Japan’s Samurai Incubate launches ‘Accelerate Program Israel’

Samurai Incubate CEO Kentaro Sakakibara in Jerusalem

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo- and Tel Aviv-based startup accelerator Samurai Incubate announced last week that they have begun recruiting Japanese companies to participate in the Accelerate Program Israel, their goal being to accelerate M&A as well as R&D of the latest technology in the region by fostering Israeli startups.

Accelerate Program Israel will be a three-month program run on the basis of Samurai Incubate’s wealth of experience in the incubation of startups in both Japan and Israel. The company says that they will be able to make use of their co-working space in Tel Aviv, Samurai House in Israel, as well as the large social network they have built in the country.

In July 2014, Samurai Incubate expanded into Israel, establishing their incubation office Samurai House in the city of Tel Aviv. In January of this year they established a new fund called the Samurai Incubate Fund No.5 and has been investing in Israeli pre-seed round startups. Additionally, the company invested in Tel Aviv-based startup incubator Startup East in May, and has been strengthening exchange between the Japanese and Israeli startup communities and cooperation between the two ecosystems.

Samurai Incubate director Shouta Morozumi says that compared to China and Korea, Japan’s business presence in Israel is relatively small.

Acquisition cases of Israeli startups by Chinese businesses such as Alibaba are increasing, and Samsung is now launching an accelerator program in Israel called Runway, so compared to those kinds of developments the movement of Japanese business is quite small as of now.

In Japan there are precedents of incubation programs such as IBM BlueHub which is carried out together with IBM Japan, but the company is hoping they’ll be able to elect five or so startups with a similar framework and successfully hold a three-month accelerator program in Israel.

Samurai House in Israel

Translated by Connor Kirk
Edited by Masaru Ikeda