Generating Innovation with Japan Series in Vancouver


Generating Innovation with Japan: Vancouver 2019

Unique Opportunity for Start-ups to Meet Potential Japanese Partners

Major Japanese firms, from manufacturing to finance to services in a whole variety of sectors, are increasingly looking to identify new innovation from Canadian start-ups in order to improve their business practices and to introduce new ideas and technology into the Japanese market and to their network of global clients.

For Canadian start-ups, the Japanese market (GDP: US$4.9 trillion; Pop.: 120 million) can be daunting but potentially hugely rewarding. One of the best ways to enter that market is through partnering with Japanese firms.

This event will provide a unique opportunity for start-ups and major Japanese firms to connect and share information. Through reverse-pitch presentations, Japanese firms will explain about their technology needs and, during the networking session, start-ups can explain about their technology solutions.

Through this event, we aim to generate new innovation through partnerships between leading Japanese firms and innovative Canadian start-ups.


Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service
BC Government

Supporting Organizations:

National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
Innovate BC
BC Tech Association
Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster
Futurpreneur Canada
SFU VentureLab
Launch Academy


March 5th, 2019

(10:30 am: Registration)
11:00 am-12:10 pm: Japanese Company Reverse-pitches
12:10 pm-1:30 pm: Networking Reception


SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
580 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3
(enter via Seymour Street courtyard entrance)
Tel: 778-782-9579

Directions Map


10:30 am:                               Registration

11:00 am – 12:10 pm:            Reverse-Pitch Event

Opening / Welcome Remarks:
Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver

Japanese Company Reverse-Pitch Presentations:

SMBC (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) 

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is one of the largest commercial banks in Japan with over 500 branches and offices globally. The Corporate Advisory Division (CAD) at SMBC works with large Japanese corporations to address their strategic needs through offering investment opportunities, including M&A origination, JVs, and other business partnerships. The New York team is responsible for gathering value-add information on North American startups and private equity-backed companies and works as a counterpart to the 200+ advisory staff members in Tokyo and Osaka. CAD works with SMBC’s banking clients across all industries and assists North American companies in finding partners and investors in Japan as well as providing banking support for Japanese market entry.

JR-East (East Japan Railway Company) & JR-West (West Japan Railway Company)
East Japan Railway Company, known as JR-East, and West Japan Railway Company, known as JR-West, are major passenger railway companies in Japan and 2 of the 7 Japan Railways Group companies. JR-East and JR-West are highly interested in meeting innovative Canadian start-ups in the following IT-related fields:
- training or supplementary work utilizing IT such as AR/VR
- understanding customer and worker behavior
- admin work productivity
- analytical case studies combining diverse data
- interactive human interface
- digital marketing in the North America region
- activate communications in the workplace

JR-East and JR-West aim to enhance efficiencies internally as well as improve marketing and services to their customers.



Hike Ventures
Hike Ventures ( is a seed stage venture capital based in San Francisco and Tokyo. We are looking for founders who are applying ML/AI to solve big problems. We are industry agnostic, in the past, we have invested in startups in healthcare, legal, and fleet management spaces so far. We work with our portfolio founders to raise money from Silicon Valley and Tokyo. Also, we leverage our network with Japanese companies to help startups in any stage to go to the Japan market.

Mizuho Financial Group
Mizuho Financial Group is one of the world’s largest full-service financial conglomerates whose asset size nearly equals that of the two largest Canadian commercial banks combined. The Canada Branch is one of Mizuho’s 900 locations spread over 38 countries and supports not only Japanese companies in Canada but also various international corporations in the country. The Branch also focuses on providing potential alliance opportunities between Canadian companies and the bank’s clients especially in AI-related solutions.

Example of the AI solutions we are exploring include but are not limited to: image recognition for inspection in manufacturing, moving image monitoring for security, combinatorial optimization for portfolio management, and predictive analytics for potential delinquency.

Fujitsu is one of the world's largest IT services providers, offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services for customers in more than 100 countries. They have just established their AI headquarters in Vancouver. This small and agile team is seeking a chance to collaborate with startups to maximize value of innovation to solve the real issues around the globe. Leveraging their predictive technologies (including AI) and quantum-inspired prescriptive technologies (including optimization solver), Fujitsu will be the most reliable partner for customers to solve critical problems.
Fujitsu believes strong collaborative partnerships will be a key to success. Currently they seek partners to address the following issues.
- Automatic clustering and labelling of images by content
- Image capture solutions in the field of radiographic, ultrasonic, laser, etc.
- Collision avoidance and route optimization in Maritime and Rail Systems management
- Maintenance scheduling and advanced fleet management for shared vehicles

Furukawa Electric
Furukawa Electric Group started business in 1884, when its copper-smelting facility and wire manufacturing factory was established. Since then Furukawa Electric has become pioneers in the latest technologies by addressing diverse technological issues. Furukawa Electric has released products in a number of areas, including telecommunications, electronics, automobiles, and construction, with the three types of materials it works with at their core, namely, optics, plastics, and metals. Many of these products have attained the top global market share, and all of its products have contributed to society in numerous business areas.
Furukawa Electric has established Silicon Valley Innovation Laboratories in California in August, 2018. We are aiming at accelerating collaboration with startups and universities in North America in order to promote open innovation actively and to play a part in disruptive innovation.

JETRO Services and Support:
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a Japanese Government trade and investment promotion agency under Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) which provides free support for foreign companies to establish their presence in the Japanese market.

Closing Remarks:

 12:10 pm-1:30 pm:                    Networking Reception

This event is free of charge but pre-registration is mandatory.


Registration Deadline:
This event is now full.  To be added to a waiting list, please contact us at: