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JETRO promoted “Investment in Japan” activities and Japanese startups’ overseas expansion at Startupnight 2018 in Berlin


On September 7, the startup network event "Startupnight 2018" was held by Deutsche Telekom AG in Berlin, Germany. Japan was selected as a partner country this year, and at the event’s main venue JETRO organized a partner country stage under the theme "Why Japan Matters for Startups" in order to facilitate investment into Japan as well as assist Japanese startups in expanding business overseas.

Toward creating innovation under collaboration between Germany and Japan

The opening session included a panel discussion between Takeshi Yagi, Ambassador of Japan to Germany; Dorothee Bär, Federal Government Commissioner for Digital Affairs and Minister of State; and representatives from Deutsche Telekom AG, E.ON and Investitionsbank Berlin. Ambassador Yagi emphasized that the existence of startups which create innovation is important to realize Society 5.0, and in this light enhancement of ecosystems in both countries through two-way business development brought about by overseas expansion of Japanese startups and expansion to Japan by German startups is necessary. Commissioner Bär stressed the importance of creating open innovation involving three sides: large companies, startups and Mittelstand (small to medium-sized enterprises) unique to Germany. Other panelists also expressed an enthusiastic stance toward assisting startups from their individual perspectives within the private and public sectors.

At the partner country stage, General Director Hitoshi Masuda of JETRO Berlin made opening remarks, and short pitches were delivered by Japanese startups that participated locally in the JETRO Innovation Program to introduce technologies and ideas in which Japan excels. Representing Japanese startups involved in artificial intelligence (AI), Michiko Kato, Head of the CEO Office of ABEJA, illustrated the company’s own AI platform uniquely developed to contribute to improving the efficiency of retail and manufacturing industries, and then highlighted the potential for business collaboration between Japanese startups and European companies. A staff member from the JETRO Invest Japan Department, Kaede Okawara, explained JETRO's services to support overseas companies, including startups, in doing business in Japan.


Setting up Japan Pavilion

At the Japan Pavilion set up within the venue, the six Japanese startups which presented on the partner country stage and JETRO exhibited booths where they welcomed an unbroken flow of visitors from beginning to end. At the startup booths, business talks with local companies with interest in technologies and business models possessed by Japanese startups were held. At JETRO's consultation desk for FDI into Japan, staff members handled inquiries from local companies interested in collaborating with Japanese companies and considering expanding business in Japan.

Startupnight 2018 was a large-scale event joined by startups, large corporations and investors from Germany and the rest of Europe. It was preceded by several pre-events held within Germany to select its 250 participant startups who would go on to set up booths and engage in exchange with visitors. In addition to Deutsche Telekom AG, which organized various events including the opening session and the partner country stage for Startupnight 2018, Volkswagen Group, Commerzbank and Microsoft also concurrently organized related events by industry at three other locations in Berlin.

Japan Pavilion with full of visitors

Outline of partner country stage in Startupnight 2018

Date and time Friday, September 7, from 17:15 to 19:00
(Opening session: 17:15 - 18:00; partner country stage: 18:00 - 19:00)
Venue Headquarters of Deutsche Telekom in Berlin
Organizer Deutsche Telekom AG
Co-organizers and supporters Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Embassy of Japan in Germany, Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, Volkswagen Group, E.ON, Investitionsbank Berlin,  Technology Review
Visitors Approx. 100 (people who visited the partner country stage)
  1. Opening session
    Moderator: Cem Ergün-Müller, Founder of Startupnight 2018
    1. Takeshi Yagi, Ambassador of Japan to Germany
    2. Dorothee Bär, Federal Government Commissioner for Digital Affairs, Minister of State
    3. Dirk Wössner, CEO Telekom Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom AG
    4. Victoria Ossadnik, CEO E.ON Energie Deutschland
    5. Matthias von-Bismarck-Osten, General Representative of Investitionsbank Berlin
  2. Partner Country Stage: Why Japan Matters for Startups
    Opening remarks
    Hitoshi Masuda, General Director, JETRO Berlin: "Toward Creating Innovation Under Collaboration between Germany and Japan"
  3. Presentations by Japanese startups
    1. Naoji Taniguchi, Co-Founder CEO/CTO, HoloEyes Inc.
    2. Masatoshi Taketani, Managing Director, Sensor Code Development Association
    3. Yoshihiro Ohtani, CEO, DENDAMA Inc.
    4. Ken Taoka, COO/Co-Founder, Sales/Marketing Director, WELCON Inc.
    5. Kenshi Tamura, President and CEO, Rei-Frontier Inc.
    6. Hiroumi Mitani, CEO & Founder, FutuRocket Co.
  4. Speech by representative of startup active in Japan's AI field
    Michiko Kato, Head of CEO office, ABEJA Inc.: "Innovation Japan, Japanese AI Platform Technology"
  5. JETRO's support program for investment in Japan
    Kaede Okawara, Invest Japan Department, JETRO
  6. Japan Pavilion
    Institutes with booths at the pavilion: HoloEyes, Printable Sensor Code Development Association, Dendama, Welcon, Rei Frontier, FutuRocket and JETRO