#Asia 6 rising startups in Japan


This week saw a huge variety of local startups getting early funding, with players in AI, online entertainment, virtual reality, and digitized services getting picked up.

Bitstar by Bizcast

Bizcast, the operator of advertising and talent-management service Bitstar, found itself with a sizable US$2.7 million investment from Global Brain last week.

Bizcast describes the service as an “Influencer Support Platform.” What this means in practice is that Bitstar forms partnerships between content-creators and interested companies to the benefit of both parties. Rising YouTube stars can leverage Bitstar’s advertising and marketing expertise free of charge as long as they have over 1,000 subscribers, and the service doesn’t take a cut from the channels they support.


Aising is already making itself known for its proprietary algorithm “Deep Binary Tree”. Firms can purchase the services of Aising’s AI for a subscription fee in addition to royalties on the products it is used for. The program’s specialty is simulating and making predictions of mechanical motions, such as the industrial robots found in car factories.

Aising also has a hand in hardware with the Deep Binary Tree software pre-installed, allowing for ready-made construction of products ranging from industrial robots to home automation systems. TechAccel Ventures saw promise in the project and infused it with over US$1.7 million on Thursday.

Japan Foodie

Japan Foodie, also known as Nihon-bishoku, wrapped up a pre-Series A round of investment with a sum total of just under US$900,000. Eight investors including innovation lecturer Ikuo Nishioka, MS Capital’s Yuan Xiaohan, and former Colopl Vice President Kotaro Chiba participated in the round.

Eating out in Japan can be difficult with no Japanese, so Japan Foodie’s app aims to target tourists and foreigners to make it easier for them. The app lets users browse restaurants, make reservations, and order in advance all in their native language. The firm turns a profit by letting restaurants subscribe for the service in a bid for publicity and an influx of new customers.


Pulit is a media delivery service that aims to usurp current industry leaders with a new distribution model. Content-producers that partake in the service can upload to Pulit’s P2P network, which provides direct-access links to users where they can watch videos in their device’s native format. The service includes robust anti-piracy measures and DRM, allowing content-providers to control who sees their product and in what amount.

The platform’s ease of use for consumers and IP-protection abilities for producers seem to have caught the eye of two unnamed firms, who invested a total of US$900K in the project.


Vaqso was founded by the scent-technology guru Kentaro Kawaguchi of Zaaz. The startup is working to incorporate realistic smells into virtual reality.

You can magnetically attach a Vaqso pack to a virtual reality headset of any kind to add smells to the experience. While still in the prototype stage, they are rapidly expanding the varieties of smells available from a single cartridge. The project aims to be ready for use in video games, movies, and advertising, but at present it is mostly being used as a promotional tool for foodstuffs and restaurants.

Waseda affiliated venture capital firm Weru Investment caught a whiff of the project’s potential and jumped on board in a seed round of roughly US$600K, as reported by The Bridge.


This week saw another entrant into the digital English education market getting funded. Flamingo scooped up an undisclosed investment from Mercari, as well as Freakout President Yusuke Sato, CTO of Nanapi Shuichi Wada, and CEO of Campfire Kazuma Ieiri.

Flamingo’s model is a lot like a dating app: students get a pool of teachers and pick the ones they like, while teachers have the freedom to choose students based on their profiles and requests.

The app allows students and teachers to schedule face-to-face lessons and decide on lesson content however they like. This investment comes after a successful beta and funding from East Ventures last year. (Disclosure: East Ventures is also an investor in Tech in Asia. See our ethics statement for more info).

Meet more rising stars at #tiatokyo2017

Editors Note: These startups are featured because they have acquired funding, and are not necessarily attending Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017.

If you are interested in meeting other rising startups like them in Japan and beyond, you might want to look into Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017’s Bootstrap Alley because over 150 startups who are on the up-and-up will be exhibiting this September 27 & 28!

It is the final week of our 1-for-1 ticket promotion, and you’re still in time to attend our conference at half the price when you sign up for your 1-for-1 code by this Friday, 30 June. This is the best price you’ll ever get and prices will only increase, so don’t miss this!

If you can’t make use of the 1-for-1, we’ve still got you covered. You can shave 25 percent off your conference pass with the code tiatokyo25 until July 7, 2359 hrs (GMT +9).

Converted from Japanese Yen. Rate: US$1 = JPY 111.5

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