Eight Artificial Intelligence Startups 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.


Cinnamon


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 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 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.


Brainpad Inc


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: NA

Select Investors: NA




Brainpad Inc. provides financial data analytics, data mining, and prediction services. The company’s prediction/analysis services consist of data analytics/prediction to suggested concrete action plans and measures; prediction scores; and machine learning/deep learning/optimization services.


LPixel


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: NA

Select Investors: NA


LPixel, a spin-out venture from the University of Tokyo, is a leader in advanced image analysis software and systems tailored to life science research. With strong emphasis on integrating top-tier technologies to its services and strong dedication to maximize research efficiency, LPixel aims to bring innovation to the world of research.


VAAK Inc.


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: NA

Select Investors: Deepcore




VAAK focuses on crime prevention business using image analysis. The startup provides “VAAKEYE” that deploys security camera analysis AI for preventing theft and shoplifting.


Edison.ai


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: NA

Select Investors: NA



Edison.ai provides tools for analyzing consumer behaviours based on photos in the social media.Such information helps brands and marketers understand their customers and develop better products.


OPTiM Corp


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: NA

Select Investors: NA



OPTiM is a leading provider of platform solutions in Smart Agriculture utilizing AI, IoT, and big data. Solutions include field information management service Agri Field Manager, greenhouse information management service Agri House Manager, robotics OPTiM Hawk, OPTiM Agri Drone, and OPTiM Crawler, a farm work recording app for achieving GAP standards Agri Assistant, produce brand for farms utilizing OPTiM technology called Smart Yasai, and the traceability platform using block chain Agri Block Chain.



Ascent Robotics


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Disclosed Funding: NA

Select Investors: SBI Investment, Bart Joseph Bradman



Ascent Robotics is a robotics / Artificial Intelligence startup developing intelligent autonomous vehicles. Ascent focuses on machine learning including but not limited to deep neural models, reinforcement learning algorithms and biologically inspired models with the goal of building general purpose learning algorithms for robotic systems.


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