San Francisco, CA – July 14, 2017 – The founder and CEO of WHILL, Satoshi Sugie, has been named to the prestigious group of 40 Under 40 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for 2017.
Satoshi worked for Nissan as a car designer before co-founding WHILL with Muneaki Fukuoka, previously of Olympus’ medical device division, and Jun Naito from Sony. Satoshi founded WHILL, Inc. in 2012 in Tokyo, Japan with the mission of developing Personal Electric Vehicles (EVs) for both able-bodied people and those with mobility issues.
Of particular concern are the 20% of Americans that will be over the age of 65 by 2050 and how their mobility related issues will be addressed. The team also identified the estimated number of people with severe disabilities growing to 25.9 million by 2020. So, in 2013, Satoshi moved WHILL to the Silicon Valley to establish a U.S. headquarters.
In the short span of three years since WHILL’s arrival in the US, the company has:
- Won multiple international design and technology awards such as CES Innovations Award, Engadget’s Best of CES Award, IDEA Award and Good Design Award.
- Developed a remote control iPhone App for the Model A
- Earned FDA clearance for the Model M
- Been awarded an FSS contract for the VA
- Provided new and innovative mobility to more than 1,000 users worldwide
As Silicon Valley Business Journal notes, “Our batch of 40 honorees have locked up achievements many folks never accomplish in their lifetimes, much less by the age of 40.” Satoshi’s initiatives to provide joy and confidence to the user of personal mobility devices explains this 40 under 40 recognition by Silicon Valley Business Journal.
WHILL believes seniors are often stigmatized by the perception of medical devices when considering wheelchair use, opting instead to limit their activities and independence. As a result, they interact less with their community by not addressing their limited mobility. Seniors with mobility limitations can use WHILL electric vehicles to confidently remain in the community and maintain their quality of life.
Since its founding in 2013, WHILL’s mission has been to transform today’s antiquated powerchair and scooter experiences with a new intelligent, personal electric vehicle (EV). WHILL is reinventing the personal mobility industry with personal EVs that focus on approachability and functionality that boost confidence while pushing the boundaries of personal transportation. Headquartered in the Bay Area with offices in Tokyo and Taiwan, WHILL is focused on enabling everyone to explore the world in comfort and style. WHILL Model M is assigned HCPCS code: K0898.
Model M CAUTION: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician 07/17 740-01454-MKT-14