Now in its fourth year and seventh season, Japan Night began in 2010 as a competition to showcase the most innovative startups from Japan. This year, six startups nominated from the semi-finals in Tokyo will present their ideas in English in the finals in San Francisco. The presentations will include a Q&A session; and the finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a large audience which, in the past, has included venture capitalists and members of the media. For the Japanese finalists, this is a huge opportunity to take their dream abroad.
From the applications we receive, 15 teams are selected. Each team works with btrax to prepare their English presentation.
The six teams to give the best pitches in English will be given the privilege to present in the finals a month later in San Francisco.
They also pitch a panel of judges. Only one can be declared as the winner.
Date : Oct. 13, 2010
Place : Mighty
gengo / SPYSEE / Lang-8
Coopa! / GazoPa / Drrop
The first JapanNight was held in October 2010, and more than 500 people showed up for the event to be a part of the audience.
Enduring a little jet-lag and some tech culture shock, six start-ups from Japan successfully completed their introduction to the SF Tech community
Date : June 28, 2011
Pace : Mighty
Reengo / ChatWork / Feel on!
Cacoo / MOSO / Beautecam
A year later, the second JapanNight was held in June 2011. More than half of the startup participants succeeded in raising funds from venture capitalists and investors in the audience. The 2011 JapanNight was also the first time the event was broadcasted live; more than 1500 people tuned in to watch the finals on UStream.
Dates : Oct. 8, 2011 (Semi-finals) / Nov. 3, 2011 (Finals)
Places : Microsoft Japan (Semi-finals) / Mighty (Finals)
Matthew Romaine (Co-founder, Gengo Cofounder)
Toshi Yamamoto (CEO, ChatWork)
Taisuke Yokoi (CEO, LisB)
Sadato Adachi (CEO, RakuRaku.com)
Facematch (Winner) / Grow! / MidoNet
PIRIKA / SnapDish / Synclogue
The third JapanNight was the first time the competition was split into two parts–the semi-final in Tokyo and the final in San Francisco. This time, the event received media attention not only from Japan and the U.S., but also from China.
Dates : March, 2012 (Semi-finals) / April 25, 2012 (Finals)
Places : Voyage group (Semi-finals) / Mighty (Finals)
Taizo Son (CEO, MOVIDA JAPAN) /
Masahiko Honma (CEO, Incubate Fund)
Shu Uesugi (Engineer/Designer）
piaScore (Winner) / Coworkify / Monaca
Beatrobo / Sleipnir / foodstoQ
Some big names attended as guest speakers and judges for the fourth JapanNight. There was more than 200 people in the audience, and the event was covered by large publications like Nikkei in Japan and the Wall Street Journal in the U.S.
Dates : Feb. 9 (Semi-finals) / March. (Finals)
Paces : Rafore Harajuku (Semi-finals) / yetiZen (Finals)
Kozo Hiramatsu (Former CEO, Livedoor Holdings) / Takeshi Honma (Executive Officer, Rakuten) / Shintaro Yamada (CEO, Mercari)
ShareWis (Winner) / WHILL / UIscope
designclue / grafic / comobaco
The fifth JapanNight consisted not only of presentations by competitors in Japan and San Francisco, but also a product demo by the previous winner and a panel discussion with notable guests. Many finalists such as ‘WHILL’ succeeded in fundraising.
Dates : Oct 5, 2013 (Semi-finals) / Nov. 7, 2013 (Finals)
Places : Daiwa Conference Hall (Semi-finals) / Pivotal Labs (Finals)
Hannes Graah (Director, SpotifyJapan) / Osuke Honda (Partner, DCM) / Tak Shiohama (President, Uber Japan) / Shin Iwata (Head of Japan Office, Atomico)
cooori (Winner) / Ring / CODEPREP
FUKUSHIMA Wheel / FOURBEAT / Boku Sumaho
The sixth JapanNight held in 2013 used Google Hangouts for the first time to broadcast live. An online voting system was also implemented to help engage the audience tuning in from the internet.
You company will be exposed to an audience of over 500 both in the semi-finals and finals. Additionally, you will be promoted as a sponsor on our various media channels.
In this unique start-up competition, information about new technology and information about North American Markets can be efficiently acquired just by attending.
The only thing better than witnessing entrepreneurs and technology that challenge the world is supporting them. Revitalize your company’s PR by showing your public support for Japan Night.
“As a sponsor of the event, we felt very happy to lend a hand to start-ups who challenge themselves to globally expand their business. As an investment capital company, we will continue to aid Japanese companies that wish to expand their business across borders. “
“Originally a participant of Japan Night, we have continued being involved with this event by becoming a sponsor. By working with btrax, we have been able to reach a large amount of users with a very good conversion rate. We are excited to support and witness all the start-ups take on the challenge of Japan Night 7.”
“By participating in Japan Night, my ability to expand my business abroad increased exponentially. I am grateful for being able to meet venture capital companies in Silicon Valley and also grateful that I could network with many entrepreneurs in the Bay Area. Additionally, with the exposure to Japan-America media channels we saw an increase in traffic following the event: 100,000 new downloads in just 3 days. “
JapanNight is organized by a cross-cultural marketing agency btrax.