On Friday, June 29th, at “Tokyo Tech Startup Night – Tech Startups from Universities to Change the World – Powered by Tokyo Institute of Technology” held at CIC TOKYO in Toranomon Hills, seven researchers supported by the GTIE GAP Fund gave their pitches! Seven research groups supported by the GTIE GAP Fund made pitches at the event!
The event, hosted by Tokyo Institute of Technology, one of the GTIE co-sponsoring institutions, was attended by over 500 people. The venue was filled to capacity, with many people standing in line to see the pitches, and the enthusiasm was so great that one could feel the social impact and anticipation of the “tech startups” from universities in Japan.
While a total of 16 teams of researchers and students from Tokyo Institute of Technology gave passionate pitches, the seven teams supported by the GTIE GAP Fund gave high-level pitches that excited the audience. All seven groups had made progress toward commercialization since the end of the GAP Fund program, and we felt that the support provided by the GTIE GAP Fund had helped the researchers in no small way by encouraging them to take concrete action toward entrepreneurship, increasing their motivation, and building cooperative relationships with their supporters. I felt that the support provided by the GTIE GAP Fund may have helped the researchers in no small way.
In addition to the pitches, a panel discussion was held by Mr. Shosuke Kiba, President of Universal Materials Incubator Corporation, Mr. Takashi Yamamoto, President of The University of Tokyo TLO Corporation, and Ms. Michiko Ashizawa, Associate Professor at Yokohama City University.
(The panel discussion featured heated debate. (From left, Mr. Masaharu Tsujimoto, Mr. Shosuke Kiba, Mr. Takashi Yamamoto, and Ms. Michiko Ashizawa)
Professor Masaharu Tsujimoto of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the GTIE program representative, moderated a heated discussion on the situation surrounding academic startups in Japan and the steps to be taken. The speakers spoke passionately about fostering a startup culture and the importance of going abroad, and many audience members nodded their heads in agreement.
In response to Yamamoto’s suggestion that “measures to create unicorns and measures to broaden the base of researchers who aspire to startups are two completely different things, and we need to make a clear distinction when discussing them,” Professor Tsujimoto, the representative of the GTIE program, said, “At GTIE, too, we have a program for researchers who aspire to become unicorns and a program for a broad range of researchers who want to startup. In response to Dr. Yamamoto’s suggestion, Professor Tsujimoto, the representative of the GTIE program, commented that “GTIE would like to conduct two separate programs in the future: one for researchers aiming to become unicorns, and the other for a broader range of researchers interested in entrepreneurship.
GTIE will continue to support “researchers with great ‘tech’ skills who want to start their own businesses” this year. As a new initiative, GTIE will also work to broaden the base of researchers who are interested in starting their own businesses.
If you are a university or other research institution, VC, accelerator, or private company that supports these efforts, please join us in this movement!
Last but not least, we would like to thank all those who have contributed to making this event possible.
Seven groups supported by the GTIE GAPFund (in order of appearance )
*Titles are current at the time of event participation.
GTIE Tokyo Institute of Technology Office (Nao Hosokawa)