Japanese startups showcase products in NYC

NEW YORK– Last March 7, Japan Startups presented five startups from Japan. Crowd Realty, Tribus, Laxus, Machizukuri Gift and Hanasuke which took turns presenting to a packed audience at Pivotal Labs in the Chelsea area. After the presentations, the audience had the opportunity to sit down with the Japanese founders and interpreters to discuss their products and services in more detail.  

http://www.meetup.com/Japan-NYC-Startups/events/228950350/

Crowd Realty is a crowdfunding platform focused on both domestic and global real estate.  These include commercial property, the revitalization of unused land by private companies as well as the creation a new capital market of secondary deals between investors. It is said to be based on financial technology.

TRINUS structures a new value for open manufacturing. It provides the platform where superb technology and sophisticated design come together, developing product concept and selling them on e-commerce sites from crowdfunding initiatives, securing customers and investments in the process.

ES Corporation’ Laxus is an interesting concept. It allows women to borrow bags from the world’s best brands via monthly membership. Delivering cost is free and any scratches are subject to guarantee. It claims to have luxury handbags such as a Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel as you want them for an unlimited period. Whenever you’re feeling bored with your bags, you can quickly replace them with new and popular ones.

Laxus carries about 6,000 bags with insurance. One can borrow one handbag up to a month or at least one bag without limit. In one year, 25 million bags are reportedly borrowed.  Since there is not enough stock, the company is seeking funding. Plans to launch in Manhattan this summer are afoot.

Machizukuri Gift plans and develops products that make use of regional resources in rural areas. This is in an attempt to foster a sustainable economic community and promote recycling in Japan. It shows promotional videos of Japan’s various regions– as a way to “find” “improve” and “deliver” the attractiveness of rural regions in Japan.

About 60 percent of women in Japan reportedly quit their jobs after giving birth. This gave birth to Waris which is empowering Japanese women to find flexible work, especially since modern mores are changing and women are getting more opportunities to work nowadays.  

Waris helps these women find jobs for companies with a flexible working style. This means working only on certain days of the week or working remotely.  

Offering a flexible working arrangement for women seems to be working as the company’s gross sales last year $24 million. By 2020, it hopes to earn $18 million.

 

Flower concierge from Hanasuke gives recommendation flowers as a gift and delivers the best flower from select flower shops throughout Japan. Inspired by the needs of individual consumers, it creates new ways of giving flowers as a gift. For the company, flower concierge is more reliable than flower shops in one’s neighborhood and more convenient than any other flower networks.   

The flower concierge service also gives advice, helps deliver the best flowers, responds to follow-up follow up emails and sends pictures of the delivered flowers. Under its service, it has 200 selected florists in major cities in Japan.

German startups Keeeb, Night Advisor come to NY

By Dennis Clemente

German startups in New York to seek funding, gain more exposure and reach

NEW YORK–German startups Keeeb, Favendo and Night Adivsors took turns demonstrating their platforms at the German Accelerator NY last December 15 at Rise NY. 

Conrad Gulla of Keeeb got the most votes for his presentation of his platform. Touted as a personal Google for everyone, it helps you clip anything online, similar to how Evernote’s Skitch and other similar tools work but one that you can even put to good use on MS Word as well.

Gulla said the company has mostly relied on word of mouth to reach 75,000 beta users at the moment, some of them making productive use of their clips at $9 a month with large organizations paying higher for its additional services.

“We started with large organizations in mind. If we can get them into this product category, we (believe we can get the small companies),” he said.

Keeeb is hoping to get a slice of the e-commerce industry which raked in $87 billion dollars in the third quarter with 200,000 etailers enjoying that windfall. Amazon even managed to get 15% of the pie through its constant consumer innovation.

The German startup is seeking Series A funding within 3 to 6 months.

The panelists who took turns asking the presenters some questions were Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, principal of kbs+ ventures; Deepen Parikh, venture partner of Interplay Ventures and Mitchelle Kleinhandler, venture partner of  Scout Ventures.

Would you believe the GPS was invented in 1978? It certainly sparked a revolution in how people interact with the world around them. In the digital age, it has become more than just a navigation application. GPS is on Google Now, Google Maps, Foursquare, Uber and Waze.

With Favendo, David Keil said it has brought GPS indoors using beacons installed at retail stores, for instance. “Retail is just the beginning,” he said. It ultimately seeks to become the search for the physical store, even car finder.

“We are also working with hospitals now,” he said. Eventually, he wants to add airports, museums, train stations and office buildings.

The bulk of sales comes mostly from its software. Keil said Favendo has amassed $2.3 million in revenue  with 50 installations and 30,120 beacons deployed to date. The beacons cost $25 to $30 each. It charges a monthly service fee that depends on the size of the venue. Customers have to download the app.

How much do NYC venues need to earn per night? More than 250 customers but the money earned also goes to the average rental fee of $54,000 a month. That’s New York for you.

Last presenter, Johannes Herzer, CEO of Night Advisor, talked about how his company brings people to venues and how it addresses the limited time for online  marketing. Its Saas tool empowers venues and events to create and manage ad campaigns in minutes.

Since inception a year ago, it has raised $40K from angel investors, including club owners with an average revenue per customer of $165 month.

TEP International Day brings investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers from US, Asia and Europe

NEW YORK–Last September 17, the Brooklyn Borough Hall was the setting for the International Day, the last of the four-day international Transatlantic Entrepreneur (TEP) conference which brought together investors, entrepreneurs, media and policy makers from the US, Asia and Europe.

TEP 2017

Eric Adam, Brooklyn Borough president and Maria Torres Springer, president of the New York Economic Development Council, were the main speakers on September 17.

Tweaking the Emma Lazarus poem, Adams said, “Bring me your disrupted technology and apps “

It was unlike any other tech event in the city, as it featured more international companies and government representatives from Australia, Berlin, Catalonia, Hong Kong, Korea, Denmark, The Netherlands, Portugal, Taiwan and the UK.

The talks covered international expansions with guests Olaf Koch, CEO, Metro Group; Alice Cheng, founder and CEO, of Culinary Agents. Startup demos, a weekly staple in New York, was held at the main lobby.

Roundtable discussions had different sectors well represented–New Manufacturing, Fintech, Smart Cities, Connected Health and Media, with the latter perhaps the most curious one for onlookers listening in, because of the challenges it faces in light of new technologies that work, if not, perceived as a threat.

Country-specific presentations from Australia, Denmark and Korea were the most interesting, as they presented opportunities for New Yorkers to set up shop in these countries, test their products there or outsource projects in their tech-friendly ecosystems. Joseph Juhn of Kotra, the Korean government agency dedicated to helping overseas Korean small-medium enterprises, talked about how companies in New York can benefit from doing business in Korea, the most innovative country in the world.

Overall, the whole event was aimed at helping attendees connect with, present collaboration opportunities and exchange knowledge that can help entrepreneurs define actions they need to produce results anywhere they choose to do business.

Some of the startup presenters were resmio, an online marketing and reservation management for restaurants; videopath, a digital video solution that lets you easily create and publish interactive videos on the web; gokid, a carpool service for families and their kids; and panono, a way to keep your memories in 100 megapixels.

Global Innovator presents foreign startups in transit, mobile marketing, marketplace and health

WIN's Global Innovator meetup
WIN’s Global Innovator meetup

By Dennis Clemente

Where most tech startup events lump all startups without geographic distinction, Global Innovator makes it entirely clear that foreign startups has an American audience and more importantly, a panel of guests from New York’s VC world to give them feedback and possibly, funding.

The bi-monthly series is powered by the Worldwide Investor Network (WIN), a New York-based platform focused on helping early stage global tech startups shorten the path to funding and acceleration in the US market.

What also makes Global Innovator different from other tech meetups is how the whole affair has an air of formality about it, quite different from other meetups where the standard garb is T-shirt and jeans and the setup is freewheeling. Here, attendees wear suits, wine keeps flowing, press kits (even without the press in attendance, except this blogger) are provided, and just for added glamour, all the kibitzing continue to the rooftop—for VIP ticket holders. Like I said, it has an air of formality. And it helps that they have sponsors to pull this off.

Last June 25, the four foreign startups followed Global Innovator’s theme-Mobile Apps. The presenters were TransitApp, YouAppi, Gone! And Nutrino. Following the format, they presented for five minutes with no apparent time limit for VCs to give their feedback. Tanya Prive, founder of RockThePost moderated the event with WIN’s Eyal Bino opening the affair. They may consider introducing where each startup comes from.

Sam Vermette, co-founder of TransitApp, spoke about its app—how its finds your next departure instantly. Free. What makes it different from any other transit app? Instead of giving you just a schedule or map, it tells you when your public transport is nearby.

“People only want one thing: When is my ride coming?” he said.

He’s confident that in the future, people will be using more public transport, citing how China moves 2.5 billion in public transport. He’s eyeing the world. With $17 billion in fares in US and Canada, the numbers out there for his other 70 markets must be huge. His biggest market is New York.

He looks forward to the day when you can just beam your phone on any public transport system. “Our friction-less payment (method) is in prototype.”

But what makes it different from Google? “We think public transport deserves its own app where Google is the Swiss knife of apps,” he said, as he looks forward to the day also when every city has Wi-Fi.

Moshe Vaknin, founder of YouAppi, presented YouAppi, a mobile apps recommendation platform that has reportedly raise $2.2 million.

Using the YouAppi system, publishers of mobile apps, reportedly gain a simple and reliable way to target their acquisition and retention resources for the highest valued and most loyal consumers.

“YouAppi is for mobile publishers struggling to monetize their inventory using traditional banner ads,” Vaknin said.

Nico Bayerque of Gone! showed how his app works as an algorithm-powered concierge service that sells your items, pick them up, package them appropriately and fulfills them.

Addressing what he calls the 350 billion market, he is answering what’s foremost in our minds: What do we do with our junk? And suggesting why not sell them through Gone! Electronics is a best-seller.

He demonstrated how he mines pricing data using ebay, for example, to gauge how much you can sell your products lying in waste at home.

Highest worth of products Gone! has picked up and the windfall the person received for using their app: $1,600. “Once we remove anything from your house, you get paid,” he said.

Why them? He said they know the marketplace. “If you want to sell wine, for example, we know the marketplace for it.”

The last presenter was Nutrino. Using your personal and medical profile, goals and food preferences, Nutrino’s patent pending technology helps create a healthy dietary plan for you.

Nutrino adapts to you in real time, continuously improving its recommendations. It’s supposed to be the first data-driven personalized food recommendation engine in the market.

The VCs at the presentations were Danny Schultz, managing director, Gotham Ventures; Jalak Jobanputra, managing partner, FuturePerfect Ventures; Hadley Harris, founding general partner, Eniac Ventures; and Nic Poulos, principal, Bowery Capital.

The other speaker of the night was Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likeable Local and best-selling author, likened fundraising to dating.

Based on his experience, here are his fundraising tips:

• Transparency is good but not o too much

• Don’t waste your time once you know it’s not a good fit

• They’re going through the same thing you are

• Persistence is vital in any relationship worth having

• In the end it’s worth it