Recently crowned Japan's latest tech unicorn, this company runs a wildly successful news service that’s powered by machine learning. It's an engineering-focused company (One of co-founders is an engineer) and they have offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Shanghai, Beijing that are apparently doing quite well too.
The mission of SmartNews is to discover and deliver quality stories to the world. Since its inception in 2012, the SmartNews app has been downloaded over 50 million downloads and maintained a monthly active user count of over 20 million.
In addition to being one of the most popular smartphone apps in Japan, SmartNews has worked hard on building their business in the US. They now have partnerships with over 300 major news publications in the US like CBS, Entertainment Weekly, Business Insider, National Geographic and more. They’ve had a great deal of success due to their ML-based sorting and recommendation systems.
SmartNews has a highly diverse development team with many world-class engineers and others working from their offices in Japan,China and the US. They maintain a very strict hiring bar for technical hires and an engineering-driven culture that makes them one of the strongest tech companies in Japan when it comes to technical skill level.
SmartNews is looking to hire the best people regardless of background, so they’re willing to hire people that don’t speak Japanese and (under normal circumstances) bring them to Japan from overseas if necessary. Everyone works together as one team regardless of location, and SmartNews provides everything their employees need to do their best work and maintains a Silicon Valley-inspired culture for engineers in Tokyo.
SmartNews's policies during COVID-19 are as follows:
- All interviews are being conducted remotely
- Employees are working remotely following the government’s instructions
- They've given everyone some monetary incentive to support working from home