Meet 4 startups from Slush Tokyo 2018 pitch competition finals


See the original story in Japanese.

This is part of our coverage of Slush Tokyo 2018.

This year’s Slush Tokyo took place in late March at Tokyo Big Sight, a landmark exhibition venue on the city’s waterfront. Competing among other finalists chosen through a 2-day preliminary screening with 80 nominees, Munich-based Artisense, the German startup developing real-time mapping and computer vision technologies for autonomous driving, won the pitch competition this year.

Every team had a presentation opportunity consisting of a five-minute pitch followed by a Q&A session. Here’s a quick rundown of the four finalist teams.

Top Award Winner: Artisense (Germany)

Supplementary award: 5 million yen in cash presented by Recruit Holdings

Spun off from a computer vision laboratory in Munich, DeepTech AI startup Artisense offers technologies needed for autonomous driving and smart cities. Autonomous driving typically uses GPS (global positioning system) and precise map data. However, high-rise buildings in urban areas can interfere with GPS signals from satellites while such map data needs to be updated more frequently and accurately than a typical map for humans, costing a lot more.

Using on-board stereo visible-light cameras instead of a rotating laser scanner, Artisense’s technology can generate map and data on a real-time basis leveraging their proprietary algorithm, which enables autonomous driving without relying on GPS and map data. The team recently won the Plug and Play Japan Award at the accelerator’s batch 0 demo day, and also succeeded in raising $250,000 in a seed round.

Ecosystem Award winner: Arilyn (Finland)

Supplementary award: Participation privileges for Tech in Asia Singapore 2018, Infinity Venture Summit 2018 Spring in Taipei

Arilyn develops an AR (augmented reality) app for iOS and Android. In addition to AR content authoring service, the startup provides merchants with a variety of integration services for their marketing efforts leveraging AR technologies.

JAL Award winner: UltraCelsius (Indonesia)

Supplementary award: Mileage points worth 250,000 miles presented by Japan Airlines

UltraCelsius develops coolant products using special chemicals which can keep anything cool for as long as six days. They offer a variety of products according to use cases, such as UltraCelsius Regular to place on the body to cool them down without electric power, UltraCelsius Curve to cool beverage bottles and cans, as well as UltraCelsius Mini that allows users to keep food cold very easily.

PR Times Award: BuyandShip (Hong Kong)

Supplementary Award: Complimentary one-year subscription for PR support

BuyandShip is a data-driven startup that optimizes logistics for cross-border e-commerce users. It allows users to consolidate delivered packages from different e-commerce platforms by giving them a virtual overseas address, so they can receive merchandise ordered for lower shipping expense.

The startup is now serving consumers in Hong Kong and Japan by giving them virtual addresses in the U.S., Japan, UK, Korea, China and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong alone, they now have 120,000 users and deal with 30,000 orders on a monthly basis. They had raised $2.3 million in a series A round last December.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy