The countdown has begun: Five of the most promising Japanese startups will be in Silicon Valley on November 3rd for JapanNight VIII – the oldest and biggest startup pitch competition showcasing Japanese hardware and software innovations.
Triumphing over hundreds of other applicants, twelve startups were narrowed down to five in early October at the JapanNight VIII semi-finals in Tokyo. Now, the top five will be flown over to San Francisco to present to a local tech-savvy audience. Their final performance will be ranked by Silicon Valley VC judges.
The Final Five
In the order of their semi-final rank – and note that this is subject to complete change in the finals!
Comic English is a story-based English learning startup that puts together AI driven chatbots, online mini-games and motivating game loops to create a stimulating language learning experience.
Language learning is a huge industry and is perfect communication-based games. Comic English integrates with messenger apps like LINE and WeChat, and bridges machine learning with games and language education.
Drivemode is focused on making technology safer and easier to use in the car, starting with the smartphone. The Drivemode app transforms your phone into the car’s central computing device. Their “no look” interface allows you to focus on the road ahead, not your phone, while accessing music, navigation, calls, texts and more.
The beauty of Drivemode is that it works in any car, eliminating the need for a pricey upgrade, and it is free. The startup envisions a future where you will be able to customize and upgrade your car with the latest apps and services as well as safety features like backup cameras or blind spot sensors, all through your smartphone.
Spacemarket is an online venue marketplace that provides a large and unique selection of locations for all types of events. Users are able to search and book directly on the website or app. You can filter venues in three ways: date, budget and location. One of Spacemarket’s key selling points is their unique venue selection which includes spaces like traditional temples, movie theaters or sail boats.
Below is an example of one of the spaces you can rent: a train carriage for a daily rate of 300,000 yen.
Image credit: Spacemarket
Colavi aims to own the bilingual video production market in Japan and abroad. The startup looks to fundamentally change the way that online videos are produced – by replacing videographers, producers and video editors with technology, and making the entire process of bilingual video production nearly automatic.
The new service allows the user to create an effective story-telling video in English without needing any video or language professionals. The system will guide the user to shoot necessary footage with a smartphone and provide information in Japanese. Soon, the user will receive an edited video with English subtitles and/or narration, which is ready to be published anywhere on the Web.
Image credit: Colavi
HiNative is a service that connects you with native speakers of a language. It enables you to get quick feedback on how to formulate phrases, and whether the way you’re communicating is accurate. Users can provide feedback on whether your phrasing sounds natural or not, and what the difference is between two similar phrases.
You can also ask any other question you’re curious about, such as cultural customs or information about a country you’re visiting. HiNative supports 120 languages.
Featured Image Photography by: Mark Avery