TOKYO, Jan 25, 2016 - After several months of competition, three teams emerged victorious in the Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific (MCAP), an international mobile startup competition. The three winning teams, enTouch, 1Export, and SafeChats, will be heading to Barcelona, Spain in February to compete against winning teams from 5 other related regional competitions including the Arab Mobile App Challenge and the EU Mobile App Challenge in the Global Mobile Challenge at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2016. Professor Paris de l'Etraz of IE Business School commented, "We are excited to support entrepreneurship in the Asia Pacific region and look forward to welcoming the MCAP winning teams at the Global Mobile Challenge in February."
This year's MCAP regional finals were held at the second annual East Meets West Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. According to Chenoa Farnsworth, Managing Director of Blue Startups, "The East Meets West Conference brought together investors and entrepreneurs from Asia, Hawaii and North America and featured amazing international speakers, deep-dive learning opportunities, and ample networking in a tropical Startup Paradise."
The first-prize winner, enTouch, connects pharmaceutical companies to doctors in Japan via online technologies utilizing a syndicated sales team with growth ambitions to be the #1 platform connecting doctors, pharmaceuticals and patients online. The second-prize winner, 1Export, offers a mobile solutions for regulatory compliance and trade that helps small and medium enterprises in the Philippines to export their products conveniently, faster, and more cost-effectively. The third-prize winner, SafeChats from Singapore offers ultra-secure communications, teamwork and privacy with a zero learning curve and instant implementation for small businesses and individuals.
The panel of 6 judges who selected the three winners from a field of 27 finalists included Maya Rogers, CEO of Blue Planet Software, Jeffrey Char, Founder & CEO of J-Seed Ventures; David Dacus, Founder & CEO of HitPlay; Brett Brewer, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Crosscut Ventures, Rob Robinson, Founder of Hawaii Angels; and Bee Leng Chua, Executive Director of HiBEAM.
The overall vision of the MCAP competition is to create opportunities for employment for the youth; to increase dialogue between developers and industry partners; and to help evolve and accelerate innovative ideas and concepts into viable businesses. Since launching in 2014, more than 1000 teams from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia and Hawaii competed in the contest, developing mobile apps that address specific needs in education, healthcare, finance, and entertainment.
MCAP is organized by J-Seed Ventures and IE Business School. Travel expenses, prizes and the overall MCAP program are supported by the generous sponsorship of Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, Far EasTone, Softlayer, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, Peace & Equity Foundation, and Taiwan Venture Capital Association.www.mobile-asia.com
J-Seed Ventures, Inc.
TOKYO, Jan 5, 2016 - Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific (MCAP) has teamed up with Blue Startups, a TechCrunch Top 20 accelerator, to hold its regional finals in Hawaii as part of the second annual East Meets West Conference (EMW'16) on January 14-15.
Organized by J-Seed Ventures and IE Business School, the No. 1-ranked business school in Europe, MCAP attracts the hottest new mobile startups and early-stage ventures from ten countries in the Asia Pacific region. The top three ventures from MCAP country semifinals in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, China and Hawaii will present their mobile-related applications, software and hardware ideas in front of a distinguished panel of judges and peers at EMW'16.
The top three companies from the Asia Pacific region will win an opportunity to showcase their businesses on the big stage at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, February 22-25, 2016, in Barcelona, Spain. There, teams will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to tech and telecommunications giants, and rub shoulders with more than 94,000 attendees in the fast-growing mobile industry.
EMW'16 will also provide opportunities for speakers and participants from around the region to engage in deal-making, learning and networking. The cross-cultural event targets investors and entrepreneurs from Asia, Hawaii and the U.S. Mainland, with a focus on exploring global trends and growth in Asian markets.
The finalists for the MCAP competition include a broad range of mobile technologies from consumer apps to mobile interactive hardware. The State of Hawaii will host this ground-breaking gathering of talent and technology in Honolulu. A sample of companies participating:
-- enTouch connects pharmaceutical companies to doctors via online technologies (Japan).
-- We Alert aims to eradicate dengue fever & community problems with mobile app technology (Malaysia).
-- Gamenami enables small businesses and gamers to help each other through gamification (Singapore).
-- Vcool makes it easy for any iPhone user to produce a professional video with friends together, record a memory event and share (Taiwan).
-- Spincle is a mobile app to capture 360 video by spinning your smartphone in a circle (Hong Kong).
-- iFirst Medical makes smartphone based treatment and triage diagnostic devices designed to save lives at the point of injury and point of care (Hawaii).
Click Here for a complete List of MCAP Finalists https://madmimi.com/s/e36417
MCAP 2015-2016 and EMW'16 are made possible by the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation and the State of Hawaii. For more information, or to attend EMW'16, visit eastmeetswest.co.
About Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific
Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific (MCAP) is organized by J-Seed Ventures and IE Business School. The overall vision of the MCAP competition is to create opportunities for employment for youth; increase dialogue between developers and industry partners; and evolve and accelerate innovative ideas and concepts into viable businesses. Since launching in 2014, more than 350 teams from Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Malaysia have competed - developing mobile solutions that address specific needs in education, healthcare, finance, and entertainment. www.mobile-asia.com
About Blue Startups
Blue Startups is a Top 20 Accelerator in the US (Techcrunch) focused on helping scalable-technology companies compete on a global scale. With deep domain expertise in international travel technology and an extensive network in Asia, Blue Startups is fast becoming a nexus of entrepreneurial activity in Hawaii, and between Asia and Continental U.S. Blue Startups was founded by Henk Rogers, founder of the Tetris Company and Chenoa Farnsworth of Hawaii Angels in 2012 and has been a full member of the Global Accelerator Network since 2013. Blue Startups is funded by the State of Hawaii, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, and private investors. www.bluestartups.com
J-Seed Ventures is organizing another informal network party on October 19 at SCHMATZ, a fantastic German restaurant that boasts a diverse range of imported German draft and craft beers, and an impressive selection of over 10 delicious meister-made German sausages and other traditional home recipe dishes. This will be a more intimate gathering, and a great opportunity to meet up with old friends and also make some new friends.
We can only fit a maximum of 120 people due to space restrictions - so register quickly through EventBrite to secure a place: http://jseednetworkingevent.eventbrite.com/
Feel free to invite your friends and colleagues. We hope to see you there!
DATE: Monday, October 19, 2015, 6:30-10:00 p.m.
VENUE: SCHMATZ, 3-19-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052, Japan
ENTRANCE FEE: 2,000 yen (includes 2 drinks)
Tokyo, Japan, September 21, 2015 - Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific (MCAP), an international mobile startup competition, announced the launch of MCAP 2015-2016. MCAP brings together the hottest new mobile startups from across 9 countries in the Asia Pacific region to compete in the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Early-stage ventures from across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Hawaii are invited to apply to represent their respective countries at the MCAP Regional Finals to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii in January 2016. In order to qualify, all applicants should be mobile-related ventures (including services, software and hardware) that have raised less than $250,000 at the time of the applying.
In Hawaii the startups will compete against 27 other teams in front of a distinguished panel of judges and the top three startups will be selected to represent Asia Pacific at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in February 2016. MCAP 2015-2016 is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation and the State of Hawaii.
Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific (MCAP) is organized by J-Seed Ventures, IE Business School and Applied Innovation Institute. The overall vision of the MCAP competition is to create opportunities for employment for youth; increase dialogue between developers and industry partners; and evolve and accelerate innovative ideas and concepts into viable businesses. Since launching in 2014, more than 350 teams from Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Malaysia have competed - developing mobile solutions that address specific needs in education, healthcare, finance, and entertainment.
J-Seed Ventures, Inc.
July 6, 2015: International Finance Magazine -For the past two decades, Japan has been searching to get its economic mojo back. Several governments have done their bit, but nothing seems to have paid the desired dividends.
In the 1940s, the then start-ups like Honda, Nikon, Sony and many others helped Japan rise from the ashes of World War II. These world-class companies gave many Western firms a run for their money and helped Japan catch up with the First World within decades. Though even today it remains the third largest economy after US and China, Japan has been trapped in a cycle of economic stagnation and deflation since the 1990s.
A comparison of the two eras show that the missing link has been the lack of creative spirit. Hence, it is not surprising that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put startups as one of the focus points of 'Abenomics' policies. What followed was a series of reforms, including deregulation of special economic zones, which is bound to create more opportunities for entrepreneurs. The Prime Minister's intent to promote startups can be measured by the fact that he recently became the first sitting Japanese leader to visit Silicon Valley.
Hence, things have started looking up a little. "Startup activity in Japan has been on the rise, especially in the past five years. This is in large part due to the changing risk/reward structure of starting/joining a startup. Today, it is much cheaper to start a venture and an entrepreneur can finance it with equity, not debt. Even if the startup fails, the entrepreneur can survive," says C. Jeffrey Char, President & CEO, J-Seed Ventures, a Tokyo-based venture incubator and Japan market entry specialist.
However, a lot needs to be done. And it starts from changing the attitude towards failure. Abe recently admitted that "in the US and Silicon Valley, risk-takers are respected. This, I believe, is something that is most needed by Japanese businesspeople."
Terrie Lloyd, serial entrepreneur who is based in Tokyo, echoes Abe's views. "The startup environment here is underdeveloped mainly because Japanese are risk averse. From a young age,children are taught to be obedient, quiet and submissive. Hence, they grow in an environment where having a safe career is looked up to and given more priority over following your passion and starting your own firm," says Lloyd.
Beyond the attitude and psychological barriers, there are other roadblocks as well. For instance, there are not enough venture capitalists in place to support startups. "The past six years has seen more and more youngsters getting interested in startups, but there are less number of people out there supporting these startups in the form of VCs, angel investors or mentors," remarks Kaz Terada, CEO, A2O, a Tokyo-based venture capital fund.
The venture capitalist market in Japan is worth $2 billion whereas the same in the US is $30 billion in size, says Terada adding that Japanese companies still prefer IPOs to mergers and acquisitions. "In Japan, only 10-20% of companies say they want to be targeted for mergers and acquisitions, but in Silicon Valley, it's 80%," says Terada adding for Japanese the company is family whereas for young Americans the company is a tool to achieve something bigger.
Also, despite sitting on a pile of cash,large organisations do not utilise it for innovation. Open innovation as a culture has never been encouraged or emphasised upon leading to big companies losing their competitiveness in the international market.
Experts do not seem to be too impressed withthe government's efforts to improve the startup scenario. "There is a lot of talk, but not much effective action taking place.I feel lack of venture capital is not the main bottleneck to a vibrant startup ecosystem. The Japanese government has a tendency to over-regulate, which makes it difficult for ventures with innovative solutions to gain traction in the market place," says Char. Hence, an overhaul of the regulatory framework is required to reduce and remove regulations that are no longer appropriate. "Moreover, the government should stop supporting small companies and instead encourage young companies (<5 years since incorporation) since these are the ones that create employment. The government should also create a preference policy to purchase some nominal amount (e.g., 1-5%) of goods and services from startups when possible," suggests Char.
Additionally, the government should also make it easier and cheaper to shut down failed ventures. This will enable human capital, especially those with relevant startup experience to work on more productive ventures.