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Meet 4 startups from Slush Tokyo 2018 pitch competition finals

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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…

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

Korea’s Dot, Braille smartwatch and tablet startup, wins Slush Tokyo 2017 pitch finals

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See the original story in Japanese. This is a part of our on-site coverage of Slush Tokyo 2017. Slush Tokyo 2017, one of the largest startup and technology events in Japan, was held at Tokyo Big Sight last week. In the pitch competition within the event, Korean startup Dot which is behind the Braille smart watch / tablet was chosen for first place from among four teams which survived the qualifying round contested by the 80 nominated teams over two days. Event contestant made a five-minute pitch followed by a Q&A session with judges. The followings were the four finalists. First Place: Dot (Korea) Supplemental prize: 5 million yen (about $45,000) from Recruit Holdings, 5 million yen investment from investors Dot developed a smartwatch capable of expressing Braille descriptions named Dot Watch, in addition to other Braille devices. Dot Watch enables the visually-impaired to exchange messages or to understand posts on social network services by touching the display. It will be welcomed as a gift item since costing only $290 which is much cheaper than conventional Braille keyboards costing about $5,000. The team succeeded in downsizing of the display on the face utilizing its 18 patents. This technology is applicable…

See the original story in Japanese.
This is a part of our on-site coverage of Slush Tokyo 2017.

Slush Tokyo 2017, one of the largest startup and technology events in Japan, was held at Tokyo Big Sight last week. In the pitch competition within the event, Korean startup Dot which is behind the Braille smart watch / tablet was chosen for first place from among four teams which survived the qualifying round contested by the 80 nominated teams over two days.

Event contestant made a five-minute pitch followed by a Q&A session with judges. The followings were the four finalists.

First Place: Dot (Korea)

Supplemental prize: 5 million yen (about $45,000) from Recruit Holdings, 5 million yen investment from investors

Dot developed a smartwatch capable of expressing Braille descriptions named Dot Watch, in addition to other Braille devices. Dot Watch enables the visually-impaired to exchange messages or to understand posts on social network services by touching the display. It will be welcomed as a gift item since costing only $290 which is much cheaper than conventional Braille keyboards costing about $5,000. The team succeeded in downsizing of the display on the face utilizing its 18 patents. This technology is applicable to the guide display boards at subway stations, bank or bus stops.


It currently supports 35 languages and will do more by performing each scaling. Furthermore, the team has been developing the Braille tablet Dot Pad as its new step supported by Google. Dot Mini, the simplified version of Dot Pad for educational use, was distributed in Kenya as a trial operation and received favorable feedback. Since there are also more than 10 million visually-impaired people in India, the team expects a huge market.

JAL Award Inzpire.me (Norway)

Supplemental prize: complimentary mileage worth 275,000 miles from Japan Airlines

Norway-based Inzpire.me is a marketplace for connecting influencers and product brands. Under the current influence marketing environment, 10% of top influencers earn 90% of the total marketing budget demand. The team explains that this imbalance is caused by a lack of transparency and reliability as to influencer marketing.

Since launch of its beta version last year, Inzpire.me has gathered 6,500 influencers and the number of total followers for these reaches 300 million worldwide. Partnering with 60 brand companies, the team has been focusing at this time on business in Europe and US but also aims to expand into Asia in the future.

PR Times Award: MacroSpace (Japan)

Supplemental prize: one-year PR support

Macrospace is a Japanese startup developing system for tele-existence. Putting sensors on a controller’s body and sending acquired motion data via the Internet, it can control a remote robot with the same motion. The technological advantage of the team is being able to markedly suppress the communication delay between controller and robot by utilizing UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and Deep Learning. Thus it is possible to virtually “exist” in a different location simultaneously.

The existence of avatars in different places may realize “teleportation”; tele-diagnosis or tele-education will become technically possible by setting avatars in depopulated areas that lack doctors or teachers. Since the robot sizes are independent of the human body, larger robots can be controlled by users so that they can also be utilized for disaster rescues. By the way, CEO Sho Nakanose was chosen as a participant for a program at Singularity University which will be held this summer.

Elsius Bilmedical (Canada)

ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) is a life-saving technology used in ICUs (Intensive Care Units) or emergency rooms; it pumps and oxygenates for circulation of a patient’s blood from outside the body. The availability of conventional ECMO equipment was limited due to the need for power supply or blood dilution.

Elsius Biomedical developed compact and portable circulatory support system pCAS for easy-use ECMO. It incorporates blood pump and oxygen supplier, and is expected to save more lives.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Funderbeam, stock exchange for startups, teams up with Taizo Son for Asia expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. This is a part of our on-site coverage of Slush Tokyo 2017. Funderbeam, originally from Estonia, offers a blockchain-based stock exchange platform for startups. The startup’s founder and CEO Kaidi Ruusalepp took the stage at Slush Tokyo 2017 today where she announced that they have secured 2 million euros from Mistletoe, led by Japanese renowned entrepreneur/angel investor Taizo Son, and will seek to advance into the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, under a strategic alliance. Funderbeam was founded in 2013 by Kaidi Ruusalepp, who previously served as CEO of the Estonian stock exchange Nasdaq Tallinn. Beginning in April of 2016, they added a platform that allows startups to receive funding, and a platform on which startup stocks can be traded. According to Funderbeam, the cumulative funding to date is 4.8 million dollars (according to Crunchbase it is 4.75 million dollars). Their early investors include Skype co-founder Janne Tallinn. In addition, they have fundraised 424,000 euros from their own funding platform. Funderbeam already has an office in the financial hub of London, and has already established its solid presence in the European market through business tie-ups with the Zagreb Stock Exchange in Croatia and the Ljubljana…

Funderbeam’s Kaidi Ruusalepp shaking hands with Mistletoe’s Taizo Son
Image credit: Koichiro Shimojo / Slush Tokyo 2017

See the original story in Japanese.
This is a part of our on-site coverage of Slush Tokyo 2017.

Funderbeam, originally from Estonia, offers a blockchain-based stock exchange platform for startups. The startup’s founder and CEO Kaidi Ruusalepp took the stage at Slush Tokyo 2017 today where she announced that they have secured 2 million euros from Mistletoe, led by Japanese renowned entrepreneur/angel investor Taizo Son, and will seek to advance into the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, under a strategic alliance.

Funderbeam was founded in 2013 by Kaidi Ruusalepp, who previously served as CEO of the Estonian stock exchange Nasdaq Tallinn. Beginning in April of 2016, they added a platform that allows startups to receive funding, and a platform on which startup stocks can be traded. According to Funderbeam, the cumulative funding to date is 4.8 million dollars (according to Crunchbase it is 4.75 million dollars). Their early investors include Skype co-founder Janne Tallinn. In addition, they have fundraised 424,000 euros from their own funding platform.

Funderbeam’s funding/profile page on the Funderbeam platform

Funderbeam already has an office in the financial hub of London, and has already established its solid presence in the European market through business tie-ups with the Zagreb Stock Exchange in Croatia and the Ljubljana Stock Exchange in Slovenia, but in terms of global expansion, their partnership with Mistletoe and entry into the Asia-Pacific region is a first for them.

In an interview with The Bridge, Ruusalepp emphasized that priority was given to expanding into the Asia-Pacific region rather than entering the US in light of the rapid growth of the market, and that for the purpose of promoting global development they seek alliances with optimal partners who best understand the market in their regions, thus the decision was made that Mistletoe would be their strongest partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

In this vertical, the Thai Stock Exchange revealed last year that it will open a startup-focused stock trading platform in the third quarter of 2017. Additionally, in relation to startup databases, Hong Kong’s OddUp, the US’s Mattermark and CB Insights may be in competition, but for Ruusalepp, Funderbeam’s strength lies in the combination of their data (holding data analytics of 150,000 startups around the world that investors can use for investment decisions), funding, and trading.

See also:

Since the platform launch last April, the company says that investors have invested more than 2 million euros through the Funderbeam platform, and the amount of transactions total 100,000 euros in more than 80 countries.

Mistletoe’s President and CEO Taizo Son elaborated on why they invested and allied themselves with Funderbeam in the following statement. (Excerpt)

Mistletoe engages in various activities to support and grow a startup ecosystem in which entrepreneurs and startups can grow freely.

And for the healthy development of this ecosystem, a transparent and open fundraising process is one of its critical components.

With regards to how the platform is expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, both companies will explore a concrete strategy from now on.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda

Taiwan’s SkyREC, analytics tool for real stores, wins Slush Asia 2016 pitch finals

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See the original story in Japanese. Slush Asia took place on May 13th and 14th at the Makuhari Messe exhibition halls in Chiba. Among 60 nominees fiercely competing during the 2-day event, Taiwan-based SkyREC — which is developing an analytics platform for real stores — won this year’s startup pitch competition. Taiwanese startups won for two consecutive years following Slush Asia 2015 last year. Top award winner: SkyREC (Taiwan) Supplemental awards: Premium support worth 1 million yen from Google, 55,000 miles point from Japan Airlines, legal services worth $15,000 from the law firm Orrick and 1 million yen in cash from Autodesk SkyREC is a Google Analytics for real stores, allows users to understand how many times and also how long wherein the store customers have been gathing at the most. It will demonstrate a great capability in finding customer flow lines, hot-selling items as well as unpopular items with 12 different core analytics solutions. At a certain store in Taiwan, it could improve in-store customer traffic 10% and monthly revenue 18% after three months since implementing the SkyREC solution. Since its launch in December of 2015, the solution has been adopted by 400 stores, planning to be deployed into…

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See the original story in Japanese.

Slush Asia took place on May 13th and 14th at the Makuhari Messe exhibition halls in Chiba. Among 60 nominees fiercely competing during the 2-day event, Taiwan-based SkyREC — which is developing an analytics platform for real stores — won this year’s startup pitch competition. Taiwanese startups won for two consecutive years following Slush Asia 2015 last year.

Top award winner: SkyREC (Taiwan)

Supplemental awards: Premium support worth 1 million yen from Google, 55,000 miles point from Japan Airlines, legal services worth $15,000 from the law firm Orrick and 1 million yen in cash from Autodesk

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SkyREC is a Google Analytics for real stores, allows users to understand how many times and also how long wherein the store customers have been gathing at the most. It will demonstrate a great capability in finding customer flow lines, hot-selling items as well as unpopular items with 12 different core analytics solutions.

At a certain store in Taiwan, it could improve in-store customer traffic 10% and monthly revenue 18% after three months since implementing the SkyREC solution. Since its launch in December of 2015, the solution has been adopted by 400 stores, planning to be deployed into 64,000 stores under 30 brands. This startup was born out of the 11th batch of Taiwan’s AppWorks accelerator.

Recruit Strategic Partners award winner: Giroptic (France)

Supplemental awards: 500,000 yen in cash and one-year free rent until September 2016 of TECH LAB PAAK co-working space in Shibuya, Tokyo

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Giroptic has developed a camera device which enables capture of 360-degree motion pictures with three micro cameras and three microphones but without any software. In addition to Nokia’s Ozo exhibited in the Slush Asia venue at this time, images captured by three cameras are stitched into one 360-degree video stream in real time with an onboard chip. It can be livestreamed via Wi-Fi too.

Typical use cases include projecting images using a virtual reality-enabled head-mounted display (HMD) or browsing on desktop but users can swipe it directly or horizontally towards where they want to look at. It can be also attached to a light bulb socket and work as a 360-degree CCTV camera which enables image transmissions via Wi-Fi in real time. The team has received about 4,000 pre-orders at a Kickstarter campaign in France. Giroptic has 48 employees in France and San Francisco, and is currently funded at $6.1 million.

PR Times award winner: Meleap (Japan)

Supplemental awards: One-year complimentary use of press release distribution from PR Times

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Meleap has developed a sports game environment called Hado, leveraging a combination of several technologies such as spatial perception, smartphone-based HMD and motion sensors. It virtually reproduces decorated rooms and townscapes for up to 10 users upon enjoying games or exercises. They will start with a B2B (business-to-business) model serving leisure and recreational service providers.

See also:


The following two finalists could receive no award but were attracting much attention from an audience and judges:

Vectr (Taiwan)

Vectr is a one-stop graphic design platform that has been integrated with markup editor, prototyping tool and other several functions. With a professional account paying $25 monthly fee, users can use create documents making the most of templates, icons, fonts, stock photos, logs and illustration patterns provided on the platform. It also has editors and libraries for animated content, audios and videos as well.

Users can also sell their templates, icons, fonts, stock photos, logos and illustration patterns to other users through a marketplace. The company will take 30% of the price as a commission when the purchase is made.

MoBagel (Taiwan)

By collecting usage of IoT (Internet of Things) or “connected” home appliances, MoBagel provides consumer electronics manufacturers with business intelligence through a dashboard screen. It will help manufacturers understand usage or customer behaviors of their products. With this solution, manufacturers can grab statistics about how frequently their products are being used or demographics of their user base. Through the analysis, manufacturers can gain user insights that will definitely be useful for future product developments such as considering a suitable lifetime of batteries installed in their products.

Having partnered with Softbank, Philips, Panasonic and other consumer electronics companies, the company also secured $1 million in a seed round from 500 Startups, CyberAgent Ventures, SingTel’s Innov8 incubation initiative and Club Clover.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Taiwan’s VMFive wins Slush Asia’s pitching competition in Tokyo with app ad platform

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See the original story in Japanese. Slush Asia, the first Asian edition of the Finnish tech conference, was held in Tokyo on Friday, attracting 3,000 attendees from around the world. Accompanied by a number of keynote presentations by speakers and demo booth exhibitions by startups, some 50 teams from Japan and the rest of the world presented their pitches in a huge dome tent venue called The White Rock. See also: Finland’s startup conference Slush announces its first Asian edition in Tokyo Ten startups competed in each of five categories; cloud and marketplace, entertainment, education, tool, and hi-tech and hardware. The five teams selected out of 50 applicants were AlpacaDB, VMFive, Bento Bioworks, Fastmedia, and Fove. Taiwan startup VMFive won the first Slush Asia Pitching Competition. Slush Asia Pitching Competition Winner Entertainment category finalist: VMFive (Taiwan) VMFive provides a virtual environment solution for mobile apps. Their solution AdPlay lets users demo an app before purchasing it with no pre-installed software or SDKs from developers. The company partnered with Japan’s Adways and started a service that lets users demo an app before its launch on Adway’s Yoyaku Top 10 solution (also known in English as PreLaunch Party). They also recently partnered…

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See the original story in Japanese.

Slush Asia, the first Asian edition of the Finnish tech conference, was held in Tokyo on Friday, attracting 3,000 attendees from around the world.

Accompanied by a number of keynote presentations by speakers and demo booth exhibitions by startups, some 50 teams from Japan and the rest of the world presented their pitches in a huge dome tent venue called The White Rock.

See also:

Ten startups competed in each of five categories; cloud and marketplace, entertainment, education, tool, and hi-tech and hardware. The five teams selected out of 50 applicants were AlpacaDB, VMFive, Bento Bioworks, Fastmedia, and Fove.

Taiwan startup VMFive won the first Slush Asia Pitching Competition.

Slush Asia Pitching Competition Winner
Entertainment category finalist: VMFive (Taiwan)

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VMFive provides a virtual environment solution for mobile apps. Their solution AdPlay lets users demo an app before purchasing it with no pre-installed software or SDKs from developers.

The company partnered with Japan’s Adways and started a service that lets users demo an app before its launch on Adway’s Yoyaku Top 10 solution (also known in English as PreLaunch Party). They also recently partnered with Japanese digital ad agency D2C to accelerate efforts to partner with ad networks and app introduction sites.

They mainly target game publishers, generating revenue on a cost-per-trial basis. According to VMFive founder Jessie Wu, the mobile game app market in Russia is 2.5 times larger than that of the US, where the company’s solution delivers two to five times better performance to game developers compared to conventional banner ads or video ads. VMFive has three clients, offering them the service for less than a few US dollars per API (application programming interface) call.

See also:

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Cloud & Marketplace category finalist: AlpacaDB (USA)

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Based in San Mateo, California, AlpacaDB provides a deep learning platform that allows systems to associate tags with or sort non-structural data, such as images leveraging image analyzing technology.

The company serves more than 10 companies including e-commerce platforms and stock photo providers. When users label their photos via the online dashboard, the platform will learn their actions and generate an algorithm to automatically sort photos. The service is free, but a fee will be charged when using based on the algorithm generated.

Education category finalist: Bento Works (UK)

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Based in London, Bento Bioworks develops a hardware for biotechnology experiments for individuals. For example, the device allows you to find out what animal’s meat and ingredients are used in a hamburger by analyzing DNA sequence.

The company, founded just a few months ago, is targeting university students majoring in biology.

Tool category finalist: Fastmedia (Japan)

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Fastmedia has developed a platform called Yappli that allows users to develop a mobile app via drag-and-drop operations. No need to code, but it is available for developing apps for cross-platform such as iOS and Android. SME users are charged $100 a month, while enterprise users pay $1,000.

Seeing 70% QoQ sales growth, the platform is being used in enterprise offices, non-profit organizations, TEDx events, and other citizens’ projects.

Hi-tech & Hardware category: Fove (Japan)

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Tokyo-based Fove is developing a consumer-oriented head-mounted display (HMD) under the same name.

Their product allows users to control with their eyes a 360-degree virtual world using a leading-edge display, eye tracking, orientation sensing and head position tracking via integration of a high refresh rate gyro, accelerometer, and magnetometer sensors.

By detecting a 3D position which a user is looking at, the product will draw a more unblurred image around the position, giving the one a natural and immersive feeling even in the virtual reality space. It also enables users to enter characters via eye-tracking.

The company is expanding to the medical industry to help the physically challenged enter characters, or operate real objects in combination with other IoT (internet of things) devices.

See also:

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson

Finland’s startup conference Slush announces its first Asian edition in Tokyo

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See the original story in Japanese. Team Slush, the organizer team behind Finland’s annual tech startup conference Slush, announced today that it will hold its first Asian edition in Tokyo on April 24th, called Slush Asia. See also: CAPTCHA startup Capy wins Tokyo pitch event, moves on to Slush 2014 in Helsinki The organizing team for the Tokyo event is led by Antti Sonninen, former Rovio Entertainment Japan GM and now Beatrobo COO, and will invite prominent people in the tech industry as guest speakers, including Supecell CEO Ilkka Paananen, Rovio’s Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka, Mistletoe CEO Taizo Son, and DeNA founder Tomoko Namba. The Bridge is proud to serve the Tokyo event as a media sponsor, so please stay tuned for more updates. Translated by Masaru Ikeda Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

slush20143
Gungho Entertainment Chairman Taizo Son and Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen speak at Slush 2014, Helsinki, FInland.

See the original story in Japanese.

Team Slush, the organizer team behind Finland’s annual tech startup conference Slush, announced today that it will hold its first Asian edition in Tokyo on April 24th, called Slush Asia.

See also:

The organizing team for the Tokyo event is led by Antti Sonninen, former Rovio Entertainment Japan GM and now Beatrobo COO, and will invite prominent people in the tech industry as guest speakers, including Supecell CEO Ilkka Paananen, Rovio’s Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka, Mistletoe CEO Taizo Son, and DeNA founder Tomoko Namba.

The Bridge is proud to serve the Tokyo event as a media sponsor, so please stay tuned for more updates.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

CAPTCHA startup Capy wins Tokyo pitch event, moves on to Slush 2014 in Helsinki

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See the original story in Japanese. Finland’s annual startup conference Slush held a pitch competition for a number of startups at the Goodpatch office in Tokyo on Friday. CAPTCHA startup Capy won first prize and advances to Slush 2014 to be held in Helsinki, Finland, on November 18 and 19. (These dates incidentally coincide with TechCrunch Tokyo). Capy is a Delaware-registered and Tokyo-based startup that is developing an alternative security technology to replace CAPTCHA. The company was recently selected by Microsoft Ventures as one of 11 startups that will join its fifth batch of incubation program in Tel Aviv, Israel. They also attended last year’s Slush preliminary competition in Tokyo. See also: Capy offers text-free, mobile-friendly captchas Here is a quick rundown of the pitch competition. Yocondo Yocondo is a semantic product search engine that helps users find products when they do not quite know what they are looking for. For instance, a user can find a product by entering a phrase like “gift for girlfriend.” Okuyuki Okuyuki is a crowdfunding platform focused on 3D printing of character figures. (See also: Japanese service brings manga characters to life with 3D printing) Navvi (a project by Rosette Research) Navvi is a…

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Click to enlarge. (photo courtesy: Boris Friedrich Milkowski, Goodpatch)

See the original story in Japanese.

Finland’s annual startup conference Slush held a pitch competition for a number of startups at the Goodpatch office in Tokyo on Friday. CAPTCHA startup Capy won first prize and advances to Slush 2014 to be held in Helsinki, Finland, on November 18 and 19. (These dates incidentally coincide with TechCrunch Tokyo).

Capy is a Delaware-registered and Tokyo-based startup that is developing an alternative security technology to replace CAPTCHA. The company was recently selected by Microsoft Ventures as one of 11 startups that will join its fifth batch of incubation program in Tel Aviv, Israel. They also attended last year’s Slush preliminary competition in Tokyo.

See also:

Here is a quick rundown of the pitch competition.

  • Yocondo
    Yocondo is a semantic product search engine that helps users find products when they do not quite know what they are looking for. For instance, a user can find a product by entering a phrase like “gift for girlfriend.”
  • Navvi (a project by Rosette Research)
    Navvi is a navigation platform for those who can read maps. Instead of presenting a map image, this app guides users by showing arrow signs in 3D over an actual image through a smartphone camera so that a user will be able to reach their destination without getting lost.
  • Anicool
    Anicool is an anime production-focused crowdfunding platform. It is available in Japanese, Chinese, English, French, and Korean. Campaign backers can watch outcomes from their supporting projects via DVD or online. Anipipo is a competitor.
  • Mobingi
    Mobingi is an automated cloud environment set-up tool that allows users to create and launch a server instance on Amazon Web Services with just three mouse clicks.
  • Matcha Latte Media
    Matcha Latte Media delivers Japanese culture to global consumers. As the first of these efforts, this startup launched an e-commerce marketplace called Yunomi.us that gives the global tea market access to Japanese tea producers and farmers.
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(photo courtesy: Boris Friedrich Milkowski, Goodpatch)

Finland’s Startup Sauna coming to Tokyo, brings opportunity for local entrepreneurs

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Startup Sauna is a startup accelerator from Helsinki Finland, now touring 25 cities around the world, with an upcoming stop here in Tokyo on September 17th at Open Network Lab. The event will feature a panel including Taizo Son, the CEO of Movida Japan and founder/chairman of GungHo ; Peter Vesterbacka, the chief marketing officer of Rovio ; Hironao Kunimitsu, the founder and CEO of Gumi, and Naoki Aoyagi, the CEO of GREE International. But many of our readers will be pleased to hear that there will be a pitch event as well, with the winner receiving an invitations as well as free airfare (courtesy of the event sponsor Finnair) to attend Slush 2013 in November in Helsinki. That two-day event is expected to host 1,000 startups 5,000 attendees, and more than 600 international investors. So it certainly looks like a great opportunity. Miki Kuusi, the director of Startup Sauna, noted in the event announcement: Our two countries [Japan and Finland] have always had a lot in common. We share strong educational institutions that produce leading technical talent, a culture that has yet to warm to neither entrepreneurship nor failure, plus economies that must lessen their dependency on established electronics…

Startup Sauna is a startup accelerator from Helsinki Finland, now touring 25 cities around the world, with an upcoming stop here in Tokyo on September 17th at Open Network Lab.

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The event will feature a panel including Taizo Son, the CEO of Movida Japan and founder/chairman of GungHo ; Peter Vesterbacka, the chief marketing officer of Rovio ; Hironao Kunimitsu, the founder and CEO of Gumi, and Naoki Aoyagi, the CEO of GREE International. But many of our readers will be pleased to hear that there will be a pitch event as well, with the winner receiving an invitations as well as free airfare (courtesy of the event sponsor Finnair) to attend Slush 2013 in November in Helsinki. That two-day event is expected to host 1,000 startups 5,000 attendees, and more than 600 international investors. So it certainly looks like a great opportunity.

Miki Kuusi, the director of Startup Sauna, noted in the event announcement:

Our two countries [Japan and Finland] have always had a lot in common. We share strong educational institutions that produce leading technical talent, a culture that has yet to warm to neither entrepreneurship nor failure, plus economies that must lessen their dependency on established electronics industries and seize huge opportunities in fast-moving companies.

If you’d like to apply to pitch at the event, you can do so here. The last day to apply is September 13th. Good luck!

Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen visited Startup Sauna's entrepreneurial co-working space
Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen visited Startup Sauna’s entrepreneurial co-working space