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Silicon Luxembourg attended Slush Asia, one of the world’s largest start-up and technology related event and met the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Tokyo. Slush, an event full of entrepreneurs sharing their experience and advice, along with start-ups and investors, a start-up pitching competition and exhibitors, originated in Helsinki, Finland, made a big move to Asia with an event in Tokyo, Japan on the 24th April 2015. Kataryzna Switalska, one of our contributor, represented Silicon Luxembourg and experienced the start-up ecosystem in Tokyo.  Thirty one speakers and more than a dozen start-ups pitched their business to potential investors amongst the thousands of delegates.

First Slush Asia in Tokyo

On the 24th April Silicon Luxembourg attended the first Slush Asia in Tokyo. Slush is one of the world’s largest start-up and technology related events, having started in Helsinki Finland in 2008 and now expanding out to Asia. The event consisted of a number of stages from which the speakers addressed the large audience and start-ups pitched their business ideas, interspersed with stalls where companies exhibited their offerings. Discussion continued in the cosy Cafe Slush where speakers continued the dialogue by answering further questions from attendees. Set slightly aside was an area where start-ups could conduct meetings with potential investors. Among the attendees were political figures from Japan.

The winners of the start-up pitching competition were Taiwan based FMFive with their AdPlay product which allows gamers to test drive a game prior to buying it and helps game producers advertise their products. This win will help with their plans to open an office in Tokyo. Second place went to fastmedia inc. with a product that simplifies app creation in both Android and iOS, third went to FOVE with an eye tracking virtual reality headset.

A few of the emerging technologies and other start-ups that caught our eye at Slush Asia: FOVE eye tracking virtual reality headset, NFF (no new folk studio) with their smart-shoes system with customizable lightning system or Enevo a waste monitoring solution.

Start-up trends in Tokyo

We noted that start-up and new venture creation in Tokyo centres very much around Internet of Things (IoT), robots, drones, virtual reality and wearables technology. There is also a big component involved in FinTech, gaming and services. Lots of new ventures take advantage of and profit from co-working spaces and labs. Tech Lab Paak and DMM.make Akiba being a couple of examples of these spaces, both of these have great locations and a thriving community. Crowdfunding is a very popular and common source of funding.

Shortly before attending Slush Asia we visited the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office Tokyo housed in the Embassy of Luxembourg to present Silicon Luxembourg to a number of Japanese start-ups.

The Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office Tokyo housed in the Embassy of Luxembourg organized a meeting where we had the opportunity to present Silicon Luxembourg to start-ups, companies that will attend ICT Spring and also those interested in the Luxembourg market in general. Seven enterprises were represented at the meeting; Royal Gate, NTT Data, Capy, Japan Digital Monetary Association, bitFlyer, Creww and BizDev. The majority being active in the FinTech and IT Security fields. It was noted that a major attraction for Japanese start-ups is the ICT Spring event hosted in Luxembourg with most of those present confirming they plan to attend.

This was a great opportunity to present the Luxembourg start-up scene along with the FinTech ecosystem and indulge in some good networking. The attendees present demonstrated high interest in the Luxembourg Fintech and IT industry and asked excellent questions. Other Japanese start-ups and companies also plan on attending ICT Spring including Vestra that has plans to not only open an office but move its HQ to Luxembourg at the same time. BankGuard and AirRegi, one of the main partners at Slush Asia, will also attend the ICT Spring.

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