The first batch of graduates from one of Japan’s newest accelerators, Code Republic, is now out in the open. From a total of roughly 60 applicants, three made it to the final demo day.
The Monday event was smaller but more intimate than most demo days, featuring a who’s who of Japanese investors. Code Republic is run by Yahoo Japan’s investment arm, YJ Capital, and East Ventures. Similar to Y Combinator, the backers invest around US$70,000 for a combined seven percent stake in the startups.
In addition to Japan’s most recent unicorn, Mercari, East Ventures has invested in the likes of Tokopedia, Redmart, and Traveloka – as well as Tech in Asia. YJ Capital is more domestically focused and has contributed to some of Japan’s top funded startups like Raksul, Whill, and BizReach.
Here are the graduates in pitching order.
PortHub by Circle-in
PortHub is a web based international logistics system.
Similar to Flexport, PortHub wants to help small and medium businesses with logistics. Based on the first test company, CEO Takanori Sato estimates the service can cut back paperwork and reduce the time required to process cargo by 70 percent and reduce the cost by 20 percent.
The official launch is scheduled for the beginning of 2017.
ChatBook by Hecto
ChatBook is a simple, customizable chatbot.
Rather than focusing on a chatbot that can talk about anything, the three-person team of engineers has created an action-based bot. The bot will connect to social networks and users can create simple conversation sets with specific goals like collecting surveys. No coding needed.
Founder and CEO Maiko Kojima likes to think of it as the WordPress of chatbots.
Eventually the team plans to let developers make different modules for the service which could then be sold. They have already secured a contract with a major Japanese media company.
TastyTable by Brend
TastyTable wants to encourage more people to cook at home.
Like Blue Apron, TastyTable sends customers pre-measured ingredients and detailed instructions for creating gourmet meals at home. The service costs around US$60 per week for two meals fit for two people.
Founder and CEO Shuichi Tao hopes to “turn your house into a restaurant.” The first shipment will be sent to over 80 people on November 5.