A new global startup event in Tokyo offers a chance for Japanese innovators to speak to international audiences – and get their overseas expansion plans assessed

Japan Global Innovators’ Forum (JGIF) takes place on March 15, supported by the Tokyo government and the Mainichi newspaper

TOKYO, Feb. 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Representatives of innovative Japanese startups with global ambitions will be gathering in the heart of Tokyo on March 15. They will showcase the solutions they offer to help solve the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges. A panel of international experts will assess their growth potential overseas.

The inaugural Japan Global Innovators’ Forum (JGIF) will invite promising Japanese startups from three specific categories: Age Tech, Disaster Tech, and Clean Energy.

Register here →  https://jgif-english.peatix.com/

Various industry experts, ranging from venture capitalists to media professionals and international NGOs, will provide the Japanese innovators with hands-on feedback and advice on their global expansion plans. The experts will be joining this event in person or online from overseas.

The event is supported by the government of Tokyo, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper and the Office of Economy and Commerce at the Spanish Embassy in Japan. It will be co-hosted by Japan’s solutions-focused news service J-Stories and the Mainichi national daily’s startup accelerator, Mainichi Future Creation Lab.

The event also aims to explore the latest trends in ESG investment and facilitate networking, with an emphasis on the need for “inclusive innovation” to address social and environmental problems sustainably.

The organizers intend for the event to become a practical meeting point between aspiring Japanese startups and their potential partners and supporters overseas, including VCs and CVCs. The event can also serve as an opportunity for overseas journalists to directly cover Japanese startups and innovators.

Toshi Maeda, the founder and executive editor of J-Stories, says that while Japan has many startups with the potential to solve global social issues and excel internationally, they often focus primarily on domestic fundraising and business development.

He believes they are hampered by a lack of international exposure and that many domestic pitch events do not sufficiently serve to publicize these ventures abroad.

“Driven by such awareness, we have organized this event to support the global outreach of promising Japanese startups,” said Maeda.

Yasuyuki Takatsuka, the president and CEO of Mainichi Future Creation Lab, discusses the growing interest in “zebra companies” that aim to create a better society through their business, rather than just rapid growth.

“The theme of this event – Inclusive Innovation – is born from the idea of creating a more sustainable world where no one is left behind, aligning with the ethos of zebra companies,” Takatsuka said. “We are genuinely pleased to have J-STORIES as a strong partner to hold such an event. There are many excellent startups in Japan working on solving various challenges, and we hope our efforts can help them make an impact globally.”

[Event Overview]

“1st Japan Global Innovators’ Forum (JGIF)”
Date: Friday, March 15, 2024
Time: 18:00 to 20:00 Tokyo time (doors open at 17:30)  / 10:00 a.m. to noon CET (Central European Time); 
Networking event from 20:00 to 21:00 for on-site participants only.
Where (Physical venue): Tokyo Innovation Base (TiB) in front of Yurakucho Station, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Format: Hybrid (150 on-site participants / 150 online participants)
Language: English (with simultaneous interpretation in Japanese)
Organizers: J-Stories, Mainichi Future Creation Lab
Partners and Supporters: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TiB partner), The Mainichi Newspaper, The Embassy of Spain’s Office of  Economy and Commerce, Pacific Bridge Media & Consulting (PBMC)
Participating Startups: Startups focusing on Disaster Tech, Age (Silver) Tech and Clean Energy … AND MORE!
Participating Commentators’ Countries of Origin: Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, USA, Japan, among others.
Tickets: ¥1,500 for on-site participants (includes snacks and drinks for networking event); free for online participants. On-site participants are requested to bring two business cards.
Register here →  https://jgif-english.peatix.com/

[ Program (Tentative; subject to change)]

Part 1: Case Study and Feedback (18:00-19:30 Tokyo time / 10:00-12:00 CET)

Group 1: Disaster Tech (30 minutes)
<Participating Startups>
– Aster: Provider of earthquake resistance coating
– Ai Heart Japan: Provider of atmospheric water generator/AWG

Johan Martens, Innovation Manager, Doctors Without Borders (Netherlands)
Matthew Romaine, Co-founder & Managing Director, Shizen Capital (Japan/USA)

Group 2: Age Tech (30 minutes)
<Participating Startups>
– Magic Shields: A “magic floor” that prevents injuries from falls
– Assist Motion: “Wearable” robotic suit

Bjoern Eichstaedt, Publisher, J-BIG (Germany)
Yoko Kojima, Head of ESG, Mundi Ventures (Spain)

Group 3 : Clean Energy (30 minutes)
<Participating Startups>
-Ability: Portable hydrogen cartridges for mobility
-Challenergy: Wind power generation without blades

– Jan Lozek, Founder & Managing Director, Future Energy Ventures (Germany/Spain)
Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Founder & CEO, Beyond Next Energy  (Japan)

Part 2: Roundtable Discussion (19:30-20:00 Tokyo time / 11:30-12:00 CET)

Topic: The latest global trends in ESG investing, and their possible repercussions on startups in Japan (tentative, subject to change)
– Recent trends and opportunities in global ESG investing
– How can Japanese companies and startups attract investment from overseas VCs/CVCs looking for ESG investment opportunities?
– “Inclusive innovation” as an element in ESG investing

Jeff Char, Founder & CEO, SOGO Energy (Japan/USA)
Hisako Nakajima, Head of ESG Analysts and Investors, Telefonica S.A. (Spain)
Yoko Kojima, Head of ESG, Mundi Ventures, (Spain/Japan)
– Others/TBA

Toshi Maeda, Founder and Executive Editor, J-Stories
– Sayuri Daimon, Former Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Writer at The Japan Times

Part 3: Networking Event (20:00-21:00 Tokyo time) (Tokyo/TiB venue only)

Light refreshments and soft drinks will be served, and participants will have an opportunity to chat with each other. (Please note that alcohol will not be served due to the restrictions at the venue.)

For inquiries, please contact the organizers at [email protected]

【For media registration】
If you are a journalist/media member coming to the venue for coverage, please enter “discount code” [ MEDIA ] for media only invitation with free entrance.

【For media inquiries】
PBMC CEO Toshi Maeda
phone:+81- 50-5527-0955 email:[email protected]