Who is Sanefumi Sammy Shoji?

June 6, 2012 in News

Well he is the man behind Sun Investment LLC which are part of the NEVS Consortium and here is some information about him:

Sammy received a Bachelor of Engineering, Mechano-informatics from the University of Tokyo after studying there from 1996-2000. During his time there he submitted a research paper to Journal of the Robotics Society of Japan: “Microgravity Rover using Electro–magnetic Actuation”. He also submitted a research paper to IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems on Mobility of a Microgravity Rover using Internal Electro-Magnetic Levitation.

In 2003 he received a Master of Science in Planetary Science from the University of Tokyo after studying there for another three years. In 2002 he submitted and presented a research paper at Fall Meeting of the Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences called Development of an impact-ionization dust detector on board spacecrafts: Necessary condition on applied voltage.

In 2006 he was hired as Associate/Analyst, Leveraged Finance, Financing Group, Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs and was later appointed Vice President, Strategic Sales, Equities Division covering responsibility for major Japanese financial institutions, specialized in asset-side equity-related transactions. He remained there for 6 years.

In 2009 he was the manager of Japan Core Partner, Inc. a “Boutique clean technology incubation/investment firm”.

And finally in May 2011, he became partner and the founding member of Sun Investment LLC which is based in Tokyo, Japan. The company is a clean technology-focused venture capital firm.

70 responses to Who is Sanefumi Sammy Shoji?

  1. Nice and intelligent guy when I read this.

    • Whats interesting is that Karl-Erling Trogen, the man behind NEVS is also an engineer from Chalmers in Gothenburg. One of the most prestigious technical universities in Scandinavia.

      I have to say that I like the fact that these guys are engineers at the core…

  2. still not convinced …..

    • I had no intention of convincing anyone by posting this… its just one more piece in the puzzle… lets wait until the whole picture has been unveiled! =)

    • FB said on June 6, 2012

      I´m not convinced either. People act like if NEVS already have been chosen to buy SAAB…… :-/ I hope Younman will take take over instead, because M+M seems to be out of the picture……

  3. Good, because I really hope there’s more. What I’ve seen so far seems just slightly more robust than North Street Capital. :-)

  4. Engineers good. Venture Capitalists bad.

    Money will come first and engineer/managers cannot resist interfering.

    Outlook: Overcast…….

  5. The Board of the Chinese company, who will in effect be owners with 51%, seem to me to be of an equally very high caliber. The Company owns substantial (approx USD2bn) of assets, but has a very short track record. That suggests to me that they are a Government-owned company, but it might be nice to have to hand a full set of accounts in English, so that we can judge the situation. The CFO is a Cambridge-educated British-trained chartered accountant. How a motor manufacturer would fit in with the rest of their portfolio seems unclear. Perhaps they are just sweeping up useful technology for the potential benefit of China.

    • RS said on June 6, 2012

      Maybe that’s why they don’t want Parts? Was the short list of intentions just lip service towards the feisty owners of current cars.
      Is the Chinese Power company and Venture Capital firm going to honor warranty of the Spyker-era Saabs?
      I’m just trying to image how I’d feel owning a new $70k NG 9-5 SC during this “sales process”.

      • One reason that they may not want Parts is that they may not be able to afford it and it may not fit their portfolio. Parts is a stable, profitable company and will remain that way for some years. IIRC acquiring Parts would double the price of the investment required. So, if the Chinese are in it for the technology and the VC company for the turnaround of the brand, backed by Chinese investment capital, then why spend double what you need in in order to acquire a cash cow like Parts? Parts is not their type of business.

  6. Man, I have mixed feeling about this. I love my Saab the way it is (was). But I keep thinking about Steve Jobs creating the first Mac. He insisted on things that no one knew they wanted or needed such as proportional fonts in different styles. Who cared then about having different fonts, or proportion, or even know what the word font meant? But now we all do. Who cared then about a WYSIWYG screen, or a mouse for that matter. Didn’t keyboard short cuts work just fine? What was wrong with WordStar and WordPerfect? We didn’t know what we needed or wanted until a visionary like Jobs or Tim Berner-Lee (creator of the WWW at CERN) gave us an entirely new paradigm.

    So it is with these fellows at NEVS. This could all be BullS…, but if they have load of money behind them, it’s possible that they could be the harbingers of a new era in automotive design. After all, what business did those soon to be out of work aircraft workers have in creating the Ursaab starting in 1945? The world had plenty of car manufacturers with a lot of capacity after they stopped making tanks and went back to autos.

    So I’ll hope for the best and prepare for the worst, and meanwhile, there’s no choice but to sit back and watch the movie.

    • I think that your analogy with Apple is very astute.

      Saab is about to be diving into uncharted waters. And as Saab fans who love our cars just the way they are, it’s only understandable that there would be lots of grumbling and even some lashing out.

      But, times are changing, and while we will continue to be wary of the governmental politics surrounding our beloved brand, we must realize that once the spirit of Saab is back in the driver’s seat (i.e. the leaders, engineers and technicians at Saab) — they are going to be injecting their inspiration into their work. I have faith in their ability to innovate.

      To extend the Apple analogy further: this could be similar to when Apple rose from financial ruin, thanks to the development of Mac OS X.

      • I don’t think the analogy is a good one at all. Cars have been around for a hundred plus years. Personal computers were in their infancy when Jobs created Apple.

        • So the fact that the automotive industry advances more slowly than the software industry is sufficient to suggest that there is no way to draw parallels between the two? I fail to see the logic in that reasoning.

          As far as I can see, an agent of the software industry moves faster merely because the tools of the trade require far less institutional and mechanical infrastructure than that of the automotive industry. But when you look at improvements in development times for a vehicle platforms, without any fundamental changes in how the automotive industry is “defined”: clearly we are only talking about a difference in scale. That is: the automotive industry operates at a different scale than the software industry (i.e. more stuff needs to happen for a given innovation to hit the market). But, this time-to-market difference is compensated by the fact that people buy cars less frequently than software or even a computer.

          So, while it takes more time for an automotive engineer’s innovations to make its way to the market, the underlying nuances and the potential impact of these engineering feats are no less substantial. The way I see it, there exists a team of core Saab luminaries eagerly waiting on the sidelines for a deal to be signed. And once that happens: they will have the resources to rehire additional talent (veterans as well as new folks) to design and build Saab automobiles again. If I have faith in anyone to bring back the magic to our beloved brand: it’s them.

  7. Money talks and we know what walks! All this knowledge and education Saab already has all of the above
    what Saab needs is a shit load of cash!

    • lets just analysis that statement,”a shit load of cash”…….love it lol

  8. Nevs består av 4 personer:

    – Kai Johan Yiang
    – Karl Erik Trogen
    – Sammy Shoji
    – Some guy…….. (expert in liquidated estates)

    À Nevs/Saab company has in this option à strong leadership team that is both familiar to engineering, finances, running large companies, and handling post-bancruptcy. This is what Saab needs: a combination of brain power and
    financial knowhow.
    Saab needs to be reborn with cutting-edge-technology to return to the core values of it’s brand. Better to spend money on new R&D then buying parts for 2 billion crowns. If Saab only makes 100 high performance hybrid Saab sonetts, I’m ok with this as it translates into brand building, laying a foundation for the future.

    • RS said on June 6, 2012

      If they won’t buy Parts (which is profitable and the only real Saab business at this point) it’s an indication to me that they neither will start producing the current 9-3 or anything else from the past :(
      EV’s and possibly Hybrids here we come.

      • You might not have read it in our previous posts but the new 9-3 was supposed to be a hybrid as well and later on be an all hybrid version…

      • The past = building an old 9-3
        The past = being innovative with the know-how you got, n aim for a new kind of product for new kind of customers.

        Saab belongs to the future not to the past.
        Saab in trollhattan took the difficult decision in the 1940s to build the worlds most aerodynamic automobiles instead of planes…. This moment in time call for a “new” Saab product.

        • RS said on June 6, 2012

          Oh Geez… “Old Saab” as in 9-3 Griffin TTiD 180 hp 119 g CO2 or MY12 NG 9-5 SC? I’ll take those anyday and twise on Sunday over an EV of any kind today (even years from now).
          Ever heard of bridging technology?
          Also no need to try and invent the wheel IMO. Just give me practicality, safety, Saab comfort, handling, ergonomics, instrumentation, HVAC, perfomance and reliability.
          If SAAB 2.0 wants new kind of customers (Metropol commuters) rather than those who appreciate what I listed above then I think it’s time for me and many others to walk away after our ‘old’ cars have given in.
          What a shame.

          • Maybe I be the customer walking in, looking forward owning my first Saab!

            • RS said on June 7, 2012

              If it doesn’t have the qualities mentioned it’s not a Saab. This is what the engineers in Trollhättan will hopefully create ones again as the GM-era cars have unfortunately been missing some of the good old characteristics.

              A Japanese/Chinese EV won’t even get to use the SAAB name which I support fully. Sorry.

              • Like the old electronics that made Saab everyone’s Sob story?

                • RS said on June 7, 2012

                  If that’s what you’re missing you will love EV’s 😉
                  To answer you question; no. Was thinking more about practicality (remember the hatchback) and some aspect surrounding interior quality for example.

              • I suspect “good handling” in the future will require an E-AAM type of solution. Remember those cool videos posted by the E-AAM guys?

                • RS said on June 7, 2012

                  I’m ALL FOR eXWD!
                  The first time in my life I was stuck in a SAAB was last winter -due to bad tires- and I really wished for a little push from the rear wheels instead of my dad who is getting up there in age.

                  Here’s a though regarding the business plan for the ‘new Saab':
                  Make two versions of the entry model (9-1). One Hybrid and one EV. See how the market reacts to those before forcing the highway cruisers, especially the 9-5 into an electrifying and potentially a very unreliable/expensive experience.

                  It takes years to sort out even the small bugs in a new platform, not to mention powertrain. Especially when you have quick and severe temperature changes in Northern parts of Scandinavia.

  9. P said on June 6, 2012

    Here’s how I see it, the average price of a Toyota Hybrid in the states is 35 – 40,000 dollars. Right where Saabs regular cars are, excuse me, were. Saab has always competed in the upper echelon of brands so let’s compare to the Lexus hybrids which are closer to 60k for the GS model. Saab couldn’t sell their old cars that were much cheaper in the states, yet as I read yesterday, North America has the highest population of Saabs currently on the road across the globe. Let’s say this new company sets a price at 45 to 50k ( right in the middle, for arguments sake)for these go carts, how on earth does everyone expect them to sell?! Most people in the US don’t even know that Saab is dead but when they find out and then realize that they are now an electric/hybrid company, there is no way on God’s green earth (pun intended) that they will sell here for that money.

    I love Saab too and I wish everyone who lost a job gets a better one because we’ve all been there and it stinks but it’s time to let Saab go, it can’t survive as a hybrid. I’ll wait and see but everything I read here is all ra ra about hybrids and changing into whatever. Bottom line, whatever won’t sell cars.

    • As far as we’ve heard, with all the costs involved and huge discounts on the cars in the US, Saab never made any money on the cars sold in the US anyway. This became even more apparent when the dollar dropped in value significantly compared to the Swedish Crown in the last 12 years.

      • Oh but didn’t we hear that GM was committing accounting fraud with Saab, and putting lots of losses from other brands onto Saab?

        You can’t have it both ways Tim.

        Saab was losing boatloads of money before GM bought it and lost so much money the first two years of GM’s investment in it as to double GM’s cost of it.

        If Saab goes hybrid and won’t honor warranties of existing customers, I see it being another big failure and yet another fraud on new customers.

  10. I understand that they are not interested in, sorry – old GM era – parts. If a 9-3 ElectricBioHybrid powered phoenix will rise there is no need for history and you better invest in future. Hopefully there is some substance for a new Saab behind the personal careers described. The school of thought – I would like it. Innovation with encouraging direction. However it shouldn´t be a soap bubble. And a few old fashioned petrol engines are still necessary. 😉

    • So b******* to all the existing SAAB owners – is that their attitude? Is that why they don`t want SAAB Parts?

      • I don’t know what you’re complaining about? Saab Parts are doing really well and will survive just fine on its own as well.

        If the new company doesn’t what to touch the old stuff I can fully understand that, they need to focus on whats new and probably don’t have the resources to focus on the old, even though we’d like that to be the case, Saab went bankrupt for one reason, it did not sell enough cars!

        • +1

        • The trouble with Saab parts standing on it’s own, is that it actually has a limited shelf life then.

          If no new Saabs’ are made, then it only customers are the existing cars on the Road.
          Hence, it may have a life cycle of 10 years or so, but after this, the business will not be viable as a stand alone Saab parts business.

          • I dunno about that. My ’93 9000CSE which I owned between 2001 and 2011 constantly needed servicing and parts 😉

            • As cars get older they often change ownership several times, & budget local garage servicing rarely buy OEM parts from the maker..

    • Saab had enough difficulty shiting cars in the US at $30000 so why on earth woud you want to re-enter te market at $40000? All this hybrid BS is a load of rubbish anyway.

  11. I’m not at all convinced by anything that I’m hearing about Saab these days! Over the past few years we’ve heard so many promises, all of which have turned out to be worthless and Saab ended up bankrupt as well all know. Now we seem to be in a position where there would seem to be two interested parties, NEVS and Youngman. It has all been going on too long for my liking and the bidder that seemed to be the best looking one (Mahindra) is now apparently out of the picture. I will confess that I’m not at all convinced about so called hybrid vehicles, they cost a lot of money compared to similar sized conventional cars, hence the demand for such vehicles is lower than for normal cars, I doubt that this will change anytime soon either! I believe that if Saab is to re start production then they must offer vehicles which can compete with the current competition on price, performance and quality. Yes of course new fuel technology must be looked into, but I honestly feel that it can only come once Saab becomes stable and profitable.

  12. jim said on June 6, 2012

    I am thinking of placing a bid myself!

  13. One reason that they may not want parts is that they may not be able to afford it and it may not fit their portolio. Parts is a stable, profitable company and will remain that way for some years. IIRC acquiring parts would double the price of the investment required. So, if the Chinese are in it for the technology and the VC company for the turnaround of the brand, backed by Chinese investment capital, then why spend double what you need to acquire a cash cow like parts? Parts is not their type of business.

  14. so who is the background of the china side? My personal study shows that the parent company of Modern Energy Holding is National Biomass Energy (NBE), which is a JV between Dragon Power and State Grid, China’s top power grid company. The NBE has already had a subsidiary in Sweden, called NBE SWEDEN AB. THe NBE chairman is Kai Johan Jiang,who is Swedish chinese and also former colleague of Karl Erling Trogen in Volvo Truck, Karl Erling is current NEV CEO.

  15. I am highly pleased with my 9-3 BioPower, the next Saab could be a BioHybrid with an eXWD produced by NEVS, compartment Saab/Trollhättan. 😉

    • Ever since I saw the Biopower-Hybrid I’ve been hoping for it to come… sadly the concept engine wasn’t even a working one. The one in the car at Frankfurt was a normal biopower-gasoline engine with some extra plastic… =(

      But I keep my fingers x’ed for that to happen anyway! =)

  16. Congrats to this guy. He has a few degrees.

    I’m failing to see why or how this matters at all? Just confused

    His education doesn’t mean anything, was a waste of money and is useless in the real world.

    What it tells me is he is LESS qualified to be in a high ranking business told because he has less on the job experience due to wasting time for years at college.

    • LOL, so much LOL on this. Well, firstly, MOST of the “less qualified” people among the most wealthy ones dropped the university because they already have the company which was making them enough money for the future (they inherited big company from parents and were too lazy to actually study something or they come out with amazing idea and have a hundred million of tons of luck while they were at college…). They dropped the university, because they were successful in own business, not vice versa. There is only a very little fraction of “less qualified” people who got successful later in the life.
      Also, secondly, in most cases those “successful” young people (I would rather say very lucky people) usually do not manage their company – they just own it.

    • Correct, this guys CV doesn’t make any sense. He’s an engineer and some sort of scientist until 2003, then there is a not explained gap and in 2006 he suddenly is on an investment firms fast track career path.
      After he started his own venture capital firm I see NO credits whatsoever. Not exactly someone I would hand my money over to.
      This whole NEVS deal starts to stink more by the day. And no, I don’t think that NEVS is better than retiring Saab for good. The bits and pieces could still serve some purpose. If NEVS bleeds Saab dry then there will nothing left other than a slow and painful death.

      • Why wouldn’t it make sense? The PE and consulting industries employ quite a bit of engineering graduates, because they tend to be logical, critical thinkers with a penchant for developing solutions, indentifying causes of problems and other skills important in those businesses (as if they were unimportant elsewhere – but in PE a mistake can be very costly).

        He is in his early 30s, for enterpreneurial-minded PE officers this is the age when they start to develop their own businesses, if they can access the capital. Given that he was in the right circles for years, he has had enough contacts to prove his worth to people in the money, and earn the rest of the money himself.

        His CV is not a matter of concern to me. The relative lack of a sensible business plan is, but perhaps we haven’t heard it all yet.

        • Some wicked tongues claim that it was partly due to these “logical, critical thinkers” that Wall street collapsed so quickly. I have colleagues that went to Wall street, hedge funds, etc. They are usually only hired because of their programming skills.
          Anyway, my biggest worry is not this persons CV but rather the total lack of experience and credits that he has. This can be fine to deal with little start ups, but Saab is, imho, a bit too much too chew on for such an inexperienced person.
          In general NEVS inexperience with any automotive production, or any other large scale production for that matter, makes me very uncomfortable.

  17. Hybrids are ok until they are able to accelerate car faster than before and take less fuel.

    Who will say that porsche cayenne hybrid is bad? It can make 100km/h in decent 6.5 secs, and does not need much fuel: 8,7 / 7,8 / 8,2
    Or panamera hybrid with 8,3 / 6,4 / 7,1 and 0-100 @ 6.0sec

    I mean lets take 9-5 XWD 330hp form Hirsch:

    Fuel consumption Urban 17.9 l/100 km
    Fuel consumption Extra Urban 8.0 l/100 km
    Fuel consumption Combined 11.6 l/100 km

    Hydrid version of same 9-5 will have combined 8.0-8.5.. As 2nd bonus we will have lowered acceleration times.

    Also that new electo XWD system will probably reduce transmission loss and give us other benefits.

  18. I’ve been around a few young, smart guys with money starting a company– and they really don’t care about the past or tradition. Sometimes that’s a good thing, because they are looking at a problem from an all new perspective. More often though, it’s a bad thing– because they have zero respect for what has come before, and somehow think that whatever they come up with is much better than what was done in the past. With a marque like Saab– which is all about tradition and full of great history– I can only see this as a negative thing. This isn’t to say Spyker/ GM/ Wallenberg Saab was perfect, because it most certainly was not– but there is something to be said about respecting and preserving tradition that goes beyond hockey stick C-pillars and central mounted key positions.

  19. After reading this, and hearing about Mr. Trogen, I think that a consortium of Mahindra and NEVS would be the best way forward. Even though that may be just a dream, it’s a good one! Hopefully, Mahindra would keep the engineers (NEVS) properly funded and pushing for more than a pure electric drivetrain. Youngman should be in on it, as long as they were to get a minority share; I’d hate for them to lost a lot more money, and they could pump in at least a little bit into Saab!

    Overall, though, as many previously struggling companies have experienced, the only way to be successful is to let the engineers loose. The bean counters should have NO PART of the new Saab! Unfortunately, they had a part in GM and had to have a part in Spyker. That sucked. However, the Phoenix platform was one where the engineers were let to do their own thing, and I can only hope that the fruits of their toils will be realized.

    All in all, each current bidding company for Saab has their own virtues, and a combined effort would seem to be the best way forward! The only company for the new Saab which I could see as surviving without the other bidders would be Mahindra. So… either GO MAHINDRA! or, GO MAHINDRA, NEVS, AND YOUNGMAN CONSORTIUM!

    • A three way consortium would be great. It would give Saab huge resources and could prove highly beneficial to each partner. I think it would also give Saab considerable clout with GM and perhaps enable at least some limited licensing?

      As to GM’s precious IP, I have to agree with what (UK) Car magazine said about it long term NG9-5 test car. It said that the IP that GM is so protective of, is the very same technology that limits the car’s potential and competitiveness against the likes of BMW, Audi etc.. I think GM really has Saab to thank that it’s somewhat mediocre IP is even as good as it is.

  20. It may hve some good people working for it, but I’m still yet to see anything about NEVS that would make me want to support it as more than a part owner of Saab, say 33%?

    The evidence that it doesn’t want to own Saab Parts, means it probably cares little for the Saab brand, it’s history or it’s virtues or even us Saab enthusiasts. It just so happens that the brand is for sale and buying a recognized brand (and some of it’s infrastructure) to begin it’s venture, allows it to leap frog quite a few stages that would be involved if it had to start a new brand from scratch, like Tesla Motors had to.