It’s clear that the Japanese #startup scene has come a long way in the last decade. The country’s market, often considered “closed” by outsiders, is nonetheless a huge breeding ground for innovative, competitive companies. Japan’s corporations are taking notice, with a growing number of corporate VC’s jumping into the ecosystem. Some of the hottest sectors of the market, like fintech, are projected to grow at astronomical rates in the coming years.
While there are a slew of startups making themselves known in the Japanese ecosystem, what can the ecosystem do to keep up its momentum? After the current generation of startups gets off the ground, how will the next one grow bigger and better?
At this year’s Tech in Asia Tokyo conference on September 27 & 28, we’ve invited speakers that have years of experience dealing with these exact questions. Come to the Main Stage and hear first hand what’s necessary to make Japan a startup nation.
Skyland Ventures: Nurturing young, undiscovered startups
Skyland Ventures is a Tokyo-based VC that works closely with Japanese startups throughout their growth. Skyland focuses on seed and pre-seed investment in Japan. Founder Max Kinoshita says that pre-seed rounds in Japan are sadly lacking, with “almost no one willing to invest at the pre-seed level.” Hence, their funds have often centered on finding young, undiscovered startups that can often have trouble getting the attention of VCs early on.
The company also hosts several events for young startups, such as its SEEDS program. Every week, startups or entrepreneurs with an idea can come in to consult with Skyland’s experts to chart their course. The program also serves as a pipeline for startups looking for seed funding, giving startups a clear path towards making some initial growth.
Last year, Skyland Ventures opened up Hive Shibuya, a communal space for startups to take advantage of seminars, matching services, and mentoring.
Coming to the Main stage at Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017 will be Skyland Ventures’ very own Max Kinoshita, founder and managing partner of the VC. Prior to starting Skyland, Kinoshita worked for a securities company’s VC division. Since then, he has invested in more than 40 companies, mainly in Japan.
Make School: Educating tomorrow’s developers
Founded in 2012 in San Francisco, Make School’s team spans the globe. Their mission: to transition students into successful careers in the tech industry. Make School offers tutelage to students both in person and over the internet, with over 1.5 million students taught online.
Make School’s flagship program Product College provides specialized coursework for startup founders and developers, with a pay-as-you-earn model to ease the cost for young entrepreneurs.
Make School recently wet its feet in the Japanese ecosystem by announcing a partnership with Z-Kai. The two opened a programming school for aspiring developers, with the first session closing earlier this year.
At the Main stage this year will be Japan country manager Miki Nomura. Along with overseeing Japanese enrollment in Product College, Nomura aims to make success stories out of students of the Tokyo Summer Academy.
Protostar: Connecting this generation of startups with the next
Protostar supports investors, projects, and startups to help maintain a healthy ecosystem within Japan. The company links startups with resources throughout their development, from nurturing relationships and funding early on to PR and sales later.
The company also links past startups to current startups, so that the current generation of startup heads can learn from the success of their predecessors. Protostar’s invite-only Salon events also provide a place for rising startups to gather info and make connections specific to their field of interest. Their accelerator Starburst is also unique in that it targets the “barebones” startups in their infancy, connecting them with older startups to give them a roadmap to success.
CCO Yusuke Kurishima will take the stage at this year’s conference to say more about supporting Japan’s ecosystem. Before establishing Protostar, Kurishima specialized in working with seed and pre-seed startups, making him an expert in education for fresh startups.
See what’s in store for the Japanese ecosystem at tiatokyo2017
That’s not all we have in store for you at #tiatokyo2017. Our Main stage will be flanked by several more, with key figures in the industry giving you their views and insights straight from the stage.
There’s also more to the action at Tech in Asia Tokyo than the Main stage. We’ll have over 150 startups showcasing their stuff at Bootstrap Alley, and our Arena pitch battle where some of the coolest startups will try to wow our judges.
If you don’t want to miss out on this and more, buy your tickets now and get 15 percent off with the code tiatokyo15. This offer only lasts until August 18, 23:59 (GMT +9), so act soon.
Please note that Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017 is a bilingual event with simultaneous interpretation provided for all sessions.