360° video livestreaming platform HUG wins Open Network Lab 12th Demo Day in Tokyo



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based startup incubator Open Network Lab held a Demo Day to showcase startups coming out of the 12th batch of its Seed Accelerator Program earlier this month. 93 teams including 19 teams from overseas had applied for this batch. Eventually, six teams were selected from among these for mentoring and support over a three-month period.

Although details for one of these teams has not been disclosed, the other five teams made pitches. At the end of the event, the teams were judged and commended on the basis of votes from the main mentors or audiences.

Best Team Award winner: HUG by Ducklings


HUG is a platform for live streaming with cameras for a 360-degree view. The video can be watched on PCs or smartphones; in addition, the service supports distribution and sharing of 360-degree videos available for virtual reality devices, such as head-mounted displays, both in live or archived format by notifying the URL links. It can also accept comments on the video from viewers in real-time.


According to Ducklings CEO Norikazu Takagi, while various cheap 360-degree cameras have been released by Samsung, LG, Nikon and other makers since the beginning of this year, a simple distribution platform for them does not exist yet in the world so he commenced development of the service. Thus far, video streaming using the platform has been done 1,800 times by users in 100 countries. Also it has been used in introducing a new product by Nike at their event in Hong Kong, a live broadcast of a keynote speech at an event of American EduTech company Coursera, or a live broadcast of a cherry blossom viewing by Japanese meteorological company Weathernews.

Special Award / Audience Award winner: Shonika Online


Shonika Online, literally meaning Pediatrics Online, by KidsPublic is a platform to connect homes and pediatricians via smartphones. One can consult doctors about symptoms of their children via the Line messaging app, phone, Skype or Facebook Messenger. According to KidsPublic CEO Naoya Hashimoto, who is also a pediatrician, diagnoses for 80% of the children visiting emergency wards are considered to be slight. Their parents had no choice but to visit the emergency wards because they did not know well about the disease even after browsing on the Internet, or asking on hotlines provided by local governments.


With Shonika Online, pediatricians respond to users whether they should go to hospital, judging from medical interviews which is created by supervisory pediatricians, pictures of abnormalities photographed by smartphones or past medical treatment histories on electronic medical records. Currently ten pediatricians participate in this service as counselors, and it aims to monetize by serving the demand from companies, affiliation with nurseries or social services of municipalities, or meeting personal needs. Its goal is to construct a system where the check-ups at hospital can be judged by accumulating and analyzing case data without support from MDs.

Kakaku.com Award winner: BabyMap by Trim


BabyMap is an app focusing on search of tables for diaper exchange and nursing rooms for babies. It is not easy to find these information even with general search engines, and this led to development of the app. This app has more than 17,000 monthly active users and been realized through accumulation of information; more than 100 posts are sent from users per day. It is used for 2.5 years on average from birth of babies until potty training, and that results in a high retention rate.


Trim CEO Yusuke Hasegawa emphasized that it can be also utilized for marketing purposes by leveraging data accumulation of both users (attributes, activities or preferences) and facilities (details of facilities, products or word-of-mouth). For example, BabyMap can be partially used as preliminary surveys for city planning, so he suggests the possibility of monetization upon usage by developers or commercial facilities.

Listed below are startups that made interesting pitches though they missed winning prizes.

Túpac Bio Designer by Túpac Bio

Túpac Bio Designer is a DNA design software for drug development. The firm was founded by biomedical researchers at the University of Tokyo. Although major pharmaceutical companies typically spend much money for drug research and development, it is still not uncommon to end up with a failure. This platform aims to increase the success rate of drug development.

By digitalizing experiment processes which are being carried out manually, and by utilizing a custom drug library with synthetic DNA, periods of experiment processes which formerly required weeks or months can be shortened down to the level of several days. It aims to differentiate from similar platforms by using genome compilers, DNA sequences, collaboration functions, links with external databases or high-level processing capability.

Withfluence by HIP Stores


Withfluence is a marketing platform allowing requests to be made of top influencers in Asia for promotion work. It launched the beta version in Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong this February; clients can ask for promotion by suitable Instagrammers who match the purposes or conditions of projects.

Clients select influencers among the list on Withfluence by checking out their past works, and then request promotion projects. The feature of this service is that clients can also check increases / decreases in the number of influencers’ followers or changes in the number of “Like,” or engagement rates after ordering promotion. It has been sounded out about usage from an advertising agency in Southeast Asia or a mobile carrier in Thailand, and moreover, Japanese cosmetics major KOSE (TSE:4922) has already decided to utilize this service for promotion of its product Sekkisei in the Southeast Asian region.


According to Takayoshi Matsuda, the program director of Open Network Lab, the accelerator has produced 64 startups in total with the completion of this 12th batch. The total amount of market capitalization for all these startups being produced through 11 batches is 43.8 billion yen (about $405 million), showing a performance of 14.52 times as much as that at the start of investment.

Coinciding with the holding of this 12th Demo Day, Open Network Lab has started accepting applications to the 13th batch. It will provide 10 million yen (about $92,000) maximum as activity funding for this batch. Compared with conventional batches, it will enhance support to startups so that success overseas can be better attained. Also it plans to provide the right to use three bases (in Daikanyama of Tokyo, Kamakura, and San Francisco) gratis for a year, and mentoring by 70 startups that came out of the Accelerator Program through the 12th batch. The application deadline for the 13th batch is noon on May 27th.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda