Finolab 2.0: Tokyo’s FinTech startup hub steps into its second phase at new location


See the original story in Japanese.

One year ago FinTech startup hub Finolab opened in the Tokyo Bankers Association Building in Otemachi of Tokyo facing the Imperial Palace. Numerous financial institutions and FinTech startups participated in this project, which was born from a collaboration between Mitsubishi Estate (TSE:8802), Dentsu (TSE:4324), and Information Services International-Dentsu (ISID for short, TSE:4812), and helped to expand business in the FinTech field and promote open innovation. Around the same time, Heiwa Real Estate (TSE:8803), known as the owner of the Tokyo Stock Exchange building, developed FinGATE, an event space located in their own building in the Kabuto-cho Financial District. In Nihonbashi (the center of life sciences rather than FinTech) Mitsui Fudosan (TSE:8801) opened several startup bases. Put it all together and it shows the leading real estate companies are competing to support startups in the Tokyo station area.

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In the meantime, the Tokyo Bank Association Building that housed Finolab was billed for demolition in the renewal of the Marunouchi 1-chome district, with Finolab moving to the nearby Otemachi Building. Finolab officially reopened after the relocation and renovation and held a renewal opening event on the first, inviting their startup members, participating financial institutions, and the media.

About 40 startups such as Crowdcast, Warrantee and Caulis are participating in Finolab and this includes those that set up offices after the move. The area is 2,145 meters squared which is nearly 2.4 times larger than their previous location, so it features not only independent office spaces for each company, but also a shared environment with an event space, a kitchen, and a lounge. As FinTech often deals in security sensitive areas, the fingerprint verification security system developed by biometrics technology startup Liquid is installed at various gates and doors throughout the space.

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In addition, as a result of the relocation, Finolab renewed its membership program, and established a menu that includes project members, venture capitals, accelerators, and so on, and they are offering open API from major companies, while also launching a new business consortium comprised of various industries. As a forerunner, the Mizuho Financial Group (Mizuho FG for short, TSE:8411), one of Japan’s leading maga-bank conglomerates, plans to set up a laboratory in Finolab that will create an environment for the development of Open Bank API for startups. The headquarters of Mizuho FG is one stop from Finolab so it is a clear sign they are pursuing more aggressive activities by creating a laboratory where promising startups gather.

An event space that can accommodate more than 100 people.
A panel on regional revitalization and FinTech took place on the stage.
The daily event schedule is posted at the entrance.
Books by members and media appearances are displayed. It appears they have partnerships with overseas accelerators such as London’s Level 39 and Seoul’s Hanwha Group’s Dream Plus.
The lounge and kitchen area can be used as a party venue during event openings.
Thanks to the phone booth, phone calls can remain confidential and there is no need to worry about disrupting others.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda