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JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

Key Players in Japanese Innovation Ecosystem

Listed by for Startups, Inc. under the commission by JETRO

FUNDING

Provide financial support to startup companies.
Venture capitals are the main players that invest in unlisted companies with high growth potential. Recently, large corporates have started venture investment to seek the possibility of new businesses. And government agencies have also formed large funds to create new industries in Japan. Additionally, there are various actors in the venture capital field such as financial companies, universities etc.
Moreover, the number of accelerators is increasing. They support startups to grow by providing consultation, mentoring etc. Also, financial support for various stage of startups become available these days.

Name of the companies/organizations Detailed Category URL
Plug and Play Japan Accelerator http://japan.plugandplaytechcenter.com/External site: a new window will open
Mistletoe Japan, Inc. Accelerator http://mistletoe.co/en/index.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
DEEPCORE.Inc Accelerator https://deepcore.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. Accelerator https://global.lne.st/External site: a new window will open
GLOBIS CAPITAL PARTNERS & Co. Venture Capital Firm https://www.globiscapital.co.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
WORLD INNOVATION LAB(WIL,LLC) Venture Capital Firm https://wilab.com/External site: a new window will open
DCM Venture Capital Firm https://www.dcm.com/enExternal site: a new window will open
ITOCHU Technology Ventures ,Inc Venture Capital Firm https://www.techv.co.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Co., Ltd.(UTEC) University Venture Capital Firm https://www.ut-ec.co.jp/english/External site: a new window will open
Kyoto University Innovation Capital Co., Ltd.(KYOTO-iCAP) University Venture Capital Firm https://www.kyoto-unicap.co.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
Keio Innovation Initiative, Inc.(KII) University Venture Capital Firm https://www.keio-innovation.co.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., Ltd. Venture Capital Firm owned by Financial Firm https://www.mucap.co.jp/english/External site: a new window will open
Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd. Venture Capital Firm owned by Financial Firm https://www.mizuho-vc.co.jp/english_info/index.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
Japan Investment Corporation(JIC) Government Related Venture Capital Firm owned https://www.j-ic.co.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
KDDI CORPORATION Corporate Venture Capital https://www.kddi.com/english/ventures/koif/External site: a new window will open
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. Corporate Venture Capital https://www.31ventures.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Inc Corporate Venture Capital https://www.nttdocomo-v.com/en/External site: a new window will open
LINE Ventures Corporation Corporate Venture Capital https://lineventurescorp.com/en/External site: a new window will open
Dentsu Ventures Global Fund Corporate Venture Capital http://dentsu-v.com/en/External site: a new window will open
Sony Innovation Fund Corporate Venture Capital http://www.sonyinnovationfund.com/External site: a new window will open
Recruit Strategic Partners Inc Corporate Venture Capital https://recruitstrategicpartners.com/External site: a new window will open

ACADEMIA

Public research institutes are important actors in the innovation ecosystem; there are many research institutes in Japan that aim to explore research in various fields and explore their potential for social implementation. There are various research laboratories, varying in areas such as research fields and the entity that established them, which are expected to be important starting points for technological innovation discovery in Japan.
The number of university-launched startups has been increasing in recent years, and according to the “FY 2018 Industrial Technology Survey (FY 2018 Survey on University-Oriented Venture Businesses)” published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, it has been increasing continuously since 2014, with 2,278 companies announced in FY 2018. Efforts to strengthen the ecosystem for social implementation of research technology, such as the establishment of venture funds for startups from universities and the incorporation of management personnel from organizations other than research institutes, are increasing. 

Name of the companies/organizations Detailed Category URL
The University of Tokyo University https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/index.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
KYOTO University University https://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
TOHOKU University University https://www.tohoku.ac.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
OSAKA UNIVERSITY University https://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/enExternal site: a new window will open
HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY University https://www.global.hokudai.ac.jp/External site: a new window will open
KYUSHU UNIVERSITY University https://www.kyushu-u.ac.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
NAGOYA UNIVERSITY University http://en.nagoya-u.ac.jp/External site: a new window will open
University of Tsukuba University http://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/english/External site: a new window will open
Tokyo Institute of Technology University https://www.titech.ac.jp/english/External site: a new window will open
Keio University University https://www.keio.ac.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) Rsearch Institute https://www.nict.go.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Rsearch Institute http://www.jamstec.go.jp/e/External site: a new window will open
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Rsearch Institute https://global.jaxa.jp/External site: a new window will open
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Rsearch Institute https://www.aist.go.jp/index_en.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
RIKEN Rsearch Institute https://www.riken.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) Rsearch Institute https://www.nims.go.jp/eng/index.htmlExternal site: a new window will open

MEDIA

It is very important for startups to work with the media in their hiring and marketing strategies. In the past few years in Japan, startups have attracted a lot of attention, and startups and new technologies are increasingly being featured in mass media such as television, newspapers, radios, magazines, and online media. Media coverage is important for startups because it leads to attention from the potential business partners, investors, new employees and so on. Hence, media has a big impact on growth of the startups.
Recently, lots of media has started working together with venture capitals and universities to cultivate high-potential news sources.

Name of the companies/organizations Detailed Category URL
TechCunch Japan (Verizon Media Japan KK) Media https://jp.techcrunch.com/External site: a new window will open
BRIDGE (PR TIMES, Inc.) Media https://thebridge.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
36Kr Japan KrASIA Media https://36kr.co.jp/External site: a new window will open
https://kr-asia.com/External site: a new window will open

GOVERNMENT

Lately in Japan, there has been a movement to increase support to startup in countrywide. With the movement of each Ministry and Agency, the government is aiming for dynamic development through comprehensive support measures such as deregulation and subsidies, in addition to matching with public organizations and overseas operators. Furthermore, local governments across Japan are also promoting their own initiatives, and each region is forming its own community.
In the creation of the startup city announced by the Cabinet Office, local governments, universities, and private organizations have been forming committees to strengthen the coordination of existing ecosystems, and thereby aim to create a larger ecosystem that transcends regions and organizations. In this way, by promoting policies and cooperation between the public and private sectors, they are trying to create and grow startups.

Name of the companies/organizations Detailed Category URL
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Government https://www.meti.go.jp/english/index.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Government https://www.jst.go.jp/EN/External site: a new window will open
Cabinet Office, Government of Japan Government https://www.cao.go.jp/index-e.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Government https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) Government https://www.nedo.go.jp/english/index.htmlExternal site: a new window will open
J-GoodTech (SME SUPPORT JAPAN) Government https://jgoodtech.jp/pub/en/External site: a new window will open
J-Startup (METI, JETRO, NEDO) Government https://www.j-startup.go.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
X-HUB TOKYO (Tokyo Metropolitan Government) municipality https://x-hub.tokyo/en/External site: a new window will open
Osaka Innovation Hub (Osaka City) municipality https://www.innovation-osaka.jp/External site: a new window will open
FUKUOKA GROWTH NEXT (Fukuoka City) municipality https://growth-next.com/en/aboutExternal site: a new window will open
INVEST IN KOBE (Kobe City) municipality https://global.kobe-investment.jp/english/External site: a new window will open

EXPERT

Startups is facing various challenges during each growth phase. There are lots of service providers who support startups from outside, and they are also one of the important players for building innovation ecosystem. Specialized players in various areas, such as human resources, technical assistance, legal and accounting, are existing.
Generally, those experts’ supports require fees, and they are sometimes expensive for startups especially in their early stage. However, the increase of funding received by Japanese startups enabled them to receive those professional support these days.

Name of the companies/organizations Detailed Category URL
AZX Corporation Legal / Acounting https://www.azx.co.jp/english/External site: a new window will open
GVA LAW OFFICE Legal / Acounting https://gvalaw.jp/en/External site: a new window will open
Takram Design https://www.takram.com/External site: a new window will open

BUSINESS MATCHING

There are various places to create encounters of the stake holder in the innovation ecosystem. These include real-world communities, such as conferences and closed events. Also, a lot of online services to provide information regarding potential partners are available.
There is a type of communities created by venture capitals. On the other hand, there are companies and organizations who are developing the communities as their main businesses. Some of those events and services are open to foreign companies’ participation. The globalization of those communities are in progress.

Name of the companies/organizations Detailed Category URL
CREWW INC Accelerator https://en.creww.in/External site: a new window will open
Venture Café Tokyo Event・Community https://venturecafetokyo.org/en/External site: a new window will open
EDGEof, Inc. Event・Community https://edgeof.co/en/External site: a new window will open
Infinity Ventures Summit (Infinity Ventures) Event・Community https://www.infinityventures.com/?lang=enExternal site: a new window will open
B Dash Camp (B Dash Ventures Inc) Event・Community http://www.bdashventures.com/en/External site: a new window will open
Innovation Leaders Summit (Project Nippon Co,LTD) Event・Community https://ils.tokyo/External site: a new window will open
CEATEC Event・Community https://www.ceatec.com/en/application/External site: a new window will open
BARKATION (BARK K.K.) Event・Community https://joinbark.org/External site: a new window will open
STARTUP DB (for Startups, inc) STARTUP FINDER https://startup-db.com/en/External site: a new window will open

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