New Year, New Challenge: 2018 resolutions from Young Entrepreneurs

Have you found your next personal challenge for 2018? Makers Boot Camp asked student entrepreneurs, prototype professionals and International startups to share their useful tips that will help you all year round!

As 2018 started, it is time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and create a work plan for the upcoming months. The previous year was very successful for Makers Boot Camp, with the launch of MBC Shisaku Fund, but there is always a room for improvements in every business.

Kyoto Makers Garage is ready for challenges! Photo: Tugi Günes
In 2018, we will continue to promote the importance of entrepreneurship among young makers as an alternative career choice. With dozens of prestigious universities and innovative research institutes, Kyoto is one of greatest places to combine study with outstanding business opportunities.

‘Helping students to pursue an entrepreneurial career will contribute to the Japanese startup scene’, says Narimasa Makino, CEO of Makers Boot Camp. Various approaches to encourage the youth towards action include an access to hardware tools, mentors’ advices and workshops. In his opening speech, Narimasa Makino welcomed students to take an advantage of free facilities of Kyoto Makers Garage. Since opening in September 2017, a coworking space previously used as a storehouse for dried seaweed quickly turned into a vibrant Brooklyn-like community area, which accommodates likeminded individuals.

Tomoya Yamashita, who works for Fuji Makers LTD, announced his 2018 challenge to join Monozukuri Club of Kyoto Shisaku Net. Kagawa-born Tomoya sees a key strategy for having success in following a passion for hardware and creating a new product.

Narimasa Makino, CEO at Darma Tech Labs Inc. and Makers Boot Camp. Photo: Tugi Günes

Startup Club to cultivate student Entrepreneurship

Ryota Nakahara and Shun Sakuma from Kyoto Institute of Technology are the representatives of a new generation that will boost Japanese economy. After a tour organized by Osaka Innovation Hub two years ago to the Sillicon Valley, they teamed up with other students in order to create a Startup Club and cultivate startup business ideas. An initiative proved to be successful as members came up with a few innovative concepts: AgriKeeper, a reasonable and safe repellant to save farmers from deer invasion, a smell-measuring device for toilet Untilet and ACBALL, an IoT ball for baseball players. Startup Club is aiming to bring value to the society through nurturing business ideas and actively advertising itself to university freshmen.

Young entrepreneurs from Kyoto Institute of Technology. Photo: Tugi Günes

If Your Battery Runs Out…

When setting up a startup, all the different hats are necessary to manage your business wisely. CTO and Co-Founder Nikolas Schreiber, New York-based Hoplite Power, who’s developing a charge-sharing network for smartphone charging on the go, stresses the importance of combining entrepreneurship and technical skills.

Hoplite Power Co-Founder & CTO Nikolas Schreiber interviewed by Tugi Günes, Storyteller at Sunbridge.
Image credits: Sunbridge Habitat Update Plus (Kyoto Makers Garage)

Nikolas Schreiber: ‘You could have the best product in the world, but if it is not viable and you cannot sell it, it is useless. From the other hand, you could be the best salesperson in the world, but if you cannot execute your product, it is not going to work’.

Nikolas brought real time insights from NYC for hardware startups bootstrapping! Photo by Tugi Günes

Back in 2014, three co-founders designed and assembled a product from scratches at their Queens office to prove a viability of the product first. They built a rental battery device by method of bootstrapping, or starting a company with little capital, and quickly appeared on the investors’ radar. In 2017, Hoplite Power was boosted by MBC Shisaku Fund and announced plans to expand a business development in Japan. A new prototype will have a battery similar to the one you could buy, although with convenient access and a slim form. While there are similar products that have popped up in the last year, all parts together, the system will be unique in the way it can provide service to charge people’s phones.

There are 10 Hoplite Power hubs installed all over New York City. Photo: Tugi Günes

Here are some tips from Nikolas:

Build your team and resources. Recognize which sorts of talents and assets you have, what makes your team unique.

Recognize your core competencies. Think about what you can do by yourself and which help you can request from outside.

• Keep in mind that you should be prepared for variability and uncertainly.

• If you do not know, hire additional people or ask your community to support you.

Dig in, get dirty, and learn. Sometimes you need to go down to prove your market.

  • Keep an open mind. Chances are you might fail; in that case, move on or pivot

Get Back to Nature with Wooden IoT

As IoT technologies continue to evolve, so do materials and concepts. Kyoto-based company mui Lab develops wooden devices with built-in touch and wireless sensors that provides you with a weather forecast, incoming messages and other information found in the web. ‘Every time I asked my wife about the current weather, she looked down to her smartphone’, says mui creative designer Nobuyasu Hirobe. Willing to change a situation, he thought about new ways to access information and realised that a typical black display is not a good example of an interior design that attracts many consumers. That is how the idea of mui was born. Once you interact with a wooden panel, it creates a sense of harmony and balance — much more than just a piece of a smart furniture. With an office in Boston, mui is trying to export Japanese wooden-design to other global hubs where natural made products are also appreciated.

Nobuyasu Hirobe showcased mui panel to the largest electronic trade show:CES 2018. Photo: Tugi Günes

What about yourself? Share your resolutions for 2018 and embark on an entrepreneurship path not discovered yet!