William Saito

William H. Saito

William Hiroyuki Saito, 2008
Born March 23, 1971
Los Angeles, California
Residence Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese American
Alma mater University of California, Riverside
Known for Information security, biometrics, entrepreneurship, innovation

William Hiroyuki Saito (ウィリアム 浩幸 齋藤, born March 23, 1971) is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, public policy consultant and educator who has founded start-ups, managed corporations, and contributed to global information security policy over the past two decades. He holds multiple patents in the U.S. and Japan based on his work in information and data security, particularly the field of biometrics.

William Saito is the author of numerous essays and other publications. His autobiography, An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur was published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.[1] His first book in Japanese, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan was published in 2012 by Nikkei BP[2] and became a bestseller in Japan. His follow-on book, Is Your Thinking up to Global Standards? was published in 2013 by Daiwa Shobo.[3]

In addition to being a public speaker[4] and prolific writer in both English and Japanese (he currently contributes a regular weekly column to the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun), Saito is regularly quoted in the media on both sides of the Pacific. He currently lives in Japan, where he runs global consultancy firm InTecur, serves on multiple government advisory committees, and lectures at the nation’s top universities. The Nikkei newspaper named him one of the "100 Most Influential People for Japan."

He is currently the Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan in charge of science & technology and information technology policy.

Early life in the U.S.

Saito’s parents emigrated from Japan to the United States in 1969, two years before William was born in Los Angeles, California. Both his father and mother—a chemist and veterinarian, respectively—stressed the value of acquiring math skills. Saito was solving college-level math problems by the time he finished primary school, and working on the school’s only computer. While still in junior high, he began performing coding jobs for Merrill Lynch and other firms.

Excited by the challenges and potential of personal computers, Saito and high school classmate Tas Dienes began developing and marketing software products under the name I/O Software. Saito graduated a year early from Damien High School in 1987, and went on to earn a degree in biomedical science from the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

U.S. business activities

Saito and Dienes formally incorporated I/O Software, Inc. in late 1991 while they were still in college, and began operating out of an industrial park in Rancho Cucamonga. The company eventually moving to Riverside, California, and grew into a developer of information security solutions based on advanced user authentication and encryption (e.g., biometrics, smart cards, security tokens) utilized in digital certificates, public key infrastructure (PKI) and e-commerce systems.

Saito made use of his bilingual upbringing in 1992 when Datastorm Technologies, Inc., intent on entering the Japanese market, asked I/O Software to localize Procomm Plus for NEC’s PC98 series of computers. After Symantec acquired Datastorm, it made a similar request for Norton Utilities. Saito performed those tasks and also devised methods for displaying Japanese characters on IBM-compatible machines and printing them on a PostScript printer.

An influx of localization and translation work for various software products and documentation bound for Japan followed, including market development related to the upcoming Windows platform. Saito and I/O also used their knowledge of Windows on behalf of a number of various Japanese peripheral manufacturers to develop device drivers for printers, scanners, cameras and other components.

In 1995, I/O Software's biggest customer, Toshiba, developed a new standard for high-speed, high-resolution video cameras. Saito and I/O Software developed a device driver optimized for this specification, helped Toshiba develop the hardware. In the process, they also created the first Windows-based videoconferencing application. When Sony expressed serious interest in that application, I/O Software's products became part of Sony’s successful videoconferencing system lineup.

Subsequently, Saito and I/O Software developed a PC-based fingerprint recognition system for Sony, a product that won numerous industry awards and accolades. Realizing the enormous potential of developing a standard platform for biometric devices, in the late 1990s, Saito led I/O Software’s development of a system They called BioAPI or BAPI.

In May 2000, Saito negotiated an agreement with Microsoft Corporation to integrate BAPI and other I/O Software’s technology into the Windows operating system. The technology was eventually licensed to over 160 companies worldwide, became an ANSI and ISO standard, and was later added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Technology Institute. In December 2004, I/O Software was acquired by Microsoft.

Japan-based activities

After selling I/O Software in 2004, Saito moved to Japan. From Tokyo, he focused on advising clients worldwide on business and technology issues and educating people about security and entrepreneurship.

Professional history

In early 2006, Saito was named co-chairman and CEO of Giuliani Security and Safety Asia (GSSA), a subsidiary of Giuliani Partners, as well as the group's chief technical officer (CTO).

In July 2007, Saito established InTecur, a business consultancy service that serves as his main corporate base. InTecur assists global companies with innovative technologies to identify and develop applications and markets in such areas as information and communication technologies and IT security. The company also helps corporations cope with economic changes by repositioning and revamping their technologies to fit profitable new markets and geographies.

Additional academic and corporate roles in Japan

In recent years, Saito has devoted much of his time to writing, teaching and lecturing. In addition to his popular course on innovation at Keio University, he is a visiting professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, a guest lecturer at the University of Tokyo and a fellow at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). He is a visiting researcher at the Research Center for Information Security and an advisor at the Venture Support Center—both part of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Saito is an advisor for Industrial Growth Platform, Inc., an M&A restructuring and strategic consultant that counsels client firms and their principal stakeholders on the long-term risks associated with achieving sustainable growth.

To build entrepreneurial spirit in Japan, Saito also acts as CEO for the Innovation Platform Technology Fund (IPTF), a venture capital fund established by ex-Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei and Kazuhiko Toyama, the former COO of the Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan (IRCJ). The IPTF seeks to produce more successful global ventures in Japan by creating a genuine venture environment.

Advisor to the Japanese government

In recent years, Saito has served as an advisor to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC), Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology (MEXT), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and the Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPA) of Japan.

In December 2011, Saito was asked to serve as chief technical officer (CTO) for the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC), an independent investigative organ chartered for the first time in modern Japanese history by the Japanese Parliament to conduct a neutral and scientific examination of the facts surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.[5]

In 2012, Saito became a Council Member on National Strategy and Policy at the National Policy Unit, which reported directly to the Japanese prime minister and acted as a command center to promote cross‐ministerial planning and coordination. The Unit was created to enhance political leadership following the historic change of power on September 16, 2009, which put the Yukio Hatoyama administration into office.

In 2013, Saito was appointed Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan in charge of science & technology and information technology policy.

Public roles

World Economic Forum

Saito is active in several roles with the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2011, he was named a Young Global Leader,[6] a member of the Global Agenda Council (focusing on Women Empowerment) and a founding curator for the Japan hub of the Global Shapers Community (GSC).[7] The community aims to provide youth with a global platform to shape the future – integrating personal, community and global dimensions. In January 2012, Saito was named a Member of the Board of the Global Shapers Foundation.

Other public roles

Saito served as a judge and chair of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award program in the U.S. (1999—2004), judged the 2007 world program in Monte Carlo and has judged the program in Japan since its inception. He has performed the same function at several other entrepreneurial competitions worldwide.

Saito has been a keynote speaker, panelist and moderator at numerous conferences. He is a frequent speaker and/or panelist on a wide range of topics at symposia around the world and is quoted frequently in publications such as Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times and many of Japan’s national newspapers. He is often interviewed or is a guest on programs by CNN, BBC, NPR, TV Tokyo and NHK (Japan’s national broadcast network), among others.

Community service

Saito is an ardent supporter of “volunteerism” and encourages everyone from his university students to business associates to help the underprivileged. He regularly supports charitable and community-based organizations in the U.S. and Japan and has served on the board of several.


  1. William Saito. "An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur". John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
  2. William Saito. "ザ・チーム 日本の一番大きな問題を解く". Nikkei BP.
  3. William Saito. "その考え方は、「世界標準」ですか?". Daiwa Shobo.
  4. William H Saito. "Speaking and Public Engagements".
  5. Hiroko Tabuchi (2012-01-15). "Panel Challenges Japan's Account of Nuclear Disaster". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
  6. "List of 2011 Young Global Leaders Honourees" (PDF). World Economic Forum. 2011-04-20.
  7. "Global Shapers". World Economic Forum.


  1. "William Saito biography". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  2. "Future in Review, William Saito". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  3. "William Saito Homepage". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  4. "Requirements and Analysis The Biometric API Standard The Path to Biometric Standardization" (PDF). June 2002. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  5. "I/O Software SecureSuite Software and Sony FIU-710 Fingerprint Reader Combo Receives PC Magazine Editors' Choice Award". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  6. "Windows Biometric Framework". Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  7. "Microsoft and I/O Software Strengthen Industry Adoption of Biometrics". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  8. Stephanie Miles (2000-05-02). "Microsoft eyes new security for Windows". CNET News. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  9. "International Biometric Group". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  10. Business Editors (2000-10-09). "Ethentica Fingerprint Authentication Solutions Primed for Microsoft Biometrics Endorsement". BUSINESS WIRE. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  11. Jathon Sapsford (2000-05-02). "Microsoft to Use 'Biometric' Tools To Bolster Security for Windows". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  12. "World Economic Forum - The Forum of Young Global Leaders". Retrieved 2011-10-09. 

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