Introducing Kansai startups to the World- Welcoming Singaporean Investors in Kyoto

Marie-Eve Menger
Oct 17, 2017 · 5 min read

Kyoto- based Makers Boot Camp is Japan’s leading Hardware supporter— and working on building a Monozukuri community of Makers in Japan. Makers Boot Camp has been organizing Monozukuri themed events, such as the series of Monozukuri Hub meetups .

As part of bringing Monozukuri to the world, Makers Boot Camp hosts meetups and matching events for missions and delegations from all over the world. In the local community, Makers Boot Camp has opened Kyoto Makers Garage (KMG) - a space for makers (including a range of tools from 3D Printer, CNC and Laser Cutter). Our events at this new space bring together this global mindset combined with the local spirit.

Our CEO Makino Narimasa welcomes SPRING Singaporean mission Investors to Kyoto. Photo by Tugi Günes

On October 13th, Makers Boot Camp hosted a half-day event for a delegation of investors of 15 Singaporean Investment Funds, Accelerators and (University) Incubators, led by SPRING, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and building trust in Singapore products and services. As the enterprise development agency, SPRING works with partners to help enterprises in financing, capability and management development, technology and innovation, and access to markets.

The morning had a full schedule introducing the delegation to Makers Boot Camp and the Monozukuri Ecosystem in Kansai. The main part, however, was a brief introduction of each attendee with a startup pitch session followed by a matchmaking session with the selected local startups.

In line with the wishes of the delegation, the startups were chosen to represent different types of IoT technology as well as different stages of product development, from “well-seasoned” serial entrepreneurs to first time makers with basic working prototypes.

The startups had all prepared a pitch presentation along with bringing and showcasing their products and prototypes to the delegation.

Pitches and Matchmaking Session

Andeco CEO Yoshiaki Hayakawa was brave enough to start off the pitch round. The Osaka- based startup develops a broad range of mobility solutions for smart cities, for example smart carts connected to portable electricity/water supply chargers.

Andeco CEO Yoshiaki Hayakawa in a B2B matchmaking session. Photo by Tugi Günes

Hideaki Iio of CABOT started with a simple question: “Have you ever jammed with a robot?” — got out his guitar and jammed with the prototype of his drumming robot. We were stunned- if you want to see it, you can watch it here!

Takahito Iguchi is a star among Japanese entrepreneurs, having raised more than US$ 20M in Silicon Valley, and featured at TechCrunch 50 following successfully disrupting the scene with augmented reality app Sekai Camera. He presented his latest venture Doki Doki that is building a social network based on speech and people instantly understanding each other.

Kyoto VR takes visitors through a VR journey of Gion Matsuri, Kyoto most famous festival. Photo by Tugi Günes

Atticus Sims from Kyoto VR took the investors on a virtual tour through Kyoto — they are working on a smart city XR (VR/AR) virtual tourism experience, starting from Kyoto to the world. They are a notable example for an international startup choosing Kyoto as their home to develop and connect to the local ecosystem. They work closely with Kyoto city and the Tourism agency to develop and improve their content.

Last but not least, PLEN Robotics introduced their IoT innovation- a colorful cubic mini personal robot assistant integrated to many platforms. PLEN Cube is a portable robot that can consolidate various devices and web services, making them simpler to use and automate; capture moments with a smart camera and fits in the palm of every hand. With their development, PLEN Robotics has launched successful campaigns on Kickstarter and Makuake.

PLEN Robotics showing their product to investors. Photo by Tugi Günes

After the short and interesting pitch presentations, the main part of the event, the matchmaking / speed dating sessions started. Each investor had given their choice of startups at the start of the event and there were four lively rounds of 10 minutes of talks each. As the interest to meet the startups was high, investors even teamed up so everyone had the chance to speak to all startups.

Discussions got so engaged that the bell for the next round needed to be rung a few times! But it showed the good energy going in the meetings and networking around it.

Networking lunch — Sushi time!

Best time of the day. Photo by Tugi Günes

The team in the background had meanwhile prepared a huge sushi lunch, so the last part of the morning- the free networking, was actually a “network lunch” where the guests could sample a wide range of sushi and other Japanese delicacies. During the networking, the delegation participants also had the chance to meet important local Monozukuri stakeholders from Kyoto City — ASTEM as well as Osaka-based Venture Capital SunBridge.

Time to wrap up and get all contacts. Photo by Tugi Günes

After lunch, the delegation left Kyoto Makers Space to their next stops. Everyone, from the delegation, to the startups to the Makers Boot Camp was happy to have attended a true startup event — dynamic, lively, flexible and most of all delivering the contacts, conversations and meetings that the delegation and startups had come for.

Thank you and see you next time at Makers Boot Camp events at Kyoto Makers Garage!

Makers Boot Camp

Marie-Eve Menger

Written by

German born, Berlin based after 2 years working in Tokyo Startup Ecosystem. Curious traveler, coffee enthusiast and always open to learn

Makers Boot Camp

A global VC focused on IoT startup investment. Support to hardware growth from business model to supply chain. #NYC #PGH #JP #ARINTech #EASEL @atmoph @cleanrobotics @bonbouton @bostonbiomotion @hoplitepower @kakaxi_usa @nonewfolk @veldtinc @smartshopping @teplobottle

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