Meet six teams from Mitsubishi UFJ’s 3rd acceleration batch in Tokyo


See the original story in Japanese.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), a bank holding company with its core commercial banking subsidiary The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, last month held the Demo Day for MUFG Digital Accelerator 3rd batch in Tokyo.

Six teams that passed the selection had participated in the program and been working on improvements in order to brush up for their services, upon receiving support from mentors over a four-month period starting April of 2018 based on the co-working space The Garage in Nihonbashi-Kabutocho, Tokyo.

In the Demo Day, the teams’ four-month results were showcased to MUFG Group staffers, Venture Capital and media for the first time, to be examined based on four evaluation items: degree of innovation, user benefit, business potential and synergy with MUFG. The highly evaluated teams were given support grants and supplemental awards.

The judges for the Demo Day were as follows:

  • Hironori Kamezawa (Chief Digital Transformation Officer, MUFG)
  • Souichi Kariyazono (Managing Partner, Globis Capital Partners)
  • Muneki Handa (CEO, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital)
  • Yoshiaki Murakami (Executive Research Director, Mitsubishi Research Institute)

In addition, all six teams were given PR Times award (free use right of the press release distribution service PR Times for one years) as a supplemental prize.

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Top-award winner / AWS Award winner: Lendy by Credit Engine

  • Mentor: Yasuhiro Yoshizawa (Inclusion Japan), Kotaro Sasamoto (Dentsu Ventures)
  • Grand Prix supplemental prize: Business support grant 2 million yen
  • AWS Award supplemental prize: Amazon Echo

Credit Engine provides a small-lot loan service Lendy as short-term emergency funds or operation funds targeting SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) / sole proprietors. Through cooperation with external web services and utilization of machine learning, its own risk evaluation system and quick application receiving / credit screening became available, so that the firm focuses on needs for funding which cannot be covered by conventional banks and financial organizations.

Credit Engine also developed a platform allowing external financial organizations to provide online lending service. This platform is specialized for online lending and enables bank users to reduce a burden of operation work in various introduction patterns according to their existing financing works flexibly.

Credit Engine revealed that it conducts PoC (proof of concept) at the MUFG-affiliated money lending company Acom and is expected to acquire new customers. Credit Engines will cooperate with MUFG Bank, and it is the first client of the platform.

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Runner-up: MDR

  • Mentor: Kengo Ito (D4V), Akira Kurabayashi (Draper Nexus)
  • Supplemental prize: business support grant 500,000 yen

Quantum computers to perform high level computation is classified roughly into special-purpose machine and general-purpose machine. MDR exhibits a Python-based SDK (software development kit) supporting special-purpose machine free of charge, allowing anyone to experience quantum computing easily.  Through the participation in this acceleration program, the MDR team commented that it became possible to assess the influence on operations of banks / investment banks / investment trusts and to determine the area in present operations that quantum computing can or cannot be introduced.

In addition, MDR developed an OS for special-purpose quantum computer that allows easy development of quantum computing app without specialized knowledge. To deal with problems that cannot be solved by special-purpose quantum computer, MDR concluded an agreement with MUFG Bank on joint development of general-purpose computer. The firm plans to develop OS for general-purpose computer and aims to establish an environment where special-purpose / general-purpose quantum computing can be easily introduced into every operation of the financial industry.

Runner-up: Remitis by Restar

  • Mentor: Shinji Asada (Salesforce Ventures) and Jun Nakajima (Archetype)
  • Supplemental prize: business support grant 500,000 yen

The real estate startup Restar develops information search / analysis platform Remetis targeting enterprises dealing with real estate investment. The market size of real estate fund is huge in Japan and the total amount of managed asset is estimated to be 33 trillion yen (about $290 billion), but the firm pointed out that the available information to manage real estate efficiently is insufficient. For example, to acquire essential information to manage a certain real estate properly such as surrounding conditions of room availabilities or market prices of rent, gathering online data from more than 100 websites and even from paper-based data is a must.

With Remetis, users can acquire such information in one-stop and upload rent income / expense data automatically. It also acquires development situation data of competitors and creates summary chart or report automatically. In cooperation with MUFG Bank, Restar verified whether Remetis can automate asset evaluation / rating works for the bank’s loan customers.

Audience Award / Microsoft Azure Award / DEJIMA Award winner: Orphe Track by No New Folk Studio

  • Mentor: Joh Konno (Globis Capital Partners), Kotaro Sasamoto (Dentsu Ventures)
  • Microsoft Azure supplemental prize: use right of Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise for one year
  • DEJIMA Award supplemental prizes: member user right of DEJIMA, event-holding right, novelty T-shirts

No New Folk Studio develops the smart shoes Orphe mounted with LED light and motion sensor. It was an epochal decision that the firm known for an IoT (Internet of Things) startup or a hardware startup aims to collaborate with the financial organization.

The firm develops the smart shoes Orphe Track that a small-sized device can be inserted into its insole, enabling foot data collection linking with a mobile app. Focusing on the fact that not a few runners injure their knees while running, the firm realized an unique analysis method of runners’ landing by using its own algorithm based on running data acquired from the shoes, without requiring any expensive sensors unlike conventional methods.

CEO Kikukawa was inspired by the data published from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport that a step a day reduces medical cost by 0.065 – 0.072 yen (about 0.06 cent). He applied for this accelerator program aiming to construct an ecosystem where users can have benefits through personal foot data collection. The firm also developed a platform in which coins are accumulated by running, tying up with the blockchain startup Zerobillbank and others.

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  • Mentor: Noriaki Sakamoto (The University of Tokyo Edge Capital), Yasuhiro Yoshizawa (Inclusion Japan)

AndGo takes on research and development of technologies related to encryption, blockchain and hardware wallet and has been developing a cold wallet in which cryptocurrency can be saved.

Generally, the security of user-owned cryptocurrency can be maintained by saving it in cold wallet without depositing it in an exchange, but there are still some issues in utility such as users having to memorize a lot of secret words.

AndGo realizes restoring core for both utility and safe use, cryptocurrency transfer method with QR code and multi-component authentication by a combination of smartphone and cold wallet. The firm plans to start sales of the cold wallet earlier next year. After the pitch, the firm discussed technical issues with the staffers of and Paygent affiliated by MUFG.

Signal by Factbase

  • Mentor: Kenichiro Hara (DCM Ventures)

Factbase develops the information portal focusing on cryptocurrency named Signal with two key functions; Signal Board is a market forecast function with web-based dashboard and Signal Alert notifies users by LINE when an event that may have a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market occurs.

In contrast to the stock and exchange market based on legal tender, the cryptocurrency market is much influenced by information disseminated online. By understanding contexts and by arranging miscellaneous information using Big Data and AI (artificial intelligence), Signal realizes a system to provide information correctly to users.

The firm plans to distribute its first premium content that exhibits BTC FX (Bitcoin foreign exchange) trading techniques with actual examples, and users can subscribe to it for 10,000 yen since July 30th.

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Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy