JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

”Aim for the World with Deep Tech – No. 2” Recap: an event to bring dynamic progress to the startup ecosystem

(Japan, France)
October 18,2022

*This article was originally published in Japanese. All information in this article is as of September 16, 2022..

Hello Tomorrow Japan and JETRO held the “Aim for the World with Deep Tech – No. 2” seminar on August 31st as a hybrid of live and online attendance. This event encouraged Japanese deep tech startups to expand their business beyond Japan and followed the first Vol. 1 event on June 2nd (see article dated June 15th, 2022). Deep tech refers to technologies researched and developed at universities, research institutions, companies and other organizations that are being used to dramatically change our lifestyles or help solve major societal issues.

This second event included a lecture by European corporate VCs about investing in startups, as well as a panel discussion featuring Japanese venture capitals and Japanese startups. The event served as an opportunity for participants to share their knowledge and experience from various standpoints about Japanese startups expanding to a global level, and investing in startups.

Scene from the event (Photo credit: JETRO)

Scene from the event (Photo credit: JETRO)

Expectations of Japan’s startup ecosystem from European corporate VCs

Keynote lectures were given by Matthieu Repellin of Airbus VenturesExternal site: a new window will open. in the US (a subsidiary of Airbus in Europe) and Nicholas Billotti of Shibumi InternationalExternal site: a new window will open. (a venture capital vehicle of Turkish construction company Gulermak). Mr. Repellin stated that he is interested in Japan’s startups because they are equipped with all of the important required criteria. This includes a sizeable domestic market starting to establish its presence as a technology hub and a culture rooted in forming long-term partnerships, making Japan an ideal place when thinking about making investments.

Meanwhile, Mr. Billotti said that what he looks for in a startup is whether the company possesses solutions to specific issues and whether the startup has value making it worth the investment. In addition, he expressed his enthusiasm for getting into talks with Japanese startups and indicated his anticipation toward investing in Japan’s technologies.

Startups, investors, and major companies collaborate as they aim for the world

A panel discussion was held in which Japanese VCs and Japanese startups shared their perspectives. Panelists from Japanese VCs were Takeshi Kanamori and Yuta Sanada from DG Daiwa VenturesExternal site: a new window will open. (in Japanese) and Katsuya Hashizume from Beyond Next Ventures.External site: a new window will open.Speaking about the right timing for startups to expand their business overseas, they all pointed out the importance of actively going overseas before their technology becomes obsolete. There will always be many competitors wherever attractive technologies are found. Considering whether to invest in a startup, they ask several questions. Can the startup provide an intrinsic solution to a problem in the world? Does the business affect social issues by having a significant impact? Finally, are the entrepreneurs themselves passionate about wanting to make the world a better place?

The panelists for the Japanese startups were Koichi Nakamura from IdeinExternal site: a new window will open. and Masato Fujino from Fairy Devices.External site: a new window will open. Both spoke about the characteristics commonly shared by major companies that succeed in conducting open innovations with startups. These characteristics are not only their ability to discover external technologies, but also their determination to see the innovation through to the end. Having the seriousness and persistence to create buy-in within their company is crucial, rather than just handing the work over to a business department. Panelists also talked about how IP is extremely important for deep tech companies and how large corporations and startups can maintain good relationships. They advised working on equal footing with startups in conducting joint research and developments, plus that IP owned on each side is delineated appropriately.

Panel discussion by Japanese VCs and Japanese startups (photographed by JETRO)

Panel discussion by Japanese VCs and Japanese startups (photographed by JETRO)

Opportunities to expand abroad are many, especially at the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge

Lois Pataan of Hello TomorrowExternal site: a new window will open. (France), an organization that promotes deep tech research and business launches, explained their initiatives toward the development of deep tech. Hello Tomorrow is currently looking for promising startups that are still in the initial stages to participate in the Global Challenge.External site: a new window will open. The challenge is a preliminary round for the Hello Tomorrow Global SummitExternal site: a new window will open. contest that will be held in France in March 2023. Startups selected as finalists at the Global Challenge will have the opportunity to pitch their business at the Global Summit. The summit is a gathering place for various investors, accelerators, deep tech founders and specialists, providing an invaluable opportunity for participating startups to form networks with people from around the world.

Applications for the Global Challenge were accepted until September 23rd, 2022. Startups interested in having the opportunity to expand overseas should apply via the Global Challenge website.

Report by:
YAMAZAKI Yusuke, Innovation Promotion Department, JETRO

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