Why global investors should pay attention to Japanese startups

ERA Global

Murat Aktihanoglu

December 25, 2019

We have been investing in startups in New York City since 2011 with 200+ amazing startups in our portfolio (http://eranyc.com ).

And I’ve lived in Japan from 2003 to 2005 and love the country. Just this year, I’ve been to Japan 5 times for business.

We are very proud to have SMBC, Recruit, Dentsu and Uzabase from Japan as LP’s in our ERA funds.

Also, we are official partners with Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Keihanna Research Complex (near Kyoto and Osaka, part of Keihanna Science City with close to 150 research institutions such as our partner ATR) and Ibaraki Prefecture Government (with Tsukuba Science City with again more than 150 research institutions such as AIST) which give us access to amazing Japanese startups on an ongoing basis. We bring some of these startups to New York City to take them global and help them with their US market entry (http://eranyc.com/global)

Signing our partnership agreement with Ibaraki Prefecture Governonr Oigawa-san in December this year

(Signing our partnership agreement with Ibaraki Prefecture Governor Oigawa-san in December this year)

I’ve recently met startups in Tokyo, Ibaraki, Kyoto and Osaka that are one step away from being global and successful with products and services that can scale globally.

Sensorless industrial autonomous robots

One example is a company that is tracking and controlling up to 100 industrial autonomous robots using only one camera, instead of having up to 20 sensors on each robot.

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(With JETRO, Ibaraki Prefecture Government, Tsukuba City Officials and Japanese startups)

AI that tracks and improves operator performance

Another is an adaptive AI that learns how an experienced device operator is using a specific device and applies the learnings to all devices being operated, even when by being operated by inexperienced and new operators.

Real-time Digital Twins

Another favorite is an autonomous mobile 3D surveying robot that constantly updates the 3D model of a construction site to have a real-time “Digital Twin” of the site at all times for remote inspection and collaboration. The company also has fixed hanging 3D sensors that can be plugged right into a light bulb fixture.

An early-warning system for diseases

Another company is tracking your immune system using machine learning and warning you when your immune system loses power. Every day our immune system kills hundreds of spontaneous cancerous cells and prevents cancer from spreading into more cells. When the immune system stops being efficient, the risk of cancer increases. The company’s service is like an early-warning system for diseases.

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(Tsukuba City Startup Park pitch event in December)

Touchless HCI without gestures

Another company is producing a touchless computer interface without gestures and just using the CPU with existing camera hardware (no 3D camera needed).

Collect and Utilize indoor location data

Another company uses patented dead-reckoning technology to track worker and transport location indoors (where GPS doesn’t work). Then all this location data is used to optimize crane locations and employee allocations for manufacturing and warehousing facilities.

If you want to learn more, please follow me (http://twitter.com/muratny ) and ERA Global (http://twitter.com/eranycglobal) for updates and more information.

And our partner Tokyo Metropolitan Government has an excellent Invest Tokyo initiative: http://www.senryaku.metro.tokyo.jp/tokku/english/

And JETRO’s (Japan External Trade Organization) one-stop shop in Tokyo for foreign investors is another great way to get started: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/invest/ibsc/one-stop.html

See you at the largest city in the world with 38M inhabitants at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020!

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