One of Japan’s most highly regarded businessmen, Sachio Semmoto, was recently recognized at his alma mater, the University of Florida, with the International Philanthropist Award. Semmoto, a serial entrepreneur, is widely credited for starting from scratch the first competitive telecommunication company in Japan, DDI Corporation (now KDDI, worth $80 billion dollars) at a time when there was only a state-owned monopoly in the marketplace. He followed with the creation of the highly successful telecommunications ventures eAccess, Inc., and, several years later, EMOBILE, Inc. With a propensity to create new systems for future generations, Semmoto is also a founder of Eco-Power Co., Ltd., Japan’s first wind-power generating company, and has helped lead the movement for eco-friendly technology in Japan. He is the Executive Chairman of Renova, one of Japan’s leading renewable energy developer and power producer. Semmoto’s entrepreneurial spirit further inspired him to co-found the Japan Academic Society of Ventures and Entrepreneurs in an effort to foster innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting the commercializing of new inventions in a highly developed and mature economy.
Semmoto’s gift to the university supports the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. He established the Dr. Sachio Semmoto Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is the named benefactor of the global teleconferencing facility in the Herbert Wertheim Lab for Engineering Excellence slated to complete in 2019.
Semmoto earned a UF master’s degree in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1971, both in electrical and computer engineering, and he frequently attributes his entrepreneurial success to his graduate education at UF. In 2004, he was recognized as a UF distinguished alumnus, and the Warrington College of Business named him the Distinguished Alumnus Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008.