On the 9th of December, the 5th Annual Global Brain Alliance Forum (GBAF), which supports strategic alliances between major corporations and venture companies, was held at Tokyo Midtown. The title of this year’s forum was ‘The Transformation of Net Business due to the Rise of Smartphones’, setting the theme to address the potential of smartphones, which experienced a rapid popularity spurt since summer.
Over 130 management planning and new enterprise personnel from major corporations participated on the day, with participation by venture company operators, government and university affiliates, and lectures were given by Mr. Okutani of Muji Life, Mr. Yamamoto of myGengo (formerly CEO of Apple Japan) and Mr. Takahashi of KDDI. Moreover, Global Brain’s portfolio company, RealGlobe talked about their strategy to enter Silicon Valley and a ‘Pitch & Demo’ business plan contest was held in which 7 leading venture companies from Japan, Asia and the US gave short presentations.
Participating Major Corporations
Amazon Data Service Japan, Itochu Electronics, Itochu Techno Solutions, Wing Arch Technologies, UL Systems, ULS Group, Excite, XING, NEC Biglobe, NTT Communications, NTT Docomo, Opt, Kaga Electronics, KDDI, Sky Perfect JSAT, Softbank, Dentsu, ISI-Dentsu Shanghai, Trial Company, Nifty, Hewlett-Packard Japan, Microsoft Japan, Hakuhodo, Hakuhodo DY Holdings, Panasonic Electric Works Information Systems, NTT East, Fujitsu, Mixi, Mediba, Rakuten, Ryohin Keikaku, Nikkei Shinbun, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Singapore Stock Exchange, Tokyo University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Keio University, Keio University SFC, Waseda University, National University of Singapore.
Global Brain Corporation: Yasuhiko Yurimoto, CEO
To start off the event, Yasuhiko Yurimoto, CEO of Global Brain, updated the audience on GB’s recent activities. His presentation covered how GB was aiming to build “Real CVC” by further continuing to support collaboration between major corporations and ventures, build a framework to roll out GB’s biggest value proposition, hands-on support, cross-border and how GB will support global development of venture companies from Japan to the world and from the world to Japan. Mr. Yurimoto also touched upon the framework for nurturing talented entrepreneurs from both within Japan and overseas as a part of GB’s global roll out.
Takashi Okutani, Director of WEB Business, Ryohin Keikaku,
“MUJI Net Stores ‘Sharing time with customers’ CRM Strategy & Social Media Management”
Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd is behind MUJI, and Director of WEB Business gave a talk on CRM strategy and social media strategy at their net store. He spoke about his company’s industry-leading actions in social media such as positioning social media as a place where core fans can gather and the importance of creating brand value and difficulty of competitive advance versus mimetism.
Kenji Yamamoto, President of myGengo and Senior Adviser to Global Brain
‘Aiming for global human resources’
Mr. Yamamoto has held key positions at a multitude of world-recognized global IT corporations such as IBM Japan and was appointed as CEO of Apple Computer Japan and Sales Vice-President to Apple USA. In this role he developed the Japanese market for iPhone. After leaving Apple, Mr. Yamamoto established myGengo, a venture company providing online translation service and also serves a role as GB’s Senior Advisor.
Mr. Yamamoto spoke about his experience at foreign-owned corporations, the challenges and mental preparation needed for Japanese people to enter the global scene. He also revealed to us anecdotes he’d learnt from Steve Jobs during his Apple years and various other episodes.
Makoto Takahashi, Senior Vice President Board Member, KDDI Corporation
‘KDDI’s Strategies for an Open Internet Era’
Alliances with Skype and Facebook, selling iPhone and so on, KDDI keep punching out new innovations for smartphone, one after the other. KDDI’s Senior Vice President Board Member, Mr. Takahashi, is one of the people behind these new moves, and he spoke in great detail at GBAF on KDDI’s smartphone strategies.
KDDI is the only carrier that can offer a comprehensive service straddling everything from mobile to landline communication and CAVT. Moreover, KDDI are aiming for a world where diverse services are available on all devices with that infrastructure. To make that world a reality, they are placing importance on collaboration with venture companies, introducing a new organization founded in December specifically for that purpose. Mr. Takahashi’s passionate presentation really conveyed the pace at which KDDI are hurtling towards the future.
Takahiro Oohata, CEO, Real Globe
“‘Born in Japan, Growing Global’ - Silicon Valley Debut Struggles”
As a part of GB’s cross-border business development support to help Japanese ventures penetrate overseas markets and overseas ventures penetrate Japanese markets, Takahiro Oohata,CEO of Real Globe, one of GB’s portfolio companies, worked hard together with GB staff to participate in “Plug and Play EXPO”, a business content held by a venture company nurturing institution, Plug and Play Tech Center’ located in Silicon Valley. At GBAF, Mr. Oohata spoke about his observations, challenges and future vision regarding expanding business overseas.
Incubation Business, Global Brain Corporation
‘Introduction of Collaboration Support in 2011’
As a summary of GB’s support activities in 2011, a presentation was given on the many collaborations between GB portfolio ventures and major corporations. This year, rather than a GB person giving the presentation, the actual members involved in promoting collaboration in the parties involved took to the stage and spoke directly about the lead-up to the forming of the collaboration, the hard times faced along the way, and the fruits of the result. (Presentations made by President Inoue of Living Style, Mr. Sato of Nifty and President Hayashi of Comnico)
Business Contest ‘Pitch & Demo’ for leading Japanese and overseas ventures
7 of Japan, Asia and America’s up-and-coming venture companies took to the stage and gave presentations and demos of their respective services. At the end of the session, votes were made by the judges and audience participants, with a winner being selected. Much fun was had by all.
Tomoaki Kudo, CEO
Offering state-of-the-art solutions in the advertising technology domain, this venture is expanding at a rapid pace. Geniee adopts the latest net advertising method, RTB, in their solutions, (Real Time Bidding: real time bidding/distribution of optimal, highly priced advertising meeting the attributes of site visitors), and Mr. Kondo spoke of how this would open the door to a new net advertising market in the future.
Mr TaeWoo Kim, CEO
Moglue, who was a finalist at TC Disrupt Beijin, gave a brief introduction of their application which can create interactive picture books on tablets and smartphones. Mr. Kim demonstrated how even users who can’t draw can create a picture book by simply dragging & dropping image sprites and entering text, with the further options of adding animation, effects or music.
Mr. John Fan, CEO
In parallel with the spread of smartphones, a countless stream of applications are being released. Amongst them, photo-related applications boast particular popularity. Mr. Fan gave the audience an explanation of his popular collage app [PicCollage] which has held top position of photo apps against companies from several countries.
Akinori Machino, CEO
Lindoc is a venture that offers a social e-book platform where readers of the same book can insert comments directly on the book’s pages. He spoke of his company’s base concept of maximizing learning effectiveness by combining individual’s knowledge.
Atsuhiko kimura, CEO
co-meeting is a next-generation tool that offers stress free group communication with live chat that reflects typing in real-time, as well as text editor which allows real-time, simultaneous editing. On this day, Mr. Kimua spoke about his road-map for future enterprise growth.
Yutaka Ishikawa, CEO
Nightly offer a solution ‘T-rexa’ that helps companies with store outlets to measure the effect of their campaigns and maximize communication with consumers. This is achieved by displaying what type of services are experiencing what kinds of information activity by consumers in a specific place (store outlet, facility, etc) or region, by making cross-cutting analysis of positional information generated by position information provision services best represented by foursquare, etc.
Eliot Sun, CEO & Founder
Kloudless offers a solution which makes it possible to do searches of files stored in multiple crowd services such as Dropbox, Gmail, Evernote and Google Docs as well as making it possible to search files on personal devices such as PCs, smartphones, etc.
Student Entrepreneur Association - Biz Asia, Biz Asia Japan, CEYNA
Before the social get-together, Biz Asia, an entrepreneur group set up by students from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Biz Asia Japan, a student exchange program relating to Tokyo University and NUS entrepreneurship, as well as CEYMA, an entrepreneurial group established by Chinese students between Beijing University and NUS joined the GBAF proceedings and representatives from each of these groups introduced their activities.
GB supports the activities of Biz Asia and Biz Asia Japan.
The 7 companies engaged in heated battle in the Pitch & Demo contest set up demonstration booths at the social get-together, giving demos on their respective technology and services to deepen interaction between participants. Results of the Pitch & Demo contest were announced by the judging panel, comprising of specially-appointed professor, Mr. Katsuya Hasegawa of the Enterprise Promotion Office, Division of University Corporate Relations,Tokyo University, Mr. Tomohiro Ebata, Director of Strategic Promotion, New Business Promotion Headquarters, KDDI Corporation, Mr. Kazunari Maejima, Director of Social Business and Community Media at Nifty Corporation and Mr. Yasuyuki Yabumoto, Manager at Leading IP Architecture Center, NTT Communications. Each judge gave their impression of the participating ventures’ presentations. The evening meal was provided by GB’s portfolio company, Meat Crest Corporation, with delicious meat cuisine, over which much conversation sprung up, with all those involved having a great time.
This was the 5th time the GB Alliance Forum was held and we intend on continuing to make it bigger and better so stay tuned!