The successful event was organized by forStartups Inc., bringing together thousands of entrepreneurial minds from all over the world connecting Startups, Venture Capitals, and Global Corporations.
Kicked off on January 20th, with the aim to raise awareness on the Japanese start-up ecosystem worldwide, the second edition of the FUSE Conference reported 3000 registrations, creating more than 8000 exchanges. The event brought together players from companies of all sizes and industries, governments, academia, and investors, who stimulated each other giving rise to insightful knowledge exchanges and promising collaborations, building bridges to the world: the Japanese startup ecosystem has never been more global than now.
At what is the largest gathering in the Japanese start-up world, the event not only reflected a growing interest in open innovation, but also reported a significant rise in women’s participation, and demonstrated a move away from the Silicon Valley-centered view of tech.
Held on the platform “Event Hub”, with free registration, and Japanese subtitles, top tier executives of the most successful businesses worldwide shared their advice with Japanese startups on raising funds from global VCs and discussed startup evaluation criteria and investment strategies.
Over the event, 130 speakers delivered 34 talks and among these, Techstars, BMW Group, Nordic Makers, Woven Planet Holdings, and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, were successfully hosted and moderated by Fariza Abidova, CEO and Co-Founder of Trusted Corporation — Japan-based start-up with the mission to help large companies and startups collaborate in cross border and cross-industry open innovation.
Here are the highlights from the sessions organized by Trusted Corporation: 1st session — Founders, funders and experts: Techstars and the latest developments in the global startup ecosystem
One of the largest pre-seed investors and accelerators in the world, Techstars has invested in and coached over 2700 companies everywhere around the world, from the US to Europe, to Asia.
With the remarkable participation of Maëlle Gavet (CEO of Techstars), David Cohen (Founder and Chairman of Techstars), and Brad Feld (Co-founder of Techstars and Managing Director at Foundry Group), who shared their backgrounds as entrepreneurs and the history behind the origin of Techstars, the session deep-dived into Techstars’ recent involvement with the Japanese startup ecosystem, not without mentioning the beauty of innovation and the philosophy around entrepreneurship.
The panelists also brought up the key aspects on how to further grow the Japanese startup ecosystem connecting it with global startups and talked about the most recent US and European trends.
Technology has enabled the ability for people to create companies anywhere with relatively little capital, therefore the opportunity to be an entrepreneur is now a global phenomenon -and a great part of it is due to the activity of organizations like Techstars, which support communities around the world with the philosophy of “giving first”, thus allowing the democratization of entrepreneurship.
In light of the unprecedented growth of the Japanese startup ecosystem during the last two or three years, Techstars’ expectations are high for the future of the startup ecosystem in Japan.
2nd session — Going Global: How to partner with global players and expand startup business internationally?
Japanese startups tend to limit themselves to the Japanese market first and consider going global only at a later stage. What is often overlooked is the opportunities that startups have in using the resources and know-how of large companies and co-create with them, thus accelerating innovation.
Responsible for the technology office of the BMW Group in Japan, Stefan Lutz explained their extensive activities and brought up the recent launch of the BMW startup garage in Japan, reason why one of the largest automotive companies as the BMW Group is increasingly connecting to the startup ecosystem in Japan and looking for interesting innovative startups to collaborate with in different fields. Finally, he also shared ways in which Japanese startups can partner with the BMW Group and co-create solutions.
On the other hand, Martin von Haller Grønbæk, co-Founder of Nordic Makers, explained their investment strategies in global tech startups and pitched for Japanese startups and investors to look into the Nordics, a natural home for open innovation and a highly business-friendly environment. This region in Northern Europe has experienced the rise of many unicorns, mainly in sectors such as GreenTech (an area in which there is a great amount of public funding), smart cities, health-tech, and gaming.
3rd session — Raising Money from Global Venture Capitals: Is your startup attractive?
Venture capital investment has been hitting records and experienced a huge explosion globally in the past couple of years also thanks to technology, AI, and meeting platforms, which have allowed investments to become more and more international.
This session, led by George Kellerman (Head of Investments & Acquisitions at Woven Planet and Managing Director at Woven Capital) and Erik Mostenicky (Vice President at FISV) focused on the latest trends in VCs’ investments and investment strategies, giving insights to Japanese startups on how to raise money from global VCs, along with asserting their considerable interest in targeting Japanese startups.
The discussion, moreover, brought to light the importance of human interaction when doing business. The real challenge does not lie in the research, in the modeling, and analysis: it’s in the human connection that companies make with the founder and their team.
Trusted Corporation, together with for Startups. Inc. and CIC Tokyo, continuously work to add value to the Japanese innovation ecosystem, by connecting global startup communities and contributing to the future.
Valeria Morone Head of Marketing and Communication @Trusted Corporation firstname.lastname@example.org