From Monozukuri Hub Meetup: Accelerators vs. Incubators, which one should you go for?


chichia-huang-150x150This is a guest post by Chi Chia Huang, an intern of Kyoto-based hardware startup accelerator Makers Boot Camp. The accelerator holds the Monozukuri Hub Meetup event in Kyoto on a monthly basis.

Additionally, all photos in this article were taken by professional photographer Kengo Osaka.


With the good weather and a couple of nice beers in MTRL Kyoto on September 12th, we kicked off the meetup with a presentation from Naonobu Yamamoto, who is the CEO of Kpnetworks. Following the second presentation by Daigo Sakaida, an open innovation initiative senior principal at Accenture, anchoring the meetup, John Kat, a technology specialist from the British government in the Department of International Trade, shared his insights about what a government can do to support startups and the ecosystem. We were also glad to have our last speaker Keiji Tokuda, the founder and CEO of Keigan, with Keigan’s establish day on this day.

Naonobu Yamamoto, CEO of Kpnetworks

Yamamoto presented on the business model of Kpnetworks, and talked about the importance of accelerator program in the startup ecosystem. He also shared his experience with several accelerators.

Daigo Sakaida, open innovation initiative senior principal at Accenture

Sakaida discussed the difference between accelerators and incubators. With his clear explanation, we could understand the concept of these two different programs. Accelerators are usually a short term program for several months; in contrast, Incubators are mostly long term programs from one to three years. He suggested startups still in seed stage to join incubator programs, and startups in early stage to consider joining accelerator programs. Also he brought up to date numbers showing the startup ecosystem in Japan, pointing out there is still an opportunity for growth.

John Kat, technology specialist from the British government in the Department of International Trade

Kat shared his tips and tricks to overcome the common challenges of startups including networking, funding, management, and marketing. He also emphasized that British government has developed great program to connect researchers from academic world with industrial experts to assist startups and innovation.

Keiji Tokuda, founder and CEO of Keigan

Tokuda gave several advice to startups from his business experience and suggested to seek opportunity of collaboration with government.

During the panel discussion, presenters had different insights about how to manage the fund they raised and about how to convince investors to invest them.


Kat gave an interesting comment:

After meeting several venture capitalists, talking with potential investors but you got turned down by all of them…instead of keep trying more to convince the sharks, you should find out the reasons why you got rejected. That is to say, your business model is not completed yet. Try to figure out the bugs and revise them, then seek for the investors again.

Special thanks to Makers Boot Camp and Kyoto city government for holding the amazing meetup. I can’t wait for the next Monozukuri meetup on 12th October, to discuss the major failure for hardware startups: “Design for Manufacture.”