our team

founders Ryo Kawaguchi

Ryo is co-founder and CTO at tonari, leading software and hardware engineering, prototyping, design, manufacturing, and production. He previously 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 also led the early engineering team at Infostellar, and co-founded Straylight with Taj and Alisaun.

Taj Campbell

Taj is co-founder and CEO of tonari. He leads tonari’s product, roadmap and vision to align a superb international team of creatives, engineers, and operators. He previously worked at Google from 2007 to 2015, where as a Product Manager he co-led the design and development of Google Maps, along with numerous other projects. In 2016, he also co-founded Straylight, a Tokyo-based collective of makers pushing the boundaries of technology, art, and design.

relations Alisaun Fukugaki

Alisaun is a founding member of tonari and a nimble operator, overseeing various customer relations, research, and business development efforts. She is also community builder and co-founder of Straylight, a Tokyo-based makers collective, and もしも, a Hayama-based co-op and event space. Born and raised in Tokyo, she flits between being Japanese and American (whenever it's convenient). 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 founding member of tonari, and leads creative marketing, business development, community, and experiential design. She 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 music, art and technology.

Gaku Wada

Gaku leads many of the heavy operations at tonari, across manufacturing and installations to enterprise sales and business development. Previously, he was at Mitsui & Co. from 2008, where he engaged in trading with customers all over the world, including a stint in Dubai. He then landed at Moon Creative Lab’s Palo Alto office to design incubation programs that help entrepreneurs with business and product development. Gaku loves watching the NBA, he’s a sneakerhead, and he is recently exploring the world of homemade bacon.

Megumi Koyama

Megu runs customer success at tonari, helping define and expand tonari’s value through consulting, research, and onboarding programs. She has over 10 years of experience working as a service designer, UX designer, and design researcher for IT, finance, consulting, and non-profits. Outside of tonari, she works as a facilitator at NPO PIECES, building a civic engagement program to prevent child isolation. Much of Megu’s practice is centered on aspects of design, technology and social impact — and exploring how technology can be used for inclusive community building.

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.

Matěj Laitl

Matěj is a seasoned software engineer with a passion for open-source. His personal mission is to fight excess complexity on all levels: from software architecture to interpersonal relations. To achieve this, Matěj likes to combine hard skills with candid collaboration, giving and carefully listening to feedback.

Pablo Mansanet

Pablo is an electronics engineer turned bare-metal software developer, ethical hacker, and Rust addict. He brings experience from the medical and aerospace industries, where a misplaced bit can send things flying the wrong way. He enjoys writing, transforming coffee into code, collecting hobbies, and learning from everyone and everything around him.

Jen Koutný

Jen is a generalist software engineer who is easily excited by any hard problem. His nickname, "Jen Tak", translates to "just because". He enjoys exercising his silly ideas which are mostly a waste of time but sometimes something brilliant comes out. Perfectionism is his biggest strength and enemy. Away from the keyboard he likes to keep his heart-rate high with running, cycling, paragliding and climbing.

Marek Bernát

Marek is a software engineer who enjoys studying all kinds of systems, be it in biology, math, or software. After completing his theoretical physics degree he had spent a decade doing web development in various companies, large and small. To shake things up a little bit he then tried a role in game development, working on networked physics simulations. He spends a good chunk of his free time inhabiting imaginary worlds, be it books, music, movies, video games, or just daydreaming about living by the sea and sailing off into the sunset.

administration Shiro Gonoo

Shiro heads business administration, finance, and HR operations at tonari, and is a founding member. A serial entrepreneur, he 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

Alvaro has led brand and product design at tonari since our earliest days in 2017. He is also the founder of Nuevo.Tokyo, where he 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 London, NYC to Taipei to Sweden to Tokyo.

Adam Esposito

Adam contributes to space, product, and experience design at tonari, while also running his own design firm, Espo Atelier. Previously working at Gensler from 2006-2019, focusing on workplace and education projects, as well as hospitality, product and retail; and in 2014, he moved to Tokyo and became lead designer for large international projects such as Twitter, Google, Facebook and TikTok across Japan and Asia. Understanding both local and global cultures has been the foundation for many of Adam’s projects, and allows him to explore the future of work as technology and environments change.

delivery Sumio Aizawa

Sumio is a master crafter and builder, and lends his expertise to tonari across prototyping, design, production, and installation. He is also 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 metal and woodwork to apparel and jewelry design. Sumio also owns and operates his own furniture studio in Koenji, Tokyo.

Jimmy Heil

Jimmy manages the technical and physical deployments of our products both domestically and internationally. Previously he worked at one of APACs largest audiovisual integrators as a managing consultant and project manager where he built and lead the New Media Technology Department to research and develop commercial applications for emerging technology products and has engaged in deployments all around Japan. He enjoys spending time producing various tech related events at a community run space called moshimo that doubles as an office for tonari.

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work with us

Tokyo / Prague 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
  • 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
  • Industry experience with mechanical or electrical 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

Right now, we're looking for new engineering hires who are able to relocate to Tokyo for a period of 3~12 months. After the initial onboarding, you may relocate to Hayama, Prague, or any other distributed locations. As much as we're working to improve the state of distributed work, it's really important at our current stage for new hires to be co-located with our team, with physical access to our development spaces and tonari hardware installations.

Tokyo / Hayama Customer Success

What you’ll do

  • Drive adoption, retention, and expansion for a product people love that solves real problems, supporting our customers in Japan and APAC
  • Directly engage with our customers to help them explore new use cases, build new relationships, and increase the value of tonari in their spaces; run online and onsite workshops, and coach users on best practices for organizing events with tonari
  • Meaningfully improve and shape our future products; as you engage with customers, you'll gain insights to help us serve them better, and work with our development team to inform what we do next
  • Travel to customers and partners; attend and participate in events; develop important relationships and grow tonari's community
  • Help build and refine the foundations of Customer Success at tonari as an early member of our sales and success team; build playbooks to manage and grow our operations

What we're looking for

  • 3-5 years experience in customer success, sales, or a similar role
  • High degree of adaptability, flexibility, and autonomy
  • Love getting to know new people and helping them solve their problems; can put yourself in others’ shoes and see situations from perspectives other than your own
  • Experience working with domestic Japanese and multinational companies; able to intuit work culture, communication, and power dynamics in various organizations
  • Exceptional communication skills in Japanese and English; personal, anticipatory, and responsive; analytical, clear, and concise
  • Comfortable working as part of a small and diverse team; values openness, accountability, teamwork, and servant leadership
  • Able to find creative solutions and bring structure into ambiguous areas of opportunity

Bonus points

  • Experience in leading customer success at a fast-growing B2B startup
  • Experience in user research and running effective user workshops
  • Relevant experience with SaaS, Hardware-as-a-Service, or workplace consulting
  • Passion to advance a more open, flexible, and equitable work culture in Japan; balances focused work, creative exploration, and meaningful time off
  • Flexibility to travel frequently to clients for onsite engagements and workshops
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