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Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

Livesense boss is youngest to head listed firm

Murakami's Internet services site president just 25 years old


Internet services firm Livesense Inc. debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market for startups on Dec. 7, with Taichi Murakami making history as the youngest head of a newly listed Japanese company at the age of 25 years and 1 month.

News photo
Starting young: Taichi Murakami, president of Internet services company Livesense Inc., stands at his office in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward earlier this month. KYODO PHOTO

The youngest of three children of a salaried worker, Murakami said he started thinking about becoming a company president when he was in primary school.

"I got a sense of joy when I served as a class representative and could help people around me," Murakami said in an interview. "I grew up thinking I would be able to influence many people through the job of president."

In his high school years, Murakami was already preparing to start his own business and got a license in bookkeeping.

In 2005, he won a business plan contest held by Daiwa Institute of Research by drafting an idea that eventually led to the creation of Livesense, a company set up in 2006 to manage various Internet -based services.

The Jobsense website for part-time jobs was started when he was a 19-year-old freshman at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Previously, Web advertisements for job offers typically sought fees from businesses for posting information over certain periods of time. Murakami introduced the idea of charging fees only when the information drew inquiries or other responses.

But "this model was already being followed by other businesses," he said. "The true source of earnings is Web marketing techniques and the ability to develop services."

Murakami's company has expanded the idea to similar sites for selling property and secondhand vehicles. Livesense generated a net profit of ¥100 million on sales of ¥600 million in the year ended December 2010.

On the stock market, Livesense has been performing strongly. It opened at ¥1,800 on its first trading day, a huge jump from the initial public offering price of ¥990, and rose limit-up to ¥2,200.

The stock was trading just above ¥2,400 on Wednesday.

"I hope to show the way for younger generations who want to start businesses," he said. Before Murakami, the youngest head of a company listed on the Mothers market was Haruhisa Okamura of Adways Co., who was 26 years and 2 months old when his venture debuted.

Hailing from Tokyo, Murakami said his hobby is "work" and he lives in a one-room condominium.

"It just gives me joy to work and before I know it I find myself sitting in front of a PC even at home," he said.

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