Six startups, based in the Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan, participated in the ERA Global Winter 2021 New York Startup Bootcamp Program. Government officials Tsubasa Fukuda, Makoto Hanawa, and Chihiro Watanabe of the Japanese Trade Organization Ibaraki and Tetsuya Kobayashi of Ibaraki Prefectural Government supported the program of five weeks spanning from early December until late January. The eight participants attended sessions virtually and worked early mornings to late evenings to improve their decks, pitches, and US go-to-market strategies.
The program’s second edition consisted of twelve workshops, weekly pitch sessions, and expert mentor meetings. Workshops covered topics such as fundraising, sales, and scaling in the US. On a weekly basis, startups reported on their progress for the week and shared their learnings with the group. Altogether, the program’s elements led startups to analyze their US market opportunity, revise their B2B sales processes, and rework their US investor pitch decks. Tadahiko Sugibayashi, CEO and Co-Founder of NanoBridge Semiconductor, remarked that his US pitch deck had improved, and even his pitch deck in Japanese had completely changed by the end of the program.
During the last two weeks of the program, seven investors each joined a pitch feedback session and shared feedback on both the startups’ pitches product-market fit. The opportunity proved valuable for the participants’ sense of confidence, knowledge, and mindset toward the US market. Director of Business Development at FullDepth, Yosuke Suzuki, shared “I previously learned how to present to an audience, and I’ve had many opportunities to pitch to investors and businesses with whom we are trying to conduct a PoC, but the way I learned in this program is totally different. I learned a new way to make a presentation - very quickly and to make it more effective. The Japanese way can be seen as modest, which is different from the US way of pitching.”
To conclude the program, ERA Global hosted a much-anticipated pitch event with an audience of investors and corporate guests. To commence, Governor of Ibaraki Prefecture Kazuhiko Oigawa and Chief Director of JETRO Ibaraki Yu Yoshida addressed the audience and commended the startups’ hard work. After the pitches, the audience participated in a virtual networking session in Zoom breakout rooms. Japanese news program NHK reported the event on the day of the event to broadcast the unique opportunity of the six Japanese startups.
The ERA Global team met with each startup at two different touchpoints after the program. During the individual calls, participants shared their progress and asked questions about their particular challenges. While the program has concluded, the startups are jumpstarting their plans in the US market with many months of learning and new connections.
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