On Friday, November 13th, I had the pleasure to officiate as master of ceremony (aka MC) for the startup pitching competition organized jointly by IE Business School (IE) and Keio Media Design School (KMD) at the Keio Mita campus in the heart of Tokyo.
For this third edition of the event supported by Fitbit, Justa, and Cream, eight start-ups at a seed stage (the upper limit was fixed to 100,000US$ investment) were invited to compete based on their idea, business plan, team and traction. The overall level of the teams was impressive, but at the end of the day three teams stood out. Congratulations to the winners (more on each team below): iineCard, HouseCare and AnchorUp.
Besides the startup pitching competition, highlights of the day included keynote talks by John S. Shiota – President and CEO at Polygon Pictures, Kaoru Tanaka – Director at IDEO and Dennis Shingo Sudo – President at Core3dCentres.
To complete the day, a local VC panel was assembled in order to provide the audience with precious insights into the Japanese venture capital industry and trends. Members of the panel included seed stage oriented firms such as 500Startups and J-Seed or larger rounds such as Fidelity, SalesForce and Government related funds.
8 teams competing
Each pitching startup put a lot of effort into making the most of the short three minutes to present their vision and convince the judges of their ventures’ potential. From travel to fashion, medtech to social networks, the range of ideas and industries was all-encompassing.
Here is a little more about the three winning teams from third place to first:
3rd Place: AnchorUp presented by Alba Zurriaga Carda
AnchorUp is a travel application that aims at bringing back spontaneity and adventure to the center of travel experiences. The app makes the most of SOLOMO (social, local, mobile) to connect travelers, local people and hidden spots seamlessly on-the-go. AnchorUp is available on the iTunes store as of Tuesday, November 17th.
2nd Place: HouseCare (soon to be Airtidy) by Justin Clune
HouseCare surfs on the staggering development of the sharing economy and the rise of AirBnB in Japan. The startup helps tenants scale their rental activities by taking care of all cleaning- related services. HouseCare has shown impressive initial traction and is actively recruiting new cleaners to support its growth.
1st Place: iineCard by Jakub Slusarczyk
iineCard unanimously convinced the judges with its early signs of great execution and future potential in building a bridge between printed media magazines and the digital world. iineCard offers a simple solution for readers to scan items featured in magazines with mobile phones to find and buy them online. Congratulations to the iineCard team’s who just got their first round of magazines on board!
About IE Venture Days:
International Venture Days showcase and celebrate the best of IE Business School’s entrepreneurial spirit. They host international startup competitions where the best startups and investors connect and share experiences. Every Venture Day event is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to raise funds from local investors and for investors to get access to quality deal flow leading to the continued development and empowerment of local and international startup ecosystems. More info here.
About the author:
Pierre Gaulis is a Swiss born Tokyo based entrepreneur and an IE business school alumni. He is founder and CEO at Cream, a digital solutions studio and at BrandAcademy a training and engagement application. Contact him here.