On December 9, 2016, we held the “Global Brain Alliance Forum (GBAF) 2016” at Roppongi Hills. This year’s GBAF was the 10th GBAF. The GBAF began with the purpose of providing networking opportunities for large corporates and startups.

Over 600 people participated in this event, including people in charge of new business development from large corporates and startup owners. Also, over 100 people participated from abroad from countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the USA.

At the event, we announced the establishment of a new GB fund, “Global Brain No. 6 investment limited partnership,” which was also announced via a press release on the day, provided lectures by people from large corporates and startups, and held a panel discussion on the space industry.

Winner’s way of thinking – Innovation through overcoming adversity, learning from Hideo Nomo’s challenge for Major League –

Mr. Seijun Ninomiya / Sports journalist

Mr. Ninomiya introduced the important skills for success in the sports world, using some players he closely observed as examples.

As a person Mr. Ninomiya respects, he introduced Mr. Saburo Kawabuchi and his efforts to establish the J-League. What Mr. Ninomiya learned from Mr. Kawabuchi in those days was “passion, mission and action are required to be a leader.”

Then, he introduced the challenge of Hideo Nomo, a former pitcher for the Major League. Nomo struggled with adverse circumstances, but he achieves success with his “forkball,” giving the ball an unique spin. Nobody else could throw the same pitch. According to this experience, he learned a winner needs “only one SKILL” and the “WILL to make it possible.”



Announcement of the new fund

Mr. Yurimoto, the representative of GB, announced the establishment of the Global Brain No.6 investment limited partnership (No.6 Fund). Mr. Yasuhiro Maeda, Deputy Director-General, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, gave a message that supported the “No. 6 Fund” with the title, “Expecting economic contribution through creating Open Innovation together with innovative ICT startups.”

As strategic LP investors, Cool Japan Fund, JTB, SMBC, Information Services International-Dentsu, KODEN Holdings and Sumitomo Forest talked about the meaning of participating in the No. 6 Fund.

We will start the operation of the No. 6 Fund with the first close at the end of December. It has a \20-billion upper limit and the second close, or final close, will be the end of June 2017. In addition to business entities, universities and overseas institutional investors have committed to invest.



Pitches of Israel Startups

Three startups from Israel provided pitches at the lunch venue. From Israel, where successful startups appear one after another, startups with advanced technologies presented pitches, which attracted more people than the lunch venue could hold.

Loom Systems IRONSCALES Effective Space

Growth strategy of Global Brain

Yasuhiko Yurimoto/Representative Director and President of Global Brain Mr. Yurimoto, our representative, talked about GB’s history and future growth strategy.



Innovation by the space industry

Ms. Naoko Yamazaki / Astronaut Mr. Yuya Nakamura / Representative Director of AXELSPACE Mr. Takeshi Natsuno / Special Guest Professor from Keio University

We held a panel discussion with Mr. Takeshi Natsuno, the inventor of i-mode and a member of the Committee on National Space Policy as a moderator. The panelists were Ms. Naoko Yamazaki, an astronaut and a member of the Committee on National Space Policy in the Cabinet Office, and Mr. Yuya Nakamura of AXELSPACE, which develops, launches and operates microsatellites.

The main theme of the discussion was the current status of space business in Japan and the USA. Space startups have successfully raised funds and about 1,000 startups are actively involved in the business domain. America leads the space industry because not only companies that develop and launch satellites, but also the industries that use their observation data are growing. According to both panelists, these peripheral industries are developing because “after the completion of NASA’s space shuttle projects, funds and talent have been expanding into the private sector.”



World authority talking about the latest robotics industry

Mr. Rich Mahoney introduced the current status of the robotics industry, in which commoditization was in progress. He worked as a director of robotics at SRI International, the world largest research institution, for 7 years, and is currently the CEO of Superflex.

He said, “It is often said that spreading robotics will deprive people of their work. We need to show good stories about the future improved by robotics with a vision.” He also presented the concept of “powered clothing,” a product assisting the movement of muscles with an electric motor, which Superflex is currently planning and developing.

At the end of his presentation, he announced that GB had invested in Superflex as a lead investor in Series A.

Refer to https://globalbrains.com/posts/1149

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Mitsui Fudosan’s efforts for Open Innovation

Mr. Yoshikazu Kitahara / Managing Director and Senior Executive Officer of Mitsui Fudosan

Mr. Kitahara talked about Mitsui Fudosan’s previous efforts for new business and the preparation necessary for a large corporation to conduct Open Innovation.

Mitsui Fudosan has been operating incubation facilities and co-working spaces in Japan for a long period of time and focused on supporting startups. In April 2016, they established “31VENTURES,” a Venture Creation Department, to integrate four bases in Japan.

Mr. Kitahara said, “Large corporates are currently required to make major organizational innovation. It is necessary for us to make a small organization of about 20 personnel and give complete authority to them.” Also, he passionately said that a “going concern” was Japanese companies’ culture and “a real manager” was a person who protected employment and kept the company going.


KDDI’s efforts with startups

Mr. Toshifumi Tsukada / Director of the New Business Promotion Department, Value Business Division, KDDI Corporation
Mr. Tsukada talked about the results of working with startups and the future perspective of KDDI.

While the connection between KDDI and users is being diversified due to the dissemination of smartphones, services provided by smartphone carriers have followed a similar path. KDDI has deployed “AU life design,” an effort to provide services that make users’ lives richer. Organically, KDDI on its own could not effectively provide services such as financial settlement, electricity, insurance and entertainment since KDDI’s traditional business is providing a communication service. Thus, they established the basis for co-creation with startups by starting initiatives such as KDDI ꝏ Labo, where they developed and supported startups, and the KDDI Open Innovation Fund, or corporate venture capital fund, and have provided services of the portfolio companies to communication service users.

Also, KDDI has founded a base in Korea in October 2016. He said this about the future perspective: “We will actively support startups in Korea in the future, and aim to create values that have an impact on the society.”