Silicon Luxembourg attended the first Slush Asia event on 24th April in Tokyo. We had a chance to check out the local start-up ecosystem and talked to a number of the start-ups that were present. We present to you a start-up we came across during Slush Asia: No New Folk Studio with their smart-shoes system.
We asked founder/CEO of NNF Studio Inc. Mr Yuya Kikukawa the following questions having fallen in love with their product Orphe at first sight.
How did you come up with the idea for such a product?
I’ve been interested in musical interfaces for a long time. I was studying interface design at graduate school when I came up with the idea for Orphe. I developed it further at several “hackathons”, and won three prizes at last year’s Sonar hackathon in Barcelona. The initial inspiration came from realizing how important shoes are to dance, and how they are already used as instruments in forms of dancing like tap and flamenco.
Is the plan after crowdfunding to commercialize it?
Yes, we hope to release a commercial product next spring.
Did Slush Asia Tokyo meet your expectations?
Slush Asia Tokyo was a good opportunity to introduce our product to a lot of people and organizations involved in this field.
How healthy is the start-up ecosystem in Tokyo and co-working spaces?
In Japan there is a strong interest in making things, and also a lot of uncertainty about our economic future. This has led to a movement of new companies trying to succeed in new fields like the Internet of things ! (IoT).
Have these helped you grow your business and if so how?
We launched the company with funding from ABBALab, a company that supports IoT startups, and being able to use DMM.make, a co-working space with a well-equipped workshop, has greatly accelerated our prototyping process.
Is the wearables market in Tokyo saturated or still growing?
Right now wearables are receiving a lot of attention in Tokyo just like in other cities around the world. With the Olympics being held here in 2020, I think interest in sports will increase and the demand for wearable devices that can measure or improve athletic performance will grow.
Have you been thinking of expanding your business in the future, for example in Europe, how about Luxembourg?
We are planning to make our product available throughout Europe when it launches next year. We are currently looking for distribution partners.
Thanks to Rob Chapeskie CCO nnf studio Inc. for sharing pictures and support with this interview.