Japan’s Vinclu gains $768K in funding to develop hologram assistant for smart living


See the original story in Japanese.

Japanese IoT (Internet of Things) startup Vinclu announced on Monday that it is developing Gatebox, a hologram-based communication robot allowing users to enjoy their daily lives with their favorite 2D character. The company also announced that it has fundraised from several Japanese investors to prepare for the launch of the product by a crowdfunding campaign in the fall of 2016. Participating investors in this round are Incubate Fund, Primal Capital, and iSG Investment Works, in addition to loans from various financial institutions are utilized.

The fund gathered totaled some 90 million yen (about $768,000). Along with the funds announced, Hiroshi Sasaki (General Partner, Primal Capital) as external board director and Toru Akaura (General Partner, Incubate Fund) as auditor, joined the management board of Vinclu. As for details such as the third-party shareholdings ratio and fund transfer date have not been disclosed.

The Vinclu investor/founder team

Now, some very intriguing products and approaches. As shown in the moving pictures Gatebox has a 2D character as a hologram projected inside the box which can be spoken to for provision such as turning on lamps and setting the alarm. Vinclu CEO Minori Takechi notes that in principle the hologram tech as well as the boxtop projector were those used at a Miku Hatsune concert.

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There are outlooks that during 2016 the Smart Home will become commonplace upon dissemination and in fact many startups related to smart locks and security in Japan.

As of now the role of robots in the Smart Home is within the “home controller” realm. The development of social media our lives have come to adopt lifelogs and updates online without being conscious of them.

Although at first glance the gatebox 2D character is a product with strong “geeky” features, but it is characterized as a versatile controller which makes everyday life smarter. Again as shown before in the moving pictures (and as indicated by the prototype) it is now at the simple consumer electronics control and character operations stage that henceforth is seen operating on respective storage data.


Yet according to Takechi, although specific moves are not ready his main goal currently is to enhance the corporate structure in time for a crowdfunding campaign in the fall.

Recently in Japan SoftBank’s Pepper has shown the possibilities, and this year’s CES saw several Japanese companies garnering attention across the Pacific in Las Vegas. On the other hand there are recurrent problems with robots that constantly require maintenance and occupy space. In view of this the Vinclu software approach that is constantly updated online through use of a hologram offers new possibilities.

Personally (though ignoring the visual aspects) this software approach is seen becoming the ultimate family use form. As an aside, Takechi’s explanation was that not only is the hologram just “for the box” but can be “materialized” in the room as well.

Translated by “Tex” Pomeroy
Edited by Masaru Ikeda