When he graduated from university in Japan, Tomohiro Ohno didn\u2019t know what he wanted to do. But he knew what he didn\u2019t want to do, which was work for a traditional Japanese company. So he ended up founding a firm that\u2019s more space age than staid: Ohno was an early mover into augmented reality. The company he started, Kudan Inc., is developing programs that enable computers to have the equivalent of human eyes, using what Ohno and his industry call computer vision algorithms. Kudan listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December. It was a sparkling debut. The stock shot up more than sixfold to a high at the end of February, which saw his fortune top $800 million. While it has since given up some of those gains, the market value is still about $1.3 billion, and Ohno owns more than half the shares. He\u2019s currently estimated to have a net worth of about $700 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Still, the 49-year-old entrepreneur is far from getting carried away. \u2018Ridiculous Amount\u2019 \u201cIt\u2019s a ridiculous amount,\u201d Ohno, who goes by \u201cTomo,\u201d said in an interview in Tokyo. \u201cThat doesn\u2019t mean anything. We\u2019re not aiming to increase market value,\u201d he said. \u201cIt doesn\u2019t really impact us.\u201d While people often associate augmented reality with Pokemon Go, the hit mobile game that makes images of anime characters seem as if they\u2019re in users\u2019 real-world locations, Ohno says the technology is so much more than that. \u201cI\u2019ve nothing against Pokemon Go,\u201d he said. \u201cBut after all, it\u2019s just showing Pikachu\u201d - one of the characters - \u201cin the corner of the room.\u201d READ ALSO |\u00a0Google wants contracting firms to offer health care benefits, parental leave Kudan is deploying the technology for different purposes. It\u2019s developing programs that enable computers to perceive real-world objects in three dimensions. They have uses in everything from driverless cars to drones and even vacuum cleaners. It works with other technologies such as artificial intelligence to enhance the autonomous and interactive experience. Brain, Eyes \u201cAI is the brain and we are the eyes,\u201d said Ohno, who started his career as a management consultant before working at a startup in Bristol, U.K. and then founding his own business buying and selling computer-game licences. \u201cThe eyes and brain need to work together.\u201d Kudan recently announced a partnership with California-based Synopsys Inc. to have its technology embedded into Synopsys products, which cover markets from mobile to automotive. While Ohno says making his company massive isn\u2019t his main goal, this kind of alliance helps Kudan gain exposure. \u201cWe don\u2019t want to be the next Google,\u201d Ohno said. He wants Kudan to be more like ARM Holdings, the chip designer owned by SoftBank Group Corp. whose technology is in most smartphones. \u201cARM is massive, but tiny compared to Intel. But it\u2019s everywhere. That\u2019s where we want to go.\u201d Kudan initially focused on using augmented reality for marketing, according to Ohno. No one was successful in making the technology easily digestible to ordinary people at the time, giving the company a good business opportunity, he said. But soon, a bigger firm doing similar things emerged as a competitor. That caused Kudan to come up with a strategy of making competitors its customers, instead of defending its turf. \u2018Highly Rated\u2019 The process involved switching the company\u2019s business model from using AR for marketing to developing apps using the technology and finally becoming a provider of algorithms to other companies. Kudan\u2019s chief technology officer, John Williams, who Ohno calls a \u201cself-taught genius\u201d and his best friend, convinced him to move away from apps into the underlying technologies, Ohno said. Now, Kudan has a wider customer base, including previous competitors, he said. \u201cIt\u2019s a highly rated stock among investors,\u201d said Tomoichiro Kubota, an analyst at Matsui Securities Co. in Tokyo. But there is \u201cthe risk of seeing a company with a similar model popping up,\u201d he said. And \u201cthe other side of expectations being high is that we\u2019re in a situation where there\u2019s been quite a bit of buying, and it\u2019s looking expensive.\u201d Kudan trades at more than 150 times book value, and more than 35,000 times earnings, which were negligible for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018. The stock fell 0.9 percent in early trading on Wednesday in Tokyo. That won\u2019t unduly concern Ohno, who is more focused on developing the business and other goals, such as setting up a unit in China and taking it public. He\u2019s still based in Bristol, where his company\u2019s technology lab is located. Kudan has fewer than 20 employees, many of whom have Ph.D. degrees from a computer vision laboratory at the University of Bristol. Ohno said the company hires only experts in their field, and shuns meetings as unnecessary, because his people already know what to do. The office in Bristol is situated in a former church. Ohno\u2019s seat has a five-meter stained-glass window directly behind him, which shines a glow of light over him on sunny days. Asked if he has plans to move to a new location, he said he\u2019s happy where he is. \u201cI do look like a god there,\u201d he said.