Ready, Steady, Pitch! Japanese Startups at Monozukuri Hub Meetup Tokyo

eptember is here and autumn event season has officially kicked off! Check out how these four sizzling startups pitched at Monozukuri Hub Meetup Tokyo.


Nearly 70 hardware enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, academics, engineers and investors gathered at EdgeOf for the second Monozukuri Hub Meetup Tokyo, an event bringing together our Tokyo-based community. Not only was the event one of the great pitching opportunities for hardware startups in the area, but also a chance for technicians and researchers to talk about Japan’s tech ecosystem and their challenges. The unique setting of collaboration hub EdgeOf provided the perfect atmosphere for sharing experiences, nurturing talent and forming connections. Thanks to EdgeOf CEO Alex Odajima for providing us the venue and supporting our event!

Read about the 1st Monozukuri Meetup in Tokyo here

Marie-Eve Menger, Business Development and Marketing at Makers Boot Camp, giving the welcoming speech

Makers Boot Camp`s Marie took the stage amongst the first set of speakers, introducing the format of the pitch night. Each startup had 5 minutes to pitch to the audience and 5 minutes to answer questions from them. All entrepreneurs did a great job — hope soon they will wow an audience on a global arena.Plus the audience was extremely involved, creating lively Q&A sessions, with many questions left for the networking session!

Aquabit Spirals: Free From Googling

Kosuke Yamamoto, Global Business Development at Aquabit Spirals Inc., pitching in front of the audience at EdgeOf

The first pitch was given by Kosuke Yamamoto from Aquabit Spirals, Tokyo-based startup aiming to connect various locations and physical things to the Internet. They develop SmartPlate as the Hyperlink of Things™ that enables everyone to associate objects with online services easily.

Kosuke Yamamoto: ‘We are trying to create the future where any wall or surface can be transformed into the online storefront. If you are running out of your favourite beer, you will be able to order it from your door’.

His startup’s next-gen solution has been already endorsed by investors and many large corporations. The company was selected as a Top 10 finalist in the Startup Launchpad Area competition at Echelon Thailand 2015 and won the Shibuya second prize in the Tokyu Accelerate Program. Teaming up with Tokyu Corp., they conducted a pilot marketing program at Shibuya Station: by scanning a poster with a smartphone, passersby could access useful information about the area.

Spiral Inc.: Affordable Drones

Tomohiro Ishikawa, CEO of Spiral Inc., focuses on indoor drones rather than outdoor drones

The potential global indoor drone market is up to $4 billion, according to the startup. No wonder then, that a legion of drone companies are pushing new drone designs and cutting-edge technology to get noticed. Tokyo-based startup Spiral Inc. in one of them. CEO Tomohiro Ishikawa is an industrial robot integration specialist and artist with over 10 years of robotics project management experience. His startup develops a proprietary technology of autonomous flight control for indoor drones, most notably during non-GPS situations.

Tomohiro Ishikawa: ‘The main problem is that 3D mapping for autonomous flight control is expensive and complex. We offer autonomous drone solutions for indoor environments 60% cheaper.’

Spiral Inc. reduces costs by using QR code markers to simplify drone mapping and flight plan systems. The tech startups plans on numerous indoor performances of its special drones following the joint development project with Singapore startup Flare Dynamics. They have been testing the technology that will usher in convenient monitoring of facilities and are expecting the first product release by summer 2019.

Teplo: Tea + Technology

Teplo CEO Kazunori Kawanobe raised over $73,000 on Kickstarter to start mass production.

Kazunori Kawanobe from Teplo was the next speaker on the stage. His startup has been fuelled by a successful crowdfunding campaign and develops a smart bottle that allows tracking and controlling tea brewing temperature and time via a smartphone app. ‘Temperature and brewing time are very important to make the perfect cup of tea’, says Kazunori Kawanobe. Not only does the bottle revolutionize the way of brewing tea, it also simplifies the process of personalizing tea experience. By analyzing users` gender, location etc, it can suggest future tea blends that would appeal to each individual user.

Teplo’s hardware product and application

Kazunori Kawanobe told the audience about his company’s ambitious plans for this year that include displaying prototypes and pitching around Japan and China. Next year, Teplo is planning to have a demo booth at CES JETRO Japan Startup in Las Vegas and to launch a crowdfunding campaign in USA and Japan.

Ekko Tech: Playing Guitar Like a Pro

Andrew Coad, I.T. Director Japan & Asia at Ekko Tech Inc., highlighted the challenges of playing guitar

The last pitch was delivered by Andrew Coad from EkkoTech, an innovative startup that focuses on audio equipment for musicians. The first product BlueBox was conceived out of the need for innovative products designed to enhance the learning experience for musicians. A portable pocket size guitar amplifier that comes with mobile application brings together original hardware and software to assist guitarists in the process of moving from beginner stage to superstars like Eric Clapton.

Andrew talked about the difficulties of moving from beginner to skilled practitioner. He also referred to his personal experience wishing he could play guitar well enough to jam with his friends on the weekends. ‘There are two dimensions of difficulty: time for practice, which we don’t have, and proper tools, such as face-to-face tutoring’, he said.

Adam Smith rocking out at EdgeOf

Andrew’s pitch ended up with a special live jam session by his fellow guitarist Adam Smith, who has been involved with Blue Box from the early days and jumped on a stage to plug in a guitar. When he finished playing, the audience exploded into applauses.

The pitch session was followed by closing remarks from Makers Boot Camp CEO Narimasa Makino, who thanked everyone for coming on behalf of the Makers Boot Camp team and announced more meetups coming.

During the networking, the audience had the chance to see the prototypes of the startups first hand. Not only the pitching startups proudly displayed their projects, but some visiting entrepreneurs from Tokyo and beyond took the chance for impromptu product demonstrations!

Makers Boot Camp CEO Narimasa Makino

This second Monozukuri Hub Meetup in Tokyo has proved that there is a rich and vibrant hardware community, full of talented people and innovative projects, so we hope to have more successful events and great projects in the near future! To hear about them first, become a member of our Meetup Group!

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Thanks to MBC team, Kojiro (John) Moriwaka and Victoria Daet from Slush Tokyo for the photos!