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Google launching startup accelerator, campus in Tokyo, Japan

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Today Google announces that it is opening the Google for Startups Campus in Tokyo, Japan, which will also include a startup accelerator.

“The new Campus means we’re better able to help many more founders as they take their ventures forward. It’s co-located with our new office in Shibuya, so we can offer Google training, mentoring and tools,” the Google blog post from today reads.

The Tokyo Campus will also house a three-month AI bootcamp for startups. The goal of the accelerator program is to give founders with established products the tools to prepare for the next phase of growth, and ultimately contribute to a stronger Japanese economy.

AI and machine learning will be the focus of the accelerator with the aim of applying the technology to tackle social, economic and environmental challenges in Japan — a country that has produced two unicorns as of 2018 — Mercari and Preferred Networks.

According to Statista, “High-growth ventures [in Japan] have also emerged in biotech, gaming, media, logistics, FinTech and artificial intelligence, with Tokyo still being the largest focal point.”

Google added that its first office outside the US was opened 18 years ago in Japan and that the tech giant is also helping Japanese businesses adopt cloud computing.

“We’re supporting AI research at academic institutions and universities. And we’ve committed to train 10 million Japanese workers in digital skills by 2022, through the Grow with Google program we launched earlier this year.”

Applications for the startup accelerator in Tokyo open today and close on December 13. Startups move into the campus beginning in February, 2020.

Benefits include:

  • Access to support from 15+ Google teams
  • Support on high-level company and product strategy
  • Free usage of Campus Tokyo
  • Equity-free support
  • Close partnership with Google for 3 months
  • Access to Google experts and mentors

Google is looking for teams:

  • Stacked with technical and business functions.
  • Solving a meaningful/big problem with an AI/ML solution.
  • Who have a product launched in the market, with demonstrated traction and potential for scalability.
  • With revenue or funding (6+ month runway).
  • Who are willing to share knowledge and contribute to the growth of Campus community and the broader ecosystem.
  • With high potential for scalability and impact.
  • Founders must speak English.

According to an interview in e27, Japan’s startup ecosystem “has yet to fully mature,” and Statista reports, “Japan’s startup ecosystem is still nascent.”

“While venture capital investment in the US exceeded 99 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, domestic startups in Japan received only about 164 billion Japanese yen in venture capital, equaling about 1.5 billion US dollars.”

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co