Global Brain Alliance Forum (GBAF) 2015, the annual meetup event for “global startups” and “large corporates,” was held at Shibuya Hikarie on December 11.

This year’s GBAF especially focused on “the match of startups and large corporates”. Approximately 500 people gathered in the middle of a busy December day. Among them were people in charge of business planning and new business development from large corporates and startups.

The forum started with an explanation of GB’s future growth strategy and focus areas followed by various programs such as a panel discussion between Mr. Ken Kutaragi, the father of the SONY PlayStation, and Mr. Takeshi Natsuno, the inventor of Docomo i-mode; a panel discussion about “the near-futuristic prediction and strategy of the Smart Home” between two startups in Silicon Valley and Mitsui Fudosan; a lecture about “Open Innovation strategy” by KDDI; a panel discussion with the theme of alliance with large corporates led by an owner of a successful company collaborating with the KDDI Open Innovation Fund; a Global Startups Pitch Battle with participation by startups in Japan and overseas; and Speed Dating Pitch, the first individual interview between large corporates and startups.



Mr. Yasuhiko Yurimoto President and CEO of Global Brain Corporation Growth strategy of Global Brain – Challenge toward the Next Stage –

A presentation was made about GB’s achievements and activities over the past year, various events in Japan, USA, Korea, and Singapore, GB’s global growth strategy to support global startups and the establishment of a fund for the strategy, and preparation of a support system to promote collaboration between large corporates and startups.


Super-heated discussion – Do large Japanese corporations have a future of Open Innovation? Does collaboration with startups save large corporates?

We invited Mr. Kutaragi and Mr. Natsuno and asked them to talk about the potential of Open Innovation for Japanese corporates and the meaning of future collaboration between startups and large corporates. They straightforwardly told us the “reality” regarding the attitude of large corporates and startups based on their vast past experience.

Mr. Ken Kutaragi / CEO at Cyber AI Entertainment Mr. Takeshi Natsuno / Professor at Keio University


The near-futuristic prediction and strategy for Smart Homes and the strategy of a winner of Smart Home platformer

Our guests talked about the future strategy for Smart Homes from the perspectives of both Japan and the USA. Two startups from America told us their vision from unique angles such as “the entrance of a house” and the “quality of indoor air”, and Mitsui Fudosan told us about the potential of the platform of the Smart Home from the perspective of a Japanese original HEMS.

Mr. Ken Matsui / Chief of Business Group, Venture Co-creation Department, Mitsui Fudosan Mr. Chris Kim / Head of Product of August Home, Inc. Mr. Ronald B. Ro / CEO of Bitfinder, Inc.



Our Strategy for Open Innovation

Mr. Takahashi of KDDI, who has a vast experience collaborating with and supporting startups, talked about specific strategies to achieve Open Innovation, including cases of success and failure in past efforts with startups.

Mr. Makoto Takahashi / Representative Director and Senior Operating Officer of the Value Business Sector, KDDI Corporation


What is the key for startups to successfully grow in alliance? As told by startups that achieved success using the KDDI Open Innovation Fund

We invited two startup CEOs who achieved success in IPO/M&A using the KDDI Open Innovation Fund. They frankly talked about the reality and meaning of alliance with large corporates from the perspective of a startup.

Panelists Mr. Kentaro Oda / Representative Director and CEO of iRidge, Inc. Mr. Satoshi Murata / Representative Director, President and CEO of LUXA


Global Startups Pitch Battle

A total of 10 startups including GB AWARD winners at the events worldwide gathered in Shibuya from Southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan.


Smove established a globally unique position as a car-sharing platform. While they have a base concept as a platform, they operate car sharing as a business operator and have established a self-learning organization where their experience as a business operator on the platform is fed back to the platform. Their traction as a platform is increasing.



STELLASIA LED develops and distributes LED lighting for industrial use. Their strength is in developing AC drive LEDs in the market where DC drive LEDs are the standard. AC drive LEDs do not need electronic parts with a high failure rate such as aluminum electrolytic capacitors, which enables a reduction in failure rates, power consumption and noise. In addition to factories and offices, their products are expanding into data centers and medical institutions, where noise needs to be avoided. They are now planning new projects such as Smart Lighting based on their original technology.



Vuno provides medical image analysis and a diagnosis system based on deep learning. In existing medical image analysis, the number of specialists is lacking given the amount of images that must be analyzed, and thus, there is a limit in early diagnoses of diseases and in screenings. The readability concordance rate of specialists is less than 70%, and the readability consistency of the same specialists cannot be maintained. Vuno-Med has made it possible to provide more accurate diagnosis results by supporting accurate, rapid and consistent analysis through learning the results of medical images and major characteristics based on the deep learning engine.



Igloohome provides a software platform for the accommodation-sharing economy. In cooperation with a hardware supplier, they simplify check-in/check-out for hosts, record the activities of usage status, reduce power consumption, and adjust temperature for guests to stay comfortably. Having potential to expand the market established by Airbnb, they provide their services with online reservation services and partnerships with hardware suppliers.



Eatigo operates a restaurant-searching platform in Singapore and Thailand, similar to Japanese Tabelog and Gnavi. Users can search restaurants as well as make reservations on the platform. The characteristic of their service is that they discount the price for users who make a reservation during off-peak hours, in addition to the reservation service. Thus, restaurants can acquire customers during off-peak hours.



While the tourist industry shifts from package tours to free tours, the percentage of online bookings is increasing in activities and local tours, shifting from offline booking. MyRealTrip provides a platform where tourists, local tour guides and ticket/pass providers are directly connected online. The have successfully created somevolume of business in the Asian market as a leading player. They are planning to expand their business scale by deploying their business in the inbound market mainly in Asia in addition to the outbound market.



Kakatu, a startup in Indonesia, provides an online communication platform between parents and children. Through their services, parents and children can study about communication and how to provide (receive) education. In addition to studying, smart devices play a role of media for parents and children, and they can communicate with each other on smart devices.


Bravepops Company

Bravepops Company provides an education app, “Class 123,” where students’ progress of study and their life attitude can be shared. The app has secured over 30,000 teachers worldwide as subscribers. Teachers evaluate students’ attitude at school and during classes, and share the information with parents so that they can provide effective coaching and discipline for their children. They have established a mechanism where teachers and parents cooperate with each other to coach and discipline children such as recording their behavior, and praising them if they do positive activities.



Kacific is making a magnificent attempt at providing a high-speed communication service using a communication satellite to areas not covered by service providers, such as islands in Oceania, Indonesia and the Philippines. Since it is such a niche market, no one has made an attempt to enter this market in the past. However, they sincerely persuaded customers and the players in the industry, and as a result, they succeeded in concluding big contracts with customers, which proved the demand. What they are doing is has significant societal impact since Internet access becomes possible in areas where the services used to be unavailable.



AXELSPACE, a space startup from the University of Tokyo, develops an earth-observation microsatellite with the lowest cost in the world and high reliability. They succeeded in launching the world’s first business microsatellite via a private company (Weather news) in 2011. They are planning to establish their own satellite platform in addition to tailored satellite development business. Specifically, they aim to be a platform for satellite big data business by launching 50 earth-observation microsatellites and updating images of the earth every day.


Networking Party

At the networking party, a total of 40 startups that participated in the Pitch Battle and other promising startups set up demonstration booths. At each booth, participants interacted with each other more actively in comparison to previous years. The results of the Global Startups Pitch Battle are as follows:

  • Top prize: AXELSPACE
  • Audience award: STELLASIA LED
  • GB award: eatigo and Kacific (2 winners)






GBAF2015 Speed Dating Pitch

As the first attempt of this year’s GBAF, we organized the Speed Dating Pitch, where startups introduced their activities to representatives from large corporates. They took advantage of this opportunity and had lively discussions. We can expect progress in the future. We will frequently and periodically organize events for facilitating matches between large corporates and startups in the future.