Generating Innovation with Japan Series in Kitchener-Waterloo


Generating Innovation with Japan: Kitchener-Waterloo 2018

Unique Opportunity for Ontario 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 JETRO / Communitech event will provide a unique opportunity for start-ups in the GTA 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, JETRO and Communitech aims to generate new innovation through partnerships between leading Japanese firms and innovative Canadian start-ups.


Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)

Supporting Organizations:

Trade Commissioner Service
National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
Gowling WLG


December 10th, 2018

(2:30 pm: Registration)
3:00 pm-4:00 pm: Japanese Company Reverse-pitches
4:00 pm-5:30 pm: Networking Reception



The Tannery, Charles Xavier Room (2nd Floor) - Registration at main reception on ground floor.

151 Charles St W #100, Kitchener, ON  N2G 1H6


Directions Map
Parking Area Map
Floor Map


2:30 pm:                               Registration

3:00 – 4:00 pm:                    Reverse-Pitch Event

Opening / Welcome Remarks:

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 ready 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 empower every workforce to make better decisions.

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
- collision avoidance and route optimization in Maritime and Rail Systems management
- maintenance scheduling and advanced fleet management for shared vehicles
- optimization of vehicle pick-up and drop-off locations
- dynamic pricing to best determine price for each ride
- customer-ride allocation and routing based on traffic flow predictions
- future of AI in Finance, what is being done and what is possible

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:

4:30 pm-5:30 pm:                    Networking Reception
Supported by Gowling WLG

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


Registration Deadline:
December 7th, 2018  (Closed)

Any questions or concerns: