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The CIO Today
Trusted By
Ken Ehrhart

 Ken Ehrhart

  • Brief us about your outset story of your career.

My life and career has really followed the development of digital computing and the successive waves of innovation that have transformed technology.  I grew up and began my career working in my family’s small business, a burglar and fire alarm company.  There we started with purely analogue circuits, relays and switches, in the 1970s; advanced to solid state circuits in the 80s; and finally to fully programmable embedded computers in the early 90s.  In 1996, I became the Director of Research for a Forbes-backed investor newsletter focused on technology.  I became a venture capitalist in the year 2000.  Throughout, I have been focused on understanding the trends and innovations that are shaping technology.  That ultimately led, in 2016, to my founding Paracosma as an AR/VR Solutions Provider focused on the current transition from 2D to 3D computing.  Interestingly, one of my earliest passions was art, and now over half of Paracosma’s hundred plus employees are 3D artists.  Together we are blending art and technology in amazing ways.  The experience is really a culmination of a life-long journey and is incredibly fulfilling.  In Japanese, it could be considered my Ikigai.

  • What are the aims and ideals that guide you as an individual and a professional?

As an individual, I hope “to leave the World a better place because I have lived in it”.   I expect that led to the parallel Paracosma statement that “Our Mission is to make Reality better through Augmented and Virtual Reality.”  Other personal values that I hope would translate into company culture, as well, include Open Mindedness; Curiosity/Education; Empathy/Tolerance; Health/Fitness; Nature/Environment.  Travel, Exploration, Adventure; Multicultural and Cross-cultural Experiences; Education, Work and Life Opportunities have all given me the chance to pursue my passion in life.  And, my entire career has been globally focused.

  • Enlighten us about your greatest strength. How are you different from others in your field?

How I compare, I will leave for others to judge.  But, just as we blend art and technology at Paracosma, I think throughout my career as a VC, I have done well integrating large amounts of information derived from many diverse disciplines and sectors and thinking about the whole in often very unique and innovative ways. 

  • Please tell us about your organisation. What are your primary roles and responsibilities? Can you please walk us through the major accomplishments throughout your journey?

I am involved with several organizations.  In 2004, I cofounded have since then been a General Partner with SunBridge Partners, a VC firm that specializes in bringing global enterprise SAAS leaders to Japan.  At SunBridge Partners, I cofounded Concur Japan, Marketo Japan, Demandware Japan, and Kyriba Japan.  All have been very successful in Japan and led to great outcomes for our investors.  I am also a cofounder of TalentA, a SunBridge Partners’ company in Tokyo, that focuses on distributing global HR and talent management solutions in Japan, such as HireVue, Monday.com, Explorance, Fuel50 and others.  I am Founder and CEO of Paracosma. And, I have had a very rewarding time founding AlpineEarth, a citizen-science nonprofit focused on Alpine areas, and working with various other non-profit organizations.

  • How did you respond to the challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic? What measures did you incorporate to surpass the challenges?

On a personal level, I went from flying over a quarter million miles a year, and living and working in three countries, to being grounded, mostly in one.  Ironically, my experience being a remote worker due to travel helped prepare me for being a stationary remote worker.  On a professional level, Paracosma made an immediate commitment to not layoff any employees during the pandemic.  We not only fulfilled that commitment to our employees, but we are now growing aggressively again. Luckily, as an AR/VR company, Paracosma was also able to implement virtual meetings, offices, and live event venues, both to support our own Paracosma employees and for client companies.

  • Who in your life inspires you the most?

There are so many great artists, scientists, and scholars that have lived throughout history, I don’t think I could ever lack for inspiration. But, on a rather personal note, I came to know Nick Clinch well through my work with the American Alpine Club Library, and I must admit he left an indelible impression on me.  He has been called the greatest American expedition leader and successfully led the only American first ascent of an 8,000m peak, the first ascent of the tallest mountain in Antarctica, and other expeditions. He certainly shared, by example and in many hours-long talks, many great lessons on leadership. But, I would say my children and family are what inspire me, each day, to do the best that I can. Love provides the most meaning to life.

  • What advice would you give to the next generation of aspiring and budding Business people?

My advice, for budding business people, entrepreneurs, and my own children would be to pursue your passion.  As a VC, I have heard thousands of pitches.  It is always possible to tell if someone is passionate about their own pitch.  If you are just chasing money or a perceived opportunity that will be clear.  If you are driven by sincere passion, then investors, partners, customers, employees and your family will all understand that you will do everything necessary to succeed and your passion will be infectious. You may still fail, perhaps even because your passion blinded you to reality, but at least you will have a better than average chance of success and a better than average chance at happiness, and you won’t regret not trying to realise your dream.