Triple W Japan is a startup company that was founded in February 2015. The company created DFree, the world’s first toilet timing prediction device.

DFree is a lightweight, wearable sensor that tracks bladder fullness and sends the data to an app where a user can observe their bladder patterns. DFree not only allows users to understand their bathroom habits, but it also lets them anticipate and plan around their toiletry needs. As a result, users no longer have to worry about accidents and can often forgo the embarrassment of wearing diapers.

Triple W Japan has its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and have branches in the United States and France. The company has plans to accelerate its expansion into other overseas markets in order to take over the world one step at a time.

From Left to Right: Masanori Kobayashi, CFO of DFree, Atsushi Nakanishi, Founder & CEO of DFree, Yosuke Muraki, CTO of DFree

What’s your story?

Atsushi Nakanishi: It first started from a personal experience, when I was studying in UC Berkeley. I had too much spicy food one night and I lost the ability to control my bowel movements, to the extent of pooping in my pants in public. This experience scarred me, and I even lost the courage to leave the house straight after that incident. Coincidentally, it was also around that time that I had read a news article stating that the sales volume of adult diapers had exceeded the sales volume of baby’s diapers in Japan. It was then I realized that many people were worried about the problem of incontinence, and hence I decided I would set out to find a solution to this problem.

What were some of the obstacles that Dfree faced during its initial years and how did your team overcome it?

To develop a completely new product from ground zero was much more difficult than I thought. I am not an engineer and did not have sufficient financial support. I resorted to asking for help from my friends as they all came from diverse backgrounds. Their expertise range from mechanical engineering to software engineering. Upon hearing my idea, my friends thought it was intriguing and had volunteered to start designing and working on the idea. Before long, we had made our first prototype and finally managed to get the financial support we needed from investors.

How does Dfree separate itself from the competitors?

DFree is a wearable device that can monitor bladder movements constantly. In the DFree application, users are able to check urine volume and receive notifications on toilet timings. In the past, medical equipment like bladder scanning device is only used in hospitals as they are huge and expensive. It is difficult for people without medical knowledge to use. However, DFree solves all that by making it user friendly, portable, and also affordably priced!

DFree-Toilet Timing Predicting Device

How do you seek to build adoption among the elderly given they are considered less tech-savvy than general?

The hardware of DFree is very easy to use. The user just has to attach the sensors to the abdomen by type and it will be ready for use. For the application, we have simplified it alongside a very detailed video and brochure in our product package and website that explains how it works. We have also set up call centres to answer the queries of our customers as we are committed to providing the best customer service support that we possibly can.

What is your company’s five-year plan? Any market expansion plan in the pipeline?

We are currently undergoing research and development to build the next generation of DFree that will be even smaller, cheaper and easier to use. We will also launch bowel movement predictors and begin scaling out the technology for all other vital organs.

We are also proactively expanding our market overseas. We already have branches in the US, France and are slowly expanding gradually, with the target focus being Asia and the Middle East.

Looking back, what advice would you tell your younger self?

Spend more time learning English, Mandarin Chinese and their culture. Perhaps in the future, the language barrier will disappear due to the rise of AI translation, but I think it is very important to be able to express one’s idea by oneself as it will definitely provide for smoother communications with the people around us.