Eight Artificial Intelligence Startups in Japan

AI in Japan

​Over the past five years, startup investments in Japan have seen tremendous growth, with some estimates pegging it at >150%. Japanese start-ups benefited from domestic startup investors, look to hedge bets on new emerging technology areas, including Artificial Intelligence.

Nomura launched its first AI fund – the Nomura Japan AI Impact Strategy Fund in 2018. SBI Investment, a Japanese VC, unveiled its new $451M AI fund, focused on AI and blockchain ventures, and covering FinTech companies along with IoT, robotics and the sharing economy, which are closely aligned to AI and blockchain technologies.

A Japanese incubator, DeepCore from SoftBank has launched an Artificial Intelligence fund targeting seed and early-stage AI start-ups, with a corpus of $55M.

AI-focused ventures in Japan span across enterprise and consumer segments, and covering healthcare, finance, crime prevention, smart agriculture, among others.


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: $128 M

Select Investors: SBI Investment, FFG Venture Business Partners, ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, Sony Innovation Fund (Corporate Venture Capital of Sony), and TIS.

Cinnamon AI

Cinnamon is an artificial intelligence startup that provides Flax Scanner, an auto-documentation tool which enables users to extract information from application forms, documents, and email, and to create formatted documents.

The product understands contexts and reformats the documents from unstructured business documents and email. This tool can apply to both hand-writing and text data.

Preferred Networks

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: $2.11B

Select Investors: Toyota Motors, Fanuc, NTT, Hitachi, Hakuhodo Holdings, CISCO, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia.

Preferred Networks AI

Preferred Networks advocates Edge Heavy Computing as a way to handle the enormous amounts of data generated by devices in a distributed and collaborative manner at the edge of the network, driving innovation in three priority business areas: transportation, manufacturing and bio/healthcare. PFN develops and provides Chainer, an open source deep learning framework. PFN promotes advanced initiatives by collaborating with world leading organizations, such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Fanuc Corporation and the National Cancer Center.