Leave a Nest, a leading global knowledge manufacturing company and Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) have successfully concluded the Global Market Fit Programme (GMP) Japan, a strategic initiative supporting high-growth startups venturing into the Japanese market. The program started in August and ended with a 5-day trip to Tokyo, Japan from October 30th to November 3rd, 2023. Seven dynamic ventures, namely ADA Biotech, Beyond Horizon, Crave Asia, Life Origin, nanoSkunkWorkX, Nomatech, and Palm Fiber, participated in the immersive trip, gaining first-hand insights into the Japanese business landscape.
Unlocking Opportunities: A Glimpse into the Validation Trip
Day 1: Mitsubishi Estate and Leave a Nest Headquarter
The journey kicked off with a visit to Inspired Lab, an incubation space owned by Mitsubishi Estate (ME). Focused on deep tech, Inspired Lab aims to foster startups within a dynamic ecosystem. The Q&A session provided clarity on ME's government relations, grant support, and its influential presence in the Marunouchi area. The ventures also had the chance to explore Global Business Hub Tokyo, one of Japan’s largest offices offering comprehensive business support for growing companies, providing insights into its facilities and the support it extends to both local and global enterprises.
The participants at the Global Business Hub Tokyo.
The trip continued to Leave a Nest (LVNS) Headquarter in Iidabashi. Dr. Shuichiro Takahashi, LVNS Representative Director COO, shared insights into LVNS's pivotal role in bridging academia and industry, creating a new R&D ecosystem. Japan startups like Innoqua, CAST, Fibercraze, Galdieria, 3DC, and Memory Lab showcased innovations ranging from marine environment solutions to data organization for R&D. Mr. Masahiro Ikegami, Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director of LVNS Capital, introduced LVNS Capital to the participants. He highlighted Leave a Nest Capital's commitment to supporting startups through investments, business development assistance, and the Germination program. Mr. Daniel Casale elaborated on LVNS Capital, emphasizing its diverse support for startups. They assist group investments globally, aiding Japanese and foreign startups in the seed and early stages.
The participants ended the first-day tour at the Leave a Nest Headquarter office in Iidabashi, Tokyo.
Day 2: Euglena Biofuel Factory Plant and Ebara Corporation
On the second day, the ventures explored the Euglena Biofuel Factory Plant in Tsurumi, gaining insights into biofuel production. Dr. Kengo Suzuki, Co-Founder and CTO of Euglena, shared the journey from small-scale operations to a collaborative biorefinery plant with Petronas in Malaysia. Pitches from startups, including nanoSkunkWorkX, Crave Asia, and Nomatech, emphasized challenges, advancements, and collaborative opportunities in Euglena’s cultivation and bioprocess.
The participants learned about biofuel manufacturing at Euglena Factory Plant in Tsurumi.
The trip continued to Ebara Corporation in Fujisawa, offering experiences like factory tours and virtual reality sessions. Participants immersed themselves in Ebara's factory tour and virtual reality, gaining an understanding of Ebara's history and core business across various industries. The ventures pitched their ideas, exploring potential collaborations in research, waste treatment, and technology applications across industries. Positive feedback ensued, with invitations for further discussions and collaborations with the participants and within the Center of Garage (COG).
Ventures had the opportunity to pitch in front of Ebara’s representatives and members.
Day 3: Maruha Nichiro and JR East Event at Takanawa Gateway Station
The third day began with a visit to Maruha Nichiro at Toyosu. Maruha Nichiro's 2022-2024 mid-term plan revolves around creating an innovation ecosystem through technology utilization and cross-industry collaborations in food tech and marine tech. Maruha Nichiro was emphasizing high-quality product production, showcasing the company's commitment to an innovation ecosystem.
Opening remarks from Dr. Shuhei Tsukada, Leave a Nest’s Executive Officer and Chief Research Officer at Maruha Nichiro's Toyosu office.
Preceding the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) networking event, participants toured the Takanawa Gateway Station, envisioning it as a global gateway for various players such as corporations, startups and universities to experiment and introduce innovations into the city. The JR East introduction included an open discussion between Malaysian ventures and Japanese corporates on collaboration, guidance, and suggestions for startups. The JR East networking event facilitated open discussions between Malaysian ventures and six Japanese corporations ranging from retail, agribusiness and entertainment industries to explore collaboration opportunities.
The participants were with Mr. Motoyoshi Kubota and Mr. Hiyoku Motomura at JR East Takanawa Gateway Station after the station tour.
Day 4: Hamano Products and Dai Nippon Printing
On the fourth day of the journey, the participants visited Hamano Products Co., Ltd. (Hamano) and Garage Sumida, an initiative overseen by Hamano. The day began with an insightful introduction by Hamano, emphasizing the vital role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Japan's tech landscape. The visit underscored the necessity of prioritizing SMEs from the Japanese industry landscape, insights into Hamano's business model and discussion on potential collaborations with MRANTI and the ventures.
Ms. Sakurai Haruka opened the meeting with a brief introduction of Hamano Products
The visit continued to Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) in Ichigaya, highlighting DNP's 147-year legacy and its evolution from a traditional printing business into a non-paper new business. The awe-inspiring tour of the P&I Lab, Tokyo, encapsulated the venture's experience.
The participants finished the fourth-day tour at the P&I Lab, Tokyo in Ichigaya.
Day 5: Networking Event at Center of Garage (COG)
The concluding day at the Center of Garage featured Dr. Ayappa V. Subramaniam, GMP Japan 2023 Project Leader, emphasizing the program's role in fostering collaborations. Special remarks by Mr. Safuan Zairi, Chief Ecosystem Development Officer of MRANTI, highlighted the MRANTI ecosystem's role in accelerating technology, incubating ideas, and supporting startups. The session was followed by a sharing by Mr. Akitaka Wilhelm Fujii, President of Real Tech Holdings (RTH), who underscored themes of technology acceleration, commercialization, and addressing climate change. He highlighted RTH's dedication to transformative technologies and ventures that make a meaningful impact, emphasizing collaboration and providing case studies.
The pitching session included ventures from the seven Malaysia ventures alongside Japanese ventures like Ball Wave, Extra Bold, ARK, Zip Infrastructure, and Tonari. Dr. Yuko Ueno shared insights about the Center of Garage (COG), highlighting COG Japan's evolution and its expansion to COG Malaysia, offering knowledge and support for deep tech startups. A feedback session took place before closing remarks, with Mr. Safuan highlighting LVNS's role in connecting ventures with Japanese counterparts. Dr. Amani Salim, CTO of nanoSkunkWorkX emphasized trust, relationship-building, and community strength. Mr. Sean Tan, Director of Crave Asia shared unexpected relationships and insights, driven by founder mindsets.
Mr. Safuan Zairi, Chief Ecosystem Development Officer of MRANTI shared his feedback on the 5-day GMP Japan Validation Trip.
GMP Japan concluded, emphasizing the trip as a beginning, with follow-up meetings and feedback discussions planned. LVNS, a knowledge manufacturing company, stressed the unique human role in creating knowledge, acknowledging LVNS's commitment to changing the world through innovation and real business interactions.
GMP Japan 2023 by MRANTI successfully concluded at the Center of Garage in Sumida.
Unleashing Possibilities: A Glimpse into Future Collaborations
The trip was not just an end but a beginning for fostering research collaborations between Malaysian ventures and their Japanese counterparts. The participants' exposure to Japanese business culture, connections with major corporations, and insights into the startup ecosystem are poised to ignite future collaborations and innovation. Additionally, this tour sought to expose Japanese corporations and ventures to Malaysia's technological landscape, cultivating opportunities for collaborative initiatives. For example, ARK sought insights into Malaysian challenges for inspiration in its expansion. In the case of DNP, they acknowledged the advanced technology in Malaysian startups, sparking interest in potential opportunities for DNP in Malaysia. The key takeaway is the mindset shift toward research collaboration over product sales. Establishing connections and trust-building emerged as crucial elements for successful expansion into the Japanese market.
Leave a Nest extends gratitude to MRANTI for the opportunity to support the GMP project and extends appreciation to all participants for their dedication throughout the program. LVNS looks forward to ongoing support for ventures beyond GMP.
For further information about Global Market-Fit Japan, please contact:
Dr. Ayappa V. Subramaniam ([email protected])