See the original story in Japanese.
Japanese railway company Tokyu (TSE:9005) held a Demo Day of its startups accelerator Tokyu Accelerator Program 3rd batch in October in Tokyo. In this finals pitch, six teams as finalists plus six teams selected as excellent services gave Lightning Talks.
Tokyu Accelerator Program has a feature of giving opportunities for test marketing to participant startups by utilizing Tokyu Group’s resources. Last year’s 2nd batch was managed by Tokyu, Spiral Ventures (ex. IMJ Investment Partners), Connected Design and Tokyo Agency, and from this batch, Tokyu Media Communications, Tokyu Recreation, Tokyu Sports System plus Tokyu Research Institute had newly joined the management.
The program collected participants in 10 areas: transportation / urban development / lifestyle and service / advertisement and promotion / IoT (Internet of Things) smart home / inbound travel / entertainment / sports / healthcare / direct marketing. 28 teams had passed through interview process from among 138 applicants, and six teams remained as finalists.
The six finalists had taken part in the program over five months from the kick-off of 3rd batch this April until this day. They will spend all of 2017 for brush up of their services, in order to commence full-scale marketing from January of 2018 with Tokyu Group’s support.
In the event, all teams were examined by four items of novelty / affinity / potential growth / feasibility. The reviewers were as follows:
- Toshihisa Adachi (Special Advisor, Japan Venture Capital Association)
- Yuma Saito (General Manager, Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support)
- Yuji Horiguchi (CEO / Partner, Spiral Ventures)
- Toshiyuki Ichiki (Managing Director / Manager of Lifestyle and Service Business, Tokyu)
- Isao Watanabe (Senior Managing Director, Tokyu) – chief reviewer
Tokyu Award: WAmazing by WAmazing
Prize money: 1.09 million yen (about $9,600)
WAmazing is an information portal for foreign visitors to Japan through use of free SIM cards. The team had won B Dash Camp 2017 Spring in Fukuoka.
WAmazing has so far set up vending machines to provide free SIM cards at Narita International Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport and Kansai Airport, and will next month add Sendai International Airport to where their operation is entrusted to Tokyu Group. The team regards Hong Kong and Taiwan as its first targeting market to reach and also plans to advance into mainland China next year. The number of installed SIM cards exceeded 50,000 as of this October and is expected to surpass 150,000 by next March.
The team defines Tokyu’s commutation ticket users as “railway customers” being involved in transportation / shopping / residence along Tokyu railway, and said it aims to turn visitors to Japan using WAmazing SIM card into new railway customers through cooperation with Tokyu Group.
- WAmazing, offering free SIM cards for foreign visitors to Japan, secures $9.2 million
- This startup offers free SIM cards at airport to help foreign visitors get around Japan
Shibuya Award: Minchalle by A10lab
Prize money: 428,000 yen (about $3,800)
A10 Lab provides an app Minchalle that motivates those who are prone to drop out from various activities. The app allows users to anonymously cheer up each others with the same challenges to improve themselves such as diet, rising early or training muscles. It encourages them to become habituated with team chat and photo sharing which certifies achievement of their goals.
The mean success rate of habituation with Minchalle is 69% which is eight times higher than the one by single challenge, and the app shows a high continuous use ratio at 46% a half year after the date of starting use. The team monetizes the app by B2B (business-to-business), charging for advertisement or official habituation support, and B2C (business-to-customer) charging for additional / premium functions.
The team had been born out from Sony’s Seed Acceleration Program and fundraised 66 million yen (about $580,000) from Sony, Dai-ichi Kangyo Credit Cooperative, Future Venture Capital, Globe Advisors and Yukihiro Yoshida in its seed round. It was chosen to the acceleration program of Aoyama Startup Acceleration Center (ASAC) 4th batch and the Nomura Holdings’ accelerator program Voyager 1st batch, in addition to Incubate Camp 10th.
NewWork Award: Player! by ookami
Supplemental prize: use rights of the Tokyu’s shared office network NewWork for four members
Ookami provides a sports social app Player! enabling more entertaining sports game watching utilizing online community. It is specified as a stealth matter so that the details of its service revealed in the Demo Day cannot be disclosed in this article.
- Japan’s Ookami, offering social network app for sports fans, secures series A round
- Japan’s Ookami behind sports live app Player! raises seed round from Gree Ventures
NewWork Award: Ecbo Cloak by Ecbo
Supplemental prize: use rights of the Tokyu’s share office network NewWork for four members
Ecbo had not participated in the 3rd batch but gave a Lightning Talk. The details of its service are omitted here.
Silent Log Analytics by Rei Frontier
Rei Frontier provides a marketing service called Silent Log Analytics enabling a new type of activity analysis by analyzing customers’ location information with artificial intelligence (AI). Companies want to know about customers and customers want companies to make optimized proposal for each, but in reality, sometimes the problem occurs where products that were purchased offline are recommended online.
To solve this, Silent Log Analytics acquires 37,000 users’ activity data per day, obtaining their consent. Using smartphone-mounted GPS and sensors, it determines users’ condition or social attribute. Rei Frontier gathers information and owns the accumulated knowledge that only requires 3% power consumption. The team aims to optimize recommendation or customer notification by not sending entertainment information during work or not sending business information after work.
Through cooperation with Tokyu Card, the team proposed an analysis system for relationship between users’ activity and credit card use history by providing its auto-diary function. It also said it can notify the condition of each user’s destination in advance based on location and activity information, and can promote the optimized activity. With Tokyu Bus, the team showed a plan of promotion / effect measurement for Bus-mo! (free ride campaign of Tokyu Bus) users having similar background by jointly analyzing the users’ activity.
Futakotamagawa Award: Full Dive Novel by My Dearest
Prize money: 250,000 yen (about $2,500)
Full Dive Novel provides a virtual experience of becoming a hero of the story to users who read novels in virtual reality (VR) space. My Dearest has an advantage of making story nature-rich VR contents such as novels or videos by gathering editors and creators, while many of the VR content include games lacking good yarns. The team takes on creation / sales of its own content at first, and aims to make a universal developer kit enabling users to create VR content themselves and construct a platform capable of trading content in the future.
In Japan, with the low penetration rate of VR hardware, My Dearest proposed an expansion of location VR through cooperation with Tokyu Recreation. It emphasized the provision of location VR especially for nerdettes, and will consider optimized content / use time for females through test-marketing at 109 Cinemas in Tokyo. In addition, the team implied a possibility of making VR content featuring areas around Tokyu railway lines.
Switch Office by Hitokara Media
Hitokara Media provides an office relocation support Switch Office that matches persons moving into / out of fully-furnished offices. With this platform, users can drastically reduce restitution cost / interior arrangement costs during office relocation. Company users who want to move out leaving all furnishings behind may apply for Switch Office with the current offices’ information while company users who want to move in are examined and will be allowed to check / inquire / view privately the office.
As for cooperation with Tokyu, Hitokara Media proposes a realization of closer environment for offices and residences. If offices could be established in urban residential areas such as Sangenjaya or Musashi Kosugi, various merits would be generated for companies, employees and Tokyu’s rail operations. The team exhibited office leasing plans utilizing real estate asset along Tokyu railway lines combining Hitokara Media’s office production know-how targeting startups, for example, by leasing a station-front property near academic institutions, availing an office environment where companies can easily attract interns and part-timers may be expected.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy