Design Your Own Road
It began with one user’s voice.
“I’ve even given up on going to the grocery store two blocks away.”
Our journey started in 2010 with this simple statement from a wheelchair user. He did not want to be seen in public as a wheelchair user. He disliked the negative perceptions associated with wheelchairs; that he must be ill or weak. To solve this, we started to create an original mobility device just for him.
After one year of development, we exhibited our work at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. We were overwhelmed by the positive reaction from all over the world. We realized that many people desired this kind of innovation in the mobility industry. We saw how meaningful what we were creating could be for people with mobility issues. This is why we founded WHILL.
Our mission is to make technology that is minimalistic, functional and stylish. We intend to fundamentally change the attitudes of personal mobility users, as well as the general perceptions of personal mobility. WHILL’s biggest impact is truly emotional. Since relocating to the US, we have met with over 400 personal mobility device users to gain further insight. Some have even joined our team to further strengthen our ability to fine tune WHILL Model A.
Brilliant reactions from many people during test drive events have reaffirmed to us time and time again that our next generation of personal mobility would allow anyone, whether abled or disabled, to ride personal mobility devices in an easy, stylish, and fun manner. Nobody should be confined because they don’t feel comfortable with how they move from point A to point B. We want every individual to be confident, comfortable, and independent.
Meet the Founders
Sugie worked for Nissan’s Advanced Transportation Department, where he helped develop the future of transportation based on real-user lifestyles. After Nissan, he founded Smile Park, an engineering startup that focused on new product development. In 2011, he cofounded the WHILL project. Sugie moved to San Francisco, California in 2012, to become WHILL’s CEO. Sugie is a member of the World Economic Forum and Davas Meeting GSC Japan member.
Junpei joined Sony Corporation in 2008 as a product engineer developing automotive cameras. He co-founded Sunny Side Garage, an engineering innovation unit, in 2009 and produced several products with his team. In 2011, he co-founded the WHILL Project.
Mune joined Olympus Corporation as a medical device engineer in 2008. Alongside Junpei and Naoto, he was also a co-founder of Sunny Side Garage in 2009 and eventually started the WHILL Project in 2011. After co-founding WHILL, he resigned from Olympus and joined WHILL Inc. as the Chief Technology Officer in 2012.
Owner, Beneficial Designs, Inc.
Owner CEO, Decus Biomedical LLC
Sherman Nam Tran, MD
President, Spine & Sports Medical Group & General Partner, Spine & Sports Surgery Center
Kanagawa rehabilitation center rehabilitation engineering laboratory
Managing Partner at Crystal Tech Fund
Geek, Marketer, Hustler, Investor, Dancer, Blogger, Troublemaker, and Sith Lord
Nishimura & Asahi, Seikei University School of Law, Legal Training and Research Institute of Supreme Court of Japan
Co-Founder ACCESS, Founder TomyK
Co-founded and former CEO of Sun Microsystems
Watch Scott McNealy’s Interview about WHILL >
Fumiaki Ikeno, M.D
Stanford biodesign /Stanford University