On the 22nd of January, the ‘Japan Start-up Prize/Nippon Venture Prize; ‘New Business’ Conference and Connect’ (in Japanese) was organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
In the afternoon, we had a section that was organized by Hal Morimoto of Astoria Consulting and me. Focusing on corporate venture capital (CVC), this 140 min. section detailed how the scene has been dramatically changing over the past couple of years (Japanese).
Part 1 was titled ‘To seek return on investment, or to seek strategic profits? The way of CVC’ along with ‘CVC best practices’, with an expert panel composed of Erik Vermeulen, Hiroki Saito (in Japanese), Akimichi Degawa, Tomotaka Torin (in Japanese), and moderated by Moriyoshi Matsumoto.
Part 2 was titled ‘The CVC Market and Ecosystem’ with Jessica Archibald, Alastair Breward, Chris Erickson, and George Arnold, with Kari Andersen as moderator. Between these experts, they presented the audience with numerous, practicable, pragmatic and sensible advice. I felt that it is really important to heed the advice of these people. Building up trust, perseverance, creating a presence on a global stage, showcasing the technical skills of Japan were some of such points raised.
I was only able to be there for part 2, delayed because of an important matter that had suddenly cropped up. I was very impressed by the discussion, and as the panel wrapped up, I made my way onto the stage and thanked the participants for their insights. During the discussion, the prevalence of ‘groupthink’ as a characteristic of many Japanese corporations was mentioned, and I took the opportunity to elaborate on this a little further. All in all, the response to this event was very positive.
Finally, the awards for the first ‘Japan Start-up Prize’ / Nippon Venture Prize were handed out by Prime Minister Abe, who had just come back from the Middle East. Awardees included Mitsuru Izumo for Euglena, Yoshiyuki Sankai for Cyberdyne, Takeo Higuchi (CEO of Daiwa House), Naoko Samata for Coiney, Kazuhide Sekiyama for Spiber, and Koichiro Yoshida for Crowdworks. It was a night where young entrepreneurs stood out. Well done!
It was an event that energized and delighted.