Latest JR West Innovations News
Jul 30, 2020
30-Jul-2020by Meghan Bridges We are now in the last week of our application period. With applications closing on August 7th, there are only a few days left for you to finish your application. As we are in the final stages of accepting applications, and after finishing our webinars, we want to take some time and share the answers to some of the frequently asked questions we have gotten during our webinars. With the current global pandemic, how will the SBC Scale Osaka program be run this year? The SBC Scale Osaka team and partners to the program are already prepared to both run the program semi-remote or fully-remote. Currently we are keeping a close eye on the status of everything, and will make the final decision around September 4th. Who are the potential partners that we could potentially run a project with during the SBC Scale Osaka program? We have 7 conglomerate partners, Hankyu Corporation, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dentsu, JR West Innovations, JT, Sakura Internet and SMBC. Hankyu Corporation is a Japanese railway operator and is one of the core companies of the Hankyu Hanshin Holdings Group. The HHH Group conducts business in the seven core segments of urban transportation, real estate, entertainment, information and communication technology, travel, international transportation and hotels. They are striving to drive innovation to improve people’s lifestyles by providing “safety and comfort” and “dreams and excitement”. Dentsu is in the top 5 largest advertising networks globally. Their influences ranges across many different business spheres and holds large potential. They are looking to explore foodtech, adtech and sportstech within Osaka/Kansai and hope to bring about innovative ideas for the future development business in Osaka/Kansai. JR West Group is a giant operating across transport, real estate, retail and other businesses with just under US$30B in total assets. JR West Innovations is the CVC of the JR West group, and they focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and exploring new potential angles that will support the JR West Group. The Yomiuri Shimbun is a leading Japanese media group issuing about 8 million daily newspapers, the largest number in the world. As well as their news and media outlets, The Yomiuri Shimbun also owns a series of different branches in sports, esports, travel and entertainment, which are eager to adopt and develop new innovation. JT Group is currently engaged in tobacco, pharmaceutical and food businesses, with operations in over 130 countries. Sakura Internet is Japan’s largest Web Hosting provider, leading as a data center business with high capacity backbone, a high-speed internetwork and technologically advanced facilities. They are looking to support innovative ideas to help them grow. SMBC is one of Japan’s largest financial institutions with an extensive domestic and global footprint. They are hoping to assist innovative ideas and help companies build a network that would support them in the future. You can learn more about them here . You can also learn a little about what our partners are looking for in this blog post . What does the program schedule look like? The program is scheduled to run from November 23rd to February 26th. You can see the overview of the program structure below: What is the application process? Once you have submitted your application to us, we will immediately review your application and share it with our partners. If the partners see a potential for collaboration, we will contact you to set up an interview. After the interview, the potential to collaborate would be evaluated, and further calls will be set up as needed before the Partners start selecting the Top 50, Top 20 and finally the Top 10 who will be joining the program. What costs are involved in joining the program? Our program is equity- and fee-free. We do not charge startups anything for taking part. The only potential costs involved would be your own business costs, and any travel costs should you travel to Osaka. Will my PoC be paid for? / Will the Partners cover my costs? This is case by case, and is dependent on the Partner and PoC. Last year, 7 out of 14 PoC’s were paid for. Will the Partners invest in me? Partners are not guaranteed to invest, but it is a possibility. We do introduce startups in our program to potential investors during networking events and our Demo Day. What sections within the (theme) vertical are you looking for? We have done a blog post exploring what areas we are scouting for in our Smart Cities and Living theme. You can read the post here . What stage startups are you looking for? Generally, we look for startups who are at a growth or scale stage. These are startups that are ready to start looking into expansion and exploring new markets. There isn’t a specific number or criteria for this, especially since our Partner are all looking for slightly different things. Some Partners are willing to work with seed-stage and to build up with them, while other are looking for a more trial-and-tested solution which tends to come with a more mature startup. How can I make my application a success? Successful applications are detailed applications. Based off of the applicants last year, and those who were selected, the best performing applications were those who explained in detail what they did, shared case studies or past experiences with their product, explored the previous successes of the founder of the company and were able to introduce potential collaborative ideas for the PoC. You can also learn a little bit of advice on how to work with the Japanese companies from our first cohort on our blog here , here and here . How will you help me with the cultural aspect of the Japan Market Entry? We provide cultural information and support throughout the entire program. This is done via: An info pack on Japan that you receive by applying to the program In depth workshops on the business culture in Japan and how to navigate it Constant support from the SBC team throughout all your meetings and correspondence with your partners. This covers all the frequently asked questions we have gotten during the application period. We hope that you found answers to the questions you had here, and if not, feel free to reach out to us and ask. You can find more information about our program via these slides . We look forward to seeing your application! Sign up now:
JR West Innovations Team
1 Team Member
JR West Innovations has 1 team member, including current Chief Executive Officer, Hideo Okuda.