Startup Sauna, a startup accelerator from Finland, held a pitch event here on Tokyo last night. There were a number of familiar faces from the local startup community, including Conyac, Lang–8, Terra Motors, and Locarise. But in the end it was Brand Pit that snatched first prize, with an impressive pitch from Chu Tsz Tat. They now qualify to move on to participate in Slush 2013 in Finland this November.
Brand Pit offers brands the ability to see who their fans are.
Not to be confused with Brad Pitt (obviously), Brand Pit makes use of image recognition technology to identify brands in pictures shared on social media.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this is that it offers brands the ability to see who their fans are, both in terms of demography and geography, and it also lets them see information about their competitors’ fans.
The company points out that its solution is one that can bridge even language barriers, because it depends on data obtained from images, as opposed to data obtained from text.
I tried to Google ‘Brand Pit’ to find their website. As you might expect, it’s hard. But if you’re lucky, you’ll come across Brand-Pit.com, where you can read more details about the company. But no matter what the name is, this looks like a pretty clever technology, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in Finland.
Other standout startups
In addition to the aforementioned companies, there were many other notable startups participating as well. We saw Capy kick off the pitch session with Masa Morishita explaining his text-free, mobile friendly Captcha solution that readers may recall from our previous feature.
There was also social home design startup Suvaco, founded by former investment banker Takemasa Kuroki and his partner Hisashi Nakata.
Perhaps the brightest idea of the evening was NetLED, a cloud-controlled LED light solution that promises better lighting control and optimization that could bring savings of up to 80% or 90% on what we have today. It was pitched by Sherwin Faden.
There was also Pigmal, a hardware solution that itself looks to be nothing more that a few big buttons, but when integrated with smart devices they could be a game controller, or even something as simple as a buzzer at a company’s reception desk. Based out of the Samurai Incubate accelerator, they have already crowdsourced funds on CerevoDash for their first production run.
The last startup to present on the night was Mystar Japan, with its health advice service Up Health. Pitched by Satoshi Taniguchi, this solution proposes to analyze your Tweets and send you the appropriate advice to help you stay healthy.
Overall it was a really fun event, and it’s great to see organizations like Startup Sauna make an effort to come all this way to learn about Japan’s startup community. It certainly doesn’t hurt as well that Finnair got behind the initiative as a sponsor, and we thought we’d throw them a shout out for their support too.