See the original story in Japanese.
Digital Garage hosted the Demo Day for its Open Network Lab acceleration program earlier this month. The program celebrated its 17th batch and has supported 97 companies so far, with 60% of these successfully raising funds. This year 90 companies applied, and it appears female entrepreneurs, medical services, and inbound travel have become the prominent trends. Recruitment for the 18th batch began on October 9th.
Six companies that received support such as mentoring over three months beginning in July took the stage to to share their results. After review, the medicine management platform 9lione (pronounced Kulione) was awarded the Best Team and Audience prizes, while the mental health support app KibunLog secured the Special Award. (Below is an introduction to each companies’ pitch.)
Best Team & Audience Awards winner: 9lione
Medical facilities using medicines experience the problem of having to discard medicine due to incorrect orders and other reasons. The total amount lost due to discarded medicine is 770 billion yen (nearly $6.9 billion US; estimated to be 10% of the total cost of medicine), which brings the loss per institution to 5 million yen (about $45K US) per year or roughly equivalent to the operating profits of a privately run hospital.
The cause of the problem is simple: information management is still largely done with general-purpose tools such as handwriting and Excel. It is this point that “9lione honed in on.
The company uses a SaaS model to make pharmaceutical management more efficient. It is equipped to read prescriptions using OCR (optical character recognition), can manage the medicine per capsule, and has a function that can keep track of expiration dates using the barcodes of the medicine. Some healthcare providers saw a loss improvement of 75% after introducing the beta version because it is able to manage and propose the optimal order quantity based on consumption data.
The company’s traction is also on the up and up, with 91 companies submitting advance applications in two weeks. The business model is based on monthly subscriptions, with 150,000 medical institutions apart from pharmacies as potential customers. In the future, the company’s aim is to become a buying/selling platform like Amazon which utilizes inventory data.
Special Award winner: KibunLog
There are 300 million people suffering from depression worldwide, with 5 million of those in Japan alone. It is a difficult illness to cure with just medicine, and while treatment using psychotherapeutics based on “emotional records” is widely known, it is difficult for depression sufferers to accurately grasp and record their symptoms.
Kimamani’s KibunLog is a support app for improving users’ mental health and looks to solve this problem. Psychotherapy work can be carried out in the app itself, and emotions can be recorded and analyzed to make control easier.
The company has prepared an interface that can record situations accurately with the app, and the recorded emotions can be analyzed by easy-to-understand mood classifications. There is also a community function for interested users, and support for mental health improvement with psychotherapy. In terms of business, the company anticipates a community pricing model through sales of content to improve consumers’ health, an online salon, etc.
Giftpack is an on-demand gifting service that can deliver gifts from remote locations. The company is focusing particularly on gift giving experiences; for example, it offers the fun experience that involves local delivery people singing as they give the gift.
The company began the service after interviewing some 70,000 people, 70% of whom reported dissatisfaction with deliveries and experiences. Deliveries occur within three hours. The fee is 20%-30% and it aims to become the new gifting platform preferred by the millennial generation and as such has implemented a campaign in partnership with the 17 livestreaming app. The company is developing services in five countries, focusing mainly on Taiwan and San Francisco.
For care recipients at nursing facilities, more than half of the day is spent at leisure. Recreational activities are one way to use this time, but EveryPlus is focusing on the efficiency of this. It is necessary to improve satisfaction with recreational options amongst the elderly using nursing facilities, and while the budget for such places is between 10,000 and 500,000 yen (around $89-$4,445 US), it does not receive priority, so we end up with cases like the facility organizing a magic show for care recipients, who suffer from dementia, who cannot understand it.
Every Plus has partnered with companies, prepared a recreation package for singing karaoke at care facilities, and provides a matching service that takes into consideration the degree of care required and size of the facility. As a result, facility business hours can be reduced more than 700 hours a year, and the number of times the service has been implemented has increased to 3500.
Signature focuses on craft beer trends among the 30,000 brewing companies globally. Today, the craft beer market in Japan is attracting attention from all over the world because of the momentum exemplified by the 20% annual growth rate; however, it faces a roadblock in that just 2% succeed in expanding overseas. The reason lies in the alcohol licensing required by each country, and with businesses who possess licenses unwilling to take on inventory risks. Futhermore, when expanding to multiple countries, it is necessary to negotiate with each of them.
Signature is a marketplace that makes these inconvenient points more efficient. The company has eliminated inventory risks with an advance booking model, and has additionally removed the roadblock by offering liquor license bundles. The result is 70% of trial users repeatedly coming back. It is considering a D2C (direct-to-consumer) model in the future based on user data acquired by the company.
Mediction allows “medical tourist” users to settle the procedures required for medical treatment in Japan online. It targets visitors in particular from China as they account for 70% of the 430,000 medical tourists that come to Japan for treatment purposes.
When a user uploads their clinical records to the service, it translates them and matches them with relevant medical providers. Additionally, the service introduces hospitals, seeks missing information, and prepares examination reports. Usually, with this treatment process it takes two months to produce a diagnosis. While it takes one month for the treatment, translation and other processes can be reduced from three weeks to two days, thereby improving efficiency.
The diagnosis plan will check if treatment in Japan is necessary and can be used for 150,000 yen (about $1,334 US). In the future, the company plans to provide treatment services to affluent people by accumulating the medical record data.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda