JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

The Hello Tomorrow Japan Challenge 2022 was held, reaching for the future with science-based startups

(Japan, France)
December 26,2022

*This article was originally published in Japanese. All information in this article is as of October 4, 2022.

The Japan Challenge, a pitch contest for Japanese deep tech startups hosted by Hello Tomorrow JapanExternal site: a new window will open., was held on September 13th in Tokyo. The 13 startups, the finalists that had won through the previous document screening, made pitches in English on the advantages of their unique technologies and business models.

The grand winner was Pale BlueExternal site: a new window will open., a space startup from the University of Tokyo. Pale Blue builds innovative space engines in an environment-friendly and sustainable manner for satellite engine technology. They use water, which is safe and non-toxic, as a propellant in place of high-pressure gas or other toxic fuels used for conventional satellite engines. As the winner of this contest, Pale Blue has qualified for the Global SummitExternal site: a new window will open., the Hello Tomorrow world competition to be held in March 2023 in France and received the air tickets to Paris, along with an invitation to the Investor Day, where investors will gather from around the world.

The event studio, with participants presenting online (photo taken by JETRO)

Pale Blue making a pitch (photo by JETRO)

AZUL Energy, developing alternative rare metal technology using low-priced carbon materials, and Braizon Therapeutics also qualified to participate in Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore on October 5th. Braizon Therapeutics has developed a platform using its technology to deliver drugs into the brain across the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Reflecting the growing attention on deep tech startups worldwide, more and more Japanese startups have been expanding business overseas. For this contest, in addition to startup pitches, experts in various fields, both in Japan and overseas, gave speeches on key points necessary for starting or expanding a business.
Ken Yasunaga, the co-founder of Global Hands-On VC, emphasized the importance of advancing overseas by saying, “with the low growth potential of Japanese markets, staying in Japan will make it difficult for you to raise your corporate valuation.”
Irfan Vissandjee of Blue Bear Ventures, a US deep tech-focused venture capital, said that an excellent scientist would become a good founder if equipped with leadership, tolerance, and coaching skills. He encouraged deep-tech startups with high growth potential to pioneer a future for all of society.
This year, JETRO participated as an ecosystem partner for Hello Tomorrow Japan. We will provide support for Japanese startups aiming to enter overseas markets, including the French market.

Report by:
KATO Yuka, RIM Yurie, Innovation Promotion Division, JETRO

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