5 great ideas from the 8th Samurai Venture Summit


Last weekend at the Microsoft Japan office in Tokyo, the eighth edition of the Samurai Venture Summit took place. This is a semi-annual startup exhibition event run by Samurai Incubate. Here’s a quick rundown of the entrepreneurs that caught our eye at the event.

Quick Money Recorder

Smart Idea’s Shohei Ejiri

Quick Money Recorder (or ‘Okanereco’ in Japanese) is a personal finance app (for iOS and Android) that allows you to record your daily expenses on mobile. Our readers may recall similar apps such as Dr. Wallet, Zaim, Money Forward, ReceReco, and Money Tree. But this app recently ranked number one in the Japanese App Store’s finance app category, and is currently ranked second.

Smart Idea’s Shohei Ejiri, an ex-Nokia Japan employee and the creator of the app, says the appeal of the app is that it lets you input an expense in as little as two seconds. The app was developed in Vietnam, where system development is very cost effective.

Flip Friday

Flip Friday’s Yoshihisa Shiomi (right)

When a new fashion season arrives for retailers, there are usually many items left unsold. Retailers look for discounters to buy up leftovers, but it’s difficult since the stock is already out of season or not current.

Flip Friday has a warehouse in Los Angeles, buying branded fashions from local retailers for discount prices. The company will deliver them to Japan, selling them to fashion concious folks for affordable rates using its fashion e-commerce site.

The company was originally launched as an incubated startup at D2C, a joint venture of NTT Docomo and ad agency Dentsu.

Egao no Hon (books for smiles)

From the left: Shohei Ota and Yuko Ota

When the earthquake hit Japan in 2011, many people not only lost their family members, but also photos and photobooks of family as well. Watching the news about the tragedy, Mr. and Mrs. Ota wanted to invent something to help people get over losing memorable photos.

The startup has developed a photobook app that allows users to keep videos or photos in a well-organized format. If you lose your device, there’s no need to worry about data loss since everything is stored in the cloud. Albums are also provided in e-pub format, so users can browse photos with an e-pub compatible browser even if the startup were to shut down.

The company is backed by Tokyo-based incubator Movida Japan.



Similar to ApexPeak which recently launched in Singapore, Paid provides advanced payments on your billings to your clients. It can also take over your invoicing or billing work, as well as payment collection. In this way, you don’t need to worry about possible delays in collections or demands for payments.

Tokyo-based Raccoon, the company behind the service, has been a middleman service in the fashion industry, giving fashion retailers a chance to deal with well-established suppliers.

Fly Me To Minami

Yorihiko Paul Kato

Also presenting was Japanese entrepreneur Yorihiko Paul Kato, who is based in Singapore. He has produced a movie filmed in Hong Kong, Seoul, and Osaka, staring up-and-coming actors from those countries. The movie, entitled Fly Me To Minami will be showing from December and early-bird ticket buyers can put their names in the end credits. Minami, literally meaning the south in Japanese, is an alias for the southern district of central Osaka.