meet
our team

founders Ryo Kawaguchi

Ryo worked at Google Japan for 6 years as a Staff Engineer and Technical Lead for Google Maps, where he managed large-scale engineering efforts that impacted hundreds of millions users, ranging from semantic analysis to restaurant search. He then led the launch of the engineering team at Infostellar, and co-founded Straylight with Taj. At tonari, he is responsible for prototyping and design of hardware components besides software.

Taj Campbell

Taj worked at Google from 2007 to 2015, where as a Product Manager he helped lead the design and development of Google Maps, along with numerous other projects. In 2016, he also co-founded Straylight, a Tokyo-based collective of creators pushing the boundaries of technology, art, and design.

relations Alisaun Fukugaki

Alisaun is a community builder and co-founder of the Straylight collective. Born and raised in Tokyo, she flits between being Japanese and American (whenever it's convenient). In 2014 she created Startup the Party, a Tokyo meets San Francisco technology, music, and arts conference. She led past lives as an equity broker and techno party organizer, and is now exploring and building a new life and community outside of the city.

Shizuka Zucca Nagahama

Zucca is a multi-lingual, globally minded creative director with 10 years of professional experience in the TV and music industry as a director, producer and business development executive. She has worked on a wide range of content including educational programs, animation, documentaries, music and fashion shows, and digital content involving motion capture, holograms and mobile applications. She's passionate about cultural projects, education and city design which combine art and technology.

engineering Brian Schwind

Brian is a programmer, hacker, and hobbyist who moves seamlessly between the worlds of software and hardware. In his own words: “Software is always fun to write, but sometimes you just want to hold something you can give to other people and say I made that.” He brings extensive experience in Rust (tonari’s language of choice), and a can-do attitude and ability to make anything happen.

Jake McGinty

Jake has dedicated most of his engineering career to bridging the gap between security and usability. Jake helped to redesign Signal, an encrypted messenger recommended by the likes of Edward Snowden, worked on the Kindle at Amazon, and more recently has authored a number of open-source libraries for next-generation protocols to help engineers write secure software more easily.

administration Shiro Gonoo

Shiro started his first company after graduation, which he later used to develop mobile applications as a product manager for various clients in Japan. In 2014, he co-founded a startup focused on retail apparel in South East Asia, where he worked as COO and managed finance, development, and marketing for their physical and online stores.

design Alvaro Arregui

Founder of Nuevo.Studio Tokyo, Alvaro and his team use design processes to help brands, including Sony and Nissan, to drive the vision of new products to come. Working as a designer since 2001 Alvaro was previously Lead Designer at ustwo (Monument Valley game), and has vast experience in remote and flexible working environments, collaborating with the best teams and brands, from NYC to Taipei to Sweden to Tokyo.

Adam Esposito

Adam worked at Gensler from 2006-2019, focusing mainly on workplace & education projects, whilst also including hospitality, product and retail. In 2014, he took the chance to transfer to the Tokyo office and became lead designer on many large international projects for clients such as Twitter, Google, Spotify, Facebook and TikTok in Japan and across Asia. Understanding local and global cultures and integrating them into projects has been the foundation for many of his projects, and allows him to explore how people want to work in the future as technology and environments change.

construction Sumio Aizawa

Sumio is the founder of SUMAR WORKS, a construction and design company specializing in commercial architecture. He has over 26 years of experience in design and crafts ranging from apparel to jewelry design. Sumio also owns and operates his own furniture studio in Koenji, Tokyo. At tonari, he lends his expertise in design, production, and installation.

tonari team photos

work with us

Tokyo Software Engineer

What you’ll do

  • Develop computer vision, audio processing and network software for high-fidelity, life-scale telepresence installations
  • Research, test and assemble hardware components for the installations. Architect the instructions for mass-production
  • Create fast and scalable backend systems on a global infrastructure to serve users all over the world

What we're looking for

  • 3+ years of industry software development experience on Linux and general purpose programming languages such as C/C++, C#, Go, Rust, or Java
  • 3+ years of experience developing real-time, low-latency systems and doing performance optimization, working with low-level systems such as OS kernel, drivers, CUDA, OpenGL, Vulkan and FPGA; or
  • 3+ years of industry experience with mechanical or electrial engineering and doing rapid prototyping of hardware components
  • Working proficiency and communication skills in verbal and written English

Bonus points

  • Software development experience with Rust
  • Ph.D or industrial research experience on machine learning, DNN, or computer vision
  • Working proficiency and communication skills in verbal and written Japanese

Overseas and remote hires

At the moment, we are looking for candidates who are willing to consider temporarily or permanently relocating to Tokyo, Japan. As much as we believe in promoting flexible and distributed work, it's really important at our current stage to be co-located with our team, with physical access to our development space and tonari installations. Due to COVID-19 and its impacts on travel and immigration, please understand that the hiring process for overseas candidates may take much longer.

Tokyo Sales / Business Development

What you’ll do

  • Plan and execute go-to-market strategy for early adopters in Japan
  • Define and validate go-to-market hypotheses targeting specific industries, locations, use cases, pain points, value, and ROI
  • Prospect and develop new potential accounts; hold meetings with prospective customers to understand their business challenges and goals
  • Run product demos; educate prospective customers about how to design and integrate tonari into their work environment to improve collaboration and closeness
  • Close deals; focus on medium and large enterprises that can influence others, develop novel case studies, and become long-term customers and collaborators
  • Work closely with product and success teams to provide insights to the Japanese market; influence planning, development, and delivery of new products, features, and services
  • Manage and grow future sales and partner operations; help build playbooks and define our sales motion
  • Travel to customers and partners; attend and participate in events; manage important relationships, expand outreach, and grow tonari's community

What we're looking for

  • 3-5 years experience in business development, full-cycle sales, or similar role
  • High degree of adaptability, flexibility, and autonomy
  • Natural partner-facing skills; easily build trust and inspire confidence
  • Exceptional communication skills in Japanese and English; personal, anticipatory, and responsive externally; analytical, clear, and concise internally
  • Comfortable working as part of a small and high-performing team; values openness, accountability, teamwork, and servant leadership
  • An ability to find creative solutions when faced with ambiguity and bring structure into ambiguous areas of opportunity

Bonus points

  • Experience as an early sales hire at a fast-growing startup; relevant experience with SaaS, technical sales, or workplace consulting
  • Strong network of large enterprises, real estate companies, or high growth startups that value people and innovative work environments
  • Experience working with domestic Japanese and multinational companies; understands work styles, communication challenges, and power dynamics in varying organizations
  • Passion to advance a more open, flexible, and equitable work culture in Japan; balances focused work, creative exploration, and meaningful time off