Ken Suzuki cofounded news aggregator SmartNews in 2012 as a way for users to navigate their way through the growing mass of daily online content to find the news they want.
While hardly a revolutionary concept — Flipboard performs roughly the same function — SmartNews’ personalized curation, fueled by machine learning, has been a hit.
Initially launched for the Japanese market, the app has more recently broken into the US market, partnering with publishers in 6,000 US cities in the past year. SmartNews now has 20 million monthly active users in Japan and the US and is growing at a rate of 500% annually. Last year the company closed off a Series E $92 million round of funding, valuing the company at $1.2 billion.
SmartNews aside, Suzuki has invested in a number of startups, including crowdfunding website CAMPFIRE and US-based flexible living platform marketplace Anyplace. He has also founded the SmartNews Fellowship to provide support to young reporters and local media stations.