Central Japan Startup Ecosystem Holds "Diversifying the Value of Mobility: From Land to Sky" Media Event Highlighting How the Region of Central Japan is Active in the Homeland of Mobility 5.0

NAGOYA, Japan, Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Central Japan Startup Ecosystem held a media event under the theme, “Diversifying the Value of Mobility: From Land to Sky” at Nagoya Innovator’s Garage, a dynamic facility where entrepreneurs and enterprises come together to create new ideas, businesses and industries.

The event targeted overseas media and effectively introduced what the region of Central Japan is doing in the rapidly evolving field of mobility. The event not only highlighted Japanese startups, but also foreign/inbound startups that are seeking to expand into the Japanese market. This media event was an excellent opportunity for the foreign media to meet and conduct individual interviews with some of the most innovative entrepreneurs and startups in the region and to discuss the future of mobility.

Event Highlights

Shuichi Hirano from Jetro Nagoya (Director-General for Chubu, Chief Director) offered some opening remarks. This was followed by an overview of initiatives from the Central Japan Startup Ecosystem Consortium by Toshio Sumi (Director, Economic Affairs Bureau Startup Support Office, Innovation Department, Nagoya City Economic Affairs Bureau). He talked about Central Japan’s mission to bring the future of mobility to our doorsteps. The ecosystem provides an excellent environment for startups to achieve unicorn status. Central Japan is also focused on developing outstanding human resources for the next generation of students through ‘Tongali’, an entrepreneurial platform for Central Japan’s academic communities and serving 23 participating universities. As of 2022, 5,000 students have participated.

This was followed by a presentation by Masaaki Shibayama from the Aichi Prefectural Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry (Economic Industry Promotion Supervisor). He spoke about the Aichi Mobility Innovation Project, “Aichi Model 2030 Connecting Sky and Road” that aims to build a world-first mobility society where the sky, roads, people and things such as drones, flying cars, and autonomous vehicles intersect and are controlled simultaneously, with no boundaries in the movement of people and goods. 

As an example of a successful foreign startup expanding into the Japanese market, Vitaly Pentegov, CEO at UrbanChain Group, talked about why Central Japan is the ideal choice for inbound startups. Originating in Hong Kong, launched in the U.S, and recently expandeAd in Japan, UrbanChain specifically chose Central Japan because Nagoya is the center of the automobile industry. He said, “The right size and a deeply rooted culture surrounding mobility makes Central Japan the best place and the right market size to test our product.”

Finally, the presentation session concluded with an overview of entrepreneurship education from elementary, junior high, and high school students by Manabu Sahashi and Takahiro Yano from the Startup Promotion Office, Academic Research & Industry Academia-Government, Collaboration, Nagoya University.

This event was an excellent opportunity for the foreign media to meet Aichi-based and inbound startups that are looking to expand in Central Japan, as well as learn about the innovative programs that Central Japan is engaged in. All the participating startups used this occasion to introduce their companies, their support from Central Japan, and why this region is the ideal place for their business.

Background on Participating Startups

Fabio SOUZA, CEO, Crystal CO., LTD

Crystal is a platform for mobility sharing. Its e-scooter sharing service “Su__i” was launched in Nagoya and makes short distance transfers easier and enjoyable. Its integrated platform for sharing mobility will start operations in October 2025 and after that, Crystal will offer mobility beyond e-scooters, according to regional characteristics.

Crystal is supported by Central Japan for their app., Su__i × my route and a 2023 trial project for MaaS social implementation in Aichi Prefecture. In April 2023, Crystal moved into PRE-STATION Ai in Nagoya, which offers various programs depending on a startup’s business stage.

https://www.crystal-tec.co.jp/index_en.html

Kiho KAMIYA, CEO & Founder, FACTORY X Inc.

Female-founded FACTORY X develops and deploys an “Inventory Strategy Model” to improve productivity and profitability by strategically holding inventory in the manufacturing process. The company aims for a new type of inventory optimization by rethinking the way inventory has been regarded as a ‘negative’ in the manufacturing industry. It was founded at the end of September 2022 and raised 40 million yen in a pre-seed round of funding in April 2023. The company was selected as one of the seven companies for fiscal year 2023 in the “Weekly Toyo Keizai 100 Amazing Venture Companies”. 

FACTORY X is supported by Central Japan through their hosted entrepreneur-first fundraisers, organized events that include local manufacturing companies, and sharing information and networking that can serve as the basis for overseas expansion.

https://www.factory-x.com/e-factory-x 

Shuji OGAWA, President and Representative Director, PD AeroSpace, LTD.

PD AeroSpace built an engine that can change jet and rocket combustion modes mid-air, creating a way for a new type of reusable spaceplanes which are able to horizontally take off and land at airports. With the mission of “making space more accessible,” the company aims to realize space travel by 2030. 

With the support of Central Japan, PD Aerospace has been selected for the New Aichi Creative Development Grant Program for FY2023, and established Team D with detonation laboratories from five universities including Nagoya University.

https://pdas.co.jp/en/ 

Shunsuke TOYA, CEO, Prodrone Co., Ltd.

PRODRONE is one of the few companies in the world with a high level of technical expertise in both hardware (airframe) and software, and has introduced a number of innovative industrial drones since its establishment in 2015. At the Japan Mobility Show 2023, it unveiled a concept model of its new “SORA-MICHI,” a “flying light truck,” a cargo drone capable of flying 50 km with a 50 kg payload, aiming to solve local issues in mountainous areas and remote islands by delivering medical supplies in times of peace and disaster, and mitigation by transporting relief supplies to isolated villages.

PRODRONE received support from Central Japan through the Aichi Prefecture’s “Innovative Business Creation Proposal Platform (A-idea),” which adopted the “Aichi Mobility Innovation Project, Aichi Model 2030 Connecting Skies and Roads.” The project was also adopted as the first A-idea project, and PRODRONE was a co-sponsor of ‘DRONE EXPO 2022 in Aichi.’

https://www.prodrone.com/ 

Vitaly PENTEGOV, CEO, UrbanChain Group

UrbanChain Group provides AIoT systems that integrate vehicle identification systems, EV charging control, car sharing, and data-driven SaaS platforms to enhance the efficient use of urban resources, with the main objective of connecting people, vehicles, and destinations.

UrbanChain received support from the Greater Nagoya Initiative by receiving a grant for company incorporation, introduced to Proof of Concept (PoC) opportunities, as well as PR opportunities and legal support. UrbanChain also joined PRE-STATION Ai which helped UrbanChain connect with Japanese companies and government organizations, provided mentoring, and opportunities to attend hosted events for Japanese and overseas audiences.    

https://www.urbanchaingroup.com/ 

Background on Central Japan

Located in the Chubu region, also known as Central Japan – right in the middle of Japan’s main island, Honshu, this region is proud of playing a vital role in the history of Japan’s manufacturing craftsmanship. It was where Toyota first began, and as a tech pioneer, it is now the home to a wide range of sectors such as automobiles, photonics, and aerospace, using advanced, cutting-edge technologies.

Central Japan continues to invite entrepreneurs and capitalists from all corners of the world to facilitate state‐of‐the‐art open innovation by infusing new ideas with local craftsmanship. And as a result, take part in playing a crucial role in paving the path towards the Homeland of Mobility 5.0 –the future of mobility.

Central Japan Startup Ecosystem provides everything a startup needs – from highly trained workers in many specialized fields to opportunities to conduct feasibility studies with leading companies in various industries including the mobility sector. There are also accelerator programs, financial support systems, innovative university seeds, and collaborative partnerships with ecosystems outside of Japan and also attract a wide range of entrepreneurs to this region.   

About the Central Japan Startup Ecosystem  

In July 2020, Aichi prefecture, Nagoya City and Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka-prefecture became one of the four regional Startup Ecosystem Global Base Cities groups designated nationwide by the Japanese Cabinet Office.  

There are 371 startups in Central Japan, of which 150 are university-launched. An estimated 18,615 billion yen (as of July 2022) of funds have been raised, in addition to accelerator programs, financial support systems, and innovative university seeds.  

Collaborative partnerships with Station F, INSEAD, BLOCK71, Paris &Co, Bpifrance, Venture Café, Plug and Play, Israel Innovation Authority, Tsinghua University, China Medical University, National University of Singapore, the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, North Carolina State University, University of Nebraska and the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad attract a diverse range of entrepreneurs to the region.  

For more information, please visit https://central-startup.jp/en/ 

 

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SOURCE JETRO and Central Japan Startup Ecosystem Consortium

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