See the original story in Japanese.
Innovation Weekend is a showcase event organized by Tokyo-based startup incubator SunBridge Global Ventures. Continuing this year, qualifying rounds were held in New York, San Francisco, Berlin, and Osaka, with the winners and runners-up attending the pitch session for the two day event “Innovation Weekend Grand Finale 2016” in Tokyo.
What follows is a brief summary of the products, market potential, etc. of the finalists who participated in the pitch session.
It should also be noted that the selection of winners was based not on judges’ votes, but on that of the general audience at the event.
Top Prize: Dash by Dash Labs (Winner of Innovation Weekend 2016 New York qualifying round)
Supplemental prize: Round-trip airline ticket between NY and Tokyo, Amazon Fire TV Stick
Dash allows users to connect their smartphones and cars via Bluetooth by installing an inexpensive, on-board diagnostic unit. In doing this, they can access various features, including their driving score, alerts about engine issues, feedback on maintenance concerns, or the ability to compare themselves to their friends with gamified social functions. Services such as enabling insurance companies to provide comparatively cheap premiums to safe drivers, as well as advertising based on driving conditions are also provided.
Dash Labs originated in 2013 from TechStars New York. In March of 2014 Japan’s CyberAgent made known their investment in Dash Labs.
Runner-up: Conichi by Hotel Beacons (Runner-up of Innovation Weekend 2016 Berlin qualifying round)
Supplemental prize: Amazon Fire TV Stick
Conichi is a solution to speed up the check-in/check-out procedures for hotels, providing guests with keyless entry into rooms. Through the collaboration of guests, a mobile app, and a beacon set up at the hotel, by simply approaching the front desk it becomes possible to automatically recognize guests, and through the app hotels can easily determine an estimated time of arrival.
Guests can use the mobile app to pre-settle their bill, and for hotels it can be used for customer relationship management too. To date, they have raised $7.9 million in a seed round from major hotel group HRS.
Runner-up: Ellipse by Velo Labs (Winner of Innovation Weekend 2016 San Francisco qualifying round)
Supplemental prize: Amazon Fire TV Stick
Ellipse (previously SkyLock) is a smart lock for bicycles. Through cooperation with users’ smartphones, it is capable of keyless locking and unlocking. Additionally, an alarm can be sounded in the event of theft or the key breaking. Since the code for unlocking can be shared online, it is also possible to use as a means for bicycle sharing. The smart lock has solar cells and charges automatically when parked outdoors.
They have raised around $1 million in funding over three rounds.
Microsoft Award: Review by Review (Runner-up of Innovation Weekend 2016 Osaka qualifying round)
Supplement prize: Microsoft BizSpark Plus – $120k of Azure credits
Review is an information management platform where survey staff use the app to collect visual information sought by businesses and local governments. It provides the latest information on land that cannot be known from maps and aerial photographs, such as where vacant land exists, and where construction is being carried out.
EY Japan Award: enTouch (Special recommendation by the organizer)
Supplemental prize: E-learning/training services by EY Japan
enTouch is a platform for connecting pharmaceutical companies and doctors online. Rather than the model used until now of medical representatives from pharmaceutical companies visiting doctors, medical representatives for enTouch can do sales for multiple companies using the internet and telemarketing via video calls. Even when it is necessary to make an appointment after ending treatment, it will be able to respond flexibly.
Freee Award: Review (Runner-up of Innovation Weekend 2016 Osaka qualifying round) / enTouch (Special recommendation by the organizer) / MARUI-PlugIn (Winner of Innovation Weekend 2016 Osaka qualifying round)
Supplemental prize: One-year complimentary use of Japanese SaaS accounting platform Freee
The descriptions of enTouch and Review can be found above, so only MARUI-PlugIn is summarized here.
MARUI-PlugIn provides an environment in which existing CG and Anime production software can be connected to HMD such as HTC Vive and Oculus Lift, allowing users to intuitively create and operate content in a virtual reality space. It is offered at 2,000 yen per month (about $18US) using a SaaS model.
Below are the startup teams that entered as finalists but did not receive awards.
Butterfly by Anonymessenger (Runner-up of Innovation Weekend 2016 San Francisco qualifying round)
Butterfly is a platform that automates the PDCA cycle for team improvement within an organization. It supports managers in understanding and improving the problems and displeasures of their subordinates and teams. Butterfly’s mobile app automatically sends out a questionnaire to team members once a week. The results are then provided to the manager as feedback, with advice on measures to improve from the app.
Journy by Reksee (Runner-up of Innovation Weekend 2016 New York qualifying round)
Journy is a service that will tailor-make travel plans based on recommendations of top-ranked chefs, sommeliers, and local experts. It understands a user’s preferences and suggests attractions based on this. It will also make reservations when necessary.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda