Kyoto Prefecture
Message to young people
Don’t make money just to buy food. Create a new company, or a new business to leave proof that you were here. You have only 700,000 hours to live your life. I want you to spend your time in an efficient way and challenge everything. A failure is not pointless, but it is an experience for you.

My father was a researcher studying technologies used to maintain food freshness. When I was a third-grade elementary school student, my father bought me a book that made a big impression on me. The book was a comic about the theory of relativity, and it touched on such topics as time dilation and why a thing can appear smaller than it actually is. The book left me with many questions, but is also inspired me to become interested in physics. When I was a freshman in university, I finally answered the questions I had in my mind. After that, I specialized in superconductive magnetic substances, as I was interested in the unseen forces behind magnetism. Through this work, I gained the habit of seeking out answers to things I didn’t know.

After graduating from university, I took over my father’s business, the Takehara Research Institute. With the patent for a plant used to maintain freshness of fresh foods, I was engaged in joint development with other companies for commercialization of the plant. But, I eventually gave up the idea of manufacturing and selling the plant, and instead switched to a business using the plant. When our business came to a dead end in 2010, I saw a brochure that was recruiting people to sell the home-delivery service of reverse osmosis water. This brought up many questions such why do they bottle tap water into a bottle for sale? Why is the bottled-water market growing? And, why do fewer people drink tap water these days? Those questions led me to the development of a water server with water-purifying functions. I decided to combine the product with a hydrogen water production mechanism to create a new value-added product.

I completed designing the product in about six months. But I needed an initial investment to start manufacturing the product, and I also faced the new challenge of how to sell the product. What I needed then was a future design of the business, a business perspective for potential future growth of the market and a business model for the product. But, above all, the most important thing was to make it clear why I created my own company. I made a corporate prospectus and a future business plan, while running around trying to find financing for the business. Eventually, I put together a ¥5 million investment and another ¥5 million loan. I used up all my savings for the investment as well to start a very small business, with only one staff, myself, as president. But I managed to gain operating know-how on this business in a short time, as I was helped by a lot of companies such as a water server wholesaler, a maker of raw materials for water filters, an engineering company, a distributor, a product marketing company, a test product design company, a product assay company and so on. Product shipping started only three months after the founding of the company, and I had sales of almost ¥100 million in the first business year.

Now we need fresh investment, not for listing the company, but to materialize our corporate vision. We want to provide a healthy life to as many people as possible. Our mission now is to create a healthy society by offering water for life with a touch of hydrogen added.

Company Profile

Aqua Bank
Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture
Production and rental of mineral hydrogen water servers