Japan Seattle AI Innovation Meetup 7.0

2018/01/30 News

The Japan Seattle AI Innovation Meetup 7.0 event was held on January 24-26 in order to connect startups in Seattle with Japanese corporations.


Tom Sato giving his opening remarks.

The meetup event was hosted by Innovation Finders Capital (IFC). The co-founders of IFC, Tets Eto and Tom Sato, were both involved in the early period of Microsoft and have a strong IT network.

The Washington State Department of Commerce and the Orrick law firm also contributed towards the event. The Department of Commerce participated as a part of the  Memorandum of Cooperation in Economic and Trade relations signed in 2016 between Washington State and Japan. The Japanese Consulate in Seattle provided the venue for the initial pitch session as well as hosting a reception afterwards.

According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, their goal is to promote the export of tech startups. To further support this, Washington State will be sending startups to Tokyo as part of a tech mission in early June of this year.  Tom Sato believes that the startups found in Washington State can provide the technology that Japanese corporations are searching for, and would like to build a bridge between the two groups.

Networking reception after the pitch session.

Networking reception after the pitch session.

During the event on the 24th, the 11 startups from Seattle each gave a 3-minute pitch of their technology. According to some of the Japanese attendees, the startups and their pitches were of a higher quality and sophistication when compared to similar events that they attended in Silicon Valley.

The venue for the 25th was the Colombia tower, and there the Japanese corporations gave a ‘reverse pitch’ to describe what kind of technology solutions they were searching for. There were 10 presenters, including corporations such as Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Nomura, as well as institutions such as Aoyama Gakuin University.

The 26th was largely taken up with one on one meetings between those that were matched through their information profiles. The 40 or so startups that did not take part in the pitch sessions were able to participate in this event, leading to over 50 Seattle startups meeting with 15 Japanese Corporations.