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Reinvention

How a Homeless High School Dropout Became CEO of a $1 Billion Company

  • Kobayashi’s Sun* tripled since listing in Tokyo in July
  • Entrepreneur became homeless when he quit high school for band
Taihei Kobayashi in Tokyo.
Taihei Kobayashi in Tokyo.Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg
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Taihei Kobayashi has gone from sleeping on the streets of Tokyo to heading a technology startup whose market value topped $1 billion.

His rags-to-riches story is among the most remarkable to emerge from a small-cap stock boom that’s minting fortunes in Japan. Kobayashi’s company, which helps startups and other firms to design and create new businesses and products, went public in July and its shares have since more than tripled.