Six influential business leaders open up studio complex in Tokyo for game changers

The six founders of EDGEof: (from left) Daniel Goldman, Todd Porter, Ken Masui, Taisuke Alex Odajima, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Taizo Son
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

Updated at Noon on April 11: The titles of Masui and Mizuguchi were revised according to the request from EDGEof’s PR agency.

Entrepreneurs in Shibuya, Tokyo may have noticed that the building across from Tower Records on Fire Street has transformed into a new hub for innovators. Even during interior renovations, several impressive events were held there, including Hello Tomorrow, UN India / XPrize Innovation Meetup, and TEDxShibuya.

After a prep period of about six months, the EDGEof gamechanger’s studio opened on April 1st. EDGEof’s six founders are startup supporter Taisuke Alex Odajima, internationally famous DJ innovation producer Ken Masui, serial social entrepreneur Daniel Goldman, TEDxTokyo founder Todd Porter, game designer creative director Tetsuya Mizuguchi, and serial entrepreneur/investor Taizo Son. The design of EDGEof’s logo represents how, even if the initial directions of the six founders is different, when they come together a new power is born.

Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

On April first, when the public was first offered a view of EDGEof at a press conference during its opening day, the six co-founders talked about the significance and perspective of the space (and the community). With keywords such as: Co-creation, Collaboration, Collective, etc., the theme is to accelerate the birth of ideas that may change the world by gathering together people who are trying to do something new. Odajima stressed that, while it can be a place to work jointly together, which is the original meaning of co-working, it will not be a so-called “co-working space” (in the real estate business sense that users pay to rent).

The building consists of nine floors, including the basement, ground floor, and rooftop, and each floor has a theme like food, media, startup collaborative innovation, and startup showroom. Mizuguchi’s studio is also set up at EDGEof, and both Rhizomatiks and Keio Media Design are participating in Synesthesia Lab. Additionally, Rhizomatiks worked on the interior design of EDGEof’s first floor entrance, and when visitors step through the door after conquering the bustling Shibuya streets they may feel as if they have been transported into a world of magic.

Exhibition of a living room that can be easily transported by a small truck
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Masui stressed that EDGEof is not specialized only in technology and business innovation, and that they are looking for people who are also trying to start something new in art, culture, research, and other fields, to be active members of the community. Although EDGEof uses a membership system, there is a space prepared for the media and journalists, and they have even kept members in mind who have just arrived from overseas and want to freshen up before heading into the throngs of Shibuya for meetings by preparing showers. The shower boxes use technology from Japanese water reclamation startup WOTA, which is yet another example of how each of the facilities at EDGEof have been carefully chosen and give it an air of distinction.

From abroad to Japan, and from Japan to the world– or in Porter’s own words, “Global ⇄ Local and Local ⇄ Local,” EDGEof is actively seeking to lend power to these paths and to that effect partnerships with Malaysia’s CO3 Social Office, Singapore’s Spectrum, and Korea’s FuturePlay have been decided. According to Odajima the company is currently discussing partnerships of some sort with 19 countries.

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The window behind the stage on the 2nd floor’s EDGEof Club is big, and when viewed from Fire Street during a presentation looks as if someone is standing in the window frame.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

EDGEof’s business model assumes sponsorship from large companies and startups. Through their sponsorship these companies can utilize EDGEof’s assets, but unlike the traditional open innovation approach, the companies are also asked to join the platform prepared by EDGEof and participate in the out of the box thinking project. “We are aiming for a never-ending Sagrada Familia method,” remarked Masui.

At the opening day held on April 1st there were exhibits of works by startups with advanced concepts, as well as booths set up by government organizations from Austria, France, Malaysia, and other countries for supporting entrepreneurs. It had the air of an expo or amusement park offering a glimpse of the future. Events and meetups will be held frequently, so I recommend dropping by now and then whenever they are held.

In the near future, a small lighthouse (searchlight) will be set up on the rooftop of EDGEof, symbolic of EDGEof’s quest to guide and support innovators who have yet to find their direction. Since it can also be seen from Shibuya’s famous the Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble, a symbol of chaos overflowing with passersby, the lighthouse, in more literal terms, also ensures that anyone can reach EDGEof without hesitation.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda

EDGEof’s rooftop will house a mini lighthouse for stray innovators.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda