Orange Fab Asia, an incubation program for the East Asian region hosted by major French telecom company Orange, this month held a Demo Day event in Tokyo.
While focusing on Asia including Japan, Korea and Taiwan, Orange Fab Asia announced at this event that it also will collaborate with BASH led by Singaporean state-run investment company Infocomm Investments and Paris-based incubator NUMA (formerly Le Camping) in order to promote mutual communications among startups in different regions.
This will enable the Singaporean / French startups to be based at Orange Fab Asia’s office in Tokyo, and conversely Japanese / Korean / Taiwanese startups to be based at BASH or NUMA and engage in operations within Singapore or France.
While 15 teams from Japan, Korea and Taiwan has participated in the incubation program Spring 2015 season batch since April, 25 teams in all pitched and offered booth exhibition at the Demo Day, adding 3 teams from Singaporean BASH, 4 teams recommended by the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation (G-CCEI) in Korea, and 4 teams recommended by Business France or the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan.
Unfortunately it is hard to cover all startups in this event for want of interview capacity and space; however, some startups that attracted attention there are introduced below.
Aquabit Spirals (Japan)
Tokyo-based Aquabit Spirals developed a Smart Plate device which enables bookmarking on real objects. Having unique QR codes and IC chips inside, the device gives information linked with other Smart Plates through NFC(near field communication)-enabled / camera built-in smartphones.
As for general NFC, since information is directly written onto the chips, information updating must be done by each embedded chip. By managing linked information with codes via the cloud, the Smart Plate leads the user to the information by redirecting access destination, even enabling the NFC chip campaign owners to integrally manage information via the cloud with a specialized app.
Korea’s Frasen is developing the “smart” sleep mask, which collects physical data while one sleeps and provides personalized sleep management services. Technically, it is based on detection technology for biosignals including brain waves, big data analysis system and bio-feedback mechanism, in order to induce deep sleep by utilizing data gained from such integrated sources.
The current product is still a prototype, so that the team aims to establish mass production system through crowdfunding. Also the team’s active advancement overseas can be seen in taking the rostrum at beGLOBAL 2014 and Tech in Asia 2015 Seoul, or making entries to 500 Startups and Techstars.
Pied-Piper is a startup born out of the 5th batch of Korean startup accelerator SparkLabs, developing IoT called PiedQuant designated for measurement of various factors in food, such as freshness, sugar content or nutrients. In the same product line-up, the team also offers a plant cultivation support IoT called Pi-Pi, allowing management of artificial sunlight, temperature and soil, in addition to hydroponic systems.
Tokyo-based Scentee is engineering a “smell” technology which utilizes a specialized device attached to iPhone to give off any smell including food smells by linking with apps. The team is also known for an aroma gadget for smartphones called Hana Yakiniku (literally meaning ‘nose steaks’ in Japanese) developed in collaboration with Japanese joke content developer Kayac. The team offers as well Scentee Balloon with which one can maintain comfortable perfumed condition from night to morning just by putting certain perfume cartridges, in cooperation with luxury brands dealing in perfumes.
Korea-based Goqual provides a smart switching solution called BlueSwitch, enabling switch control like turning on/off the light via mobile apps just by covering over the existing switches, which is similar to Akerun, making thumbturns to smart-lock just by covering over them. It also has an auto-learning function for automatic switching operations based upon the usage patterns.
Singapore-based Igloohome brings smart hosting solution under the same name for vacation rentals like Airbnb. As for vacation rentals, guests cannot make much energy-savings efforts because accommodation expenses include energy bills. It is not uncommon for guests to go out with air conditioning or illumination on, so these costs place the burden on the hosts.
Utilizing smart sensors or smart locks linked with illumination, Igloohome detects and judges whether the guest is out or not with equipment on in the room, calling for the guests’ / hosts’ attention or improvement. The Igloohome team provides only comprehensive experiences leveraging assimilation of IoT and platform; sensors or devices in the products are supplied by other startups or manufacturers.
Tokyo-based IdeaQuest advances “human sensing technology” developed by Professor Emeritus Masato Nakajima of Keio University, and took part of this event as a guest.
Monitoring object user on the bed without camera and even without any contact or restraint, it allows one to check the conditions of cognitive disease or bedridden patients using sensors, and notifies caregivers or nurse stations if some incident occurs. Detecting just by combining light projectors and acceptors without a camera, privacy of object users can be protected.
Simultaneously with the end of this Demo Day, Open Fab Asia commenced calls for participation in the next batch, Fall 2015 season. The submission deadline is 17th of August, and 4 to 5 startups each will be allowed to participate in the program to be held in Tokyo, Seoul and Taiwan over three months, beginning from September.
We recommend startups looking to expand business beyond Asia into Europe, centering on France, to consider participation in it.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda