Spotlight: Hitomi Kimura

Hitomi Kimura

Co-Founder, DinersCode – New York, NY

Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to move to a foreign country, and then decide to build a company there? Luckily, we have you covered. For this week’s Spotlight we were able to sit down with Hitomi Kimura, Co-Founder of DinersCode, to learn more about what it's like moving from Japan to New York City, starting a new company, and why she wanted to build her company abroad in the first place.

For Those Interested in Building a Company in Other Countries

“Go work in an industry that is really growing fast. The more saturated the industry is the slower it will be to change things and to start something new. There are a lot more regulations that will probably limit you. If it’s a growing new field and if nobody has done it before, then there’s a greater chance that anybody can go and break the rules and do something new. You make the rules.”

On Why She Choose to Build Her Company Abroad

“I lived in Japan before New York and I wanted to be in a place where being young and being a woman was a positive thing. Japan is a very historical country. It’s very difficult for a young person to move up in the hierarchy fast. If you’re a woman, there’s even more weighing against you. So I thought I could do better in America just because that’s what I was. I was young and a woman. The amazing thing about New York, it was exactly what I thought. It was top schools, top companies, top everything, and gave you opportunity – maybe they give you more opportunity because you’re young and you’re a woman, and that’s how I benefited and got here.”

Advice to Her High School Self

“Go out and meet a lot more people. Maybe because I was in Japan, but high school, to me, was go to school, have fun, come home, study and get into a good college. I didn’t go out and meet people outside of my age group. You should go to college and attend some classes or go to some seminars or meet your parent’s friend and talk to them about their life. That wasn’t somehow part of my curriculum, or it wasn’t in my day to day. 

Knowing someone 10 years older, 20 years older, 30 years older with different experiences probably would’ve helped me a lot more. Knowing more people I think is key to success. I wish I had done that.”

On Why She Choose Her Master’s Program

“My degree in management science and engineering allows me to understand both the business and engineering sides of companies. Since I already had a lot of business experience, I knew I needed more engineering experience. Also, I knew If I choose only a full engineering master’s it wouldn’t really teach me the practical side. To compare it to sports that means if I only learned one side then I’d just be playing the game versus understanding the bigger picture like a coach. I felt like having that boost on my resume would benefit me ultimately because a startup is not just about engineers or business people. It’s about how everything works together.”

Photography by Guarionex Rodriguez, Jr.