“Tokyo‘s startup ecosystem has been expanding through digitalization in various industries. Tokyo launched the Tokyo Consortium in 2020, and is working as a leading member of a strong community of more than 500 companies, investors, incubators, universities, governments, and more to enter the new era together with startups.”
Tokyo aims to become “the most startup-friendly” city in the world with a goal of growing the number of unicorns and new business launches in the capital 10X over five years. The plan calls for the number of startups to increase from about 10,000 to 100,000, with 100 of these being unicorns. The Japanese government is dedicating ¥10 trillion ($72.4 billion) to meet this ambitious target. It has earmarked ¥100 billion ($734 million) to support Deep Tech-related startups and ¥300 billion ($2.2 billion) to support drug discovery-related startups.
The Tokyo government plans to support high-growth companies by establishing a major hub for startups, universities, VCs, and support organizations, as well as by making it easier for startups to participate in public procurement. The hub, which will be able to house approximately 1,000 institutions, is set to open in 2024. In July 2022, global sensing technology company i-PRO announced that it is opening a global headquarters in Tokyo. Launched in February 2023, the Fujitsu Web3 Acceleration Platform offers a developmental environment as well as various service APIs for startups, partner companies, and universities building Web3 applications and services.
Tokyo Bay eSG, “the world’s first ESG city,” will be completed by 2050 and aims to attract ESG-focused VCs and startups from around the world. All of the city’s energy needs will be met by renewable energy, while buildings and transport systems will produce zero emissions.City-Tech.Tokyo, an event promoting Tokyo's new startup strategy, took place in February 2023.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics
The International Robot Exhibition, one of the largest robot exhibitions in the world, is scheduled for November 2023. In 2022, the event was attended by more than 62,000 visitors.Ascent Robotics raised a ¥1 billion ($7.2 million) Series B in January 2022. AI manufacturing company Adacotech raised a ¥1.1 billion ($8 million) Series B in April 2022. ROMS, a maker of automated retail and supply chain solutions, raised ¥1.2 billion ($8.6 million) in venture funding in September 2022.
Tokyo was ranked #7 in CEOWORLD’s list of the world’s leading international financial centers. The Fintech Association of Japan has partnered with Fintech Australia, Asosiasi Fintech Syariah Indonesia, and Fintech Saudi to make the Japanese Fintech ecosystem more globally connected. The Bank of Japan launched a pilot “digital yen” in April 2023. Under the Tokyo Market Entry scheme, Fintech companies focused on sustainability are eligible for subsidies in Tokyo. Digital asset trading platform BITPointJapan was acquired by SBI Holdings for $99 million in May 2022.
Greater Tokyo Biocommunity (GTB) is composed of 45 organizations, including local governments, universities, research institutes, and investors. Japan Life Science Week 2023 took place in Tokyo in April. In February 2022, Belgian VC firm Newton Biocapital launched a €150 million fund to harness synergies between European and Japanese Life Sciences startups. Cyfuse Biomedical raised ¥2.85 billion ($20.8 million) in a December 2022 IPO. Biotechnology company LUCA Science raised a ¥3.9 billion ($30.3 million) Series B in June 2022.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Tokyo
Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and much of this activity is concentrated in Tokyo. Tokyo’s stock market boasts high-quality liquidity: there are 3,700 listed companies (second in the world); the total market value is ¥600 trillion ($4.4 trillion and third in the world); and stock trading value per day is ¥3 trillion ($22.3 million and first in Asia).
The e-Business Concierge chatbot provides English information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Business Development Center TOKYO offers support to foreign companies considering expansion in Tokyo. The Fundraising Support for Foreign Entrepreneurs Project provides financial support to foreign entrepreneurs. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Special Zone system makes it easier for foreigners to start a business here.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Deloitte Tohmatsu Group (Deloitte Japan) provides audit and assurance, risk advisory, consulting, financial advisory, tax, legal and related services in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. With approximately 17,000 people in about 30 cities throughout Japan, its clients include multinational enterprises and major Japanese businesses. Deloitte Japan has supported 3,000 startups in Japan and champions the Tokyo ecosystem through Morning Pitch and open-innovation support for large companies. Deloitte Japan was entrusted with the Tokyo Innovation Ecosystem Formation Promotion Support Initiative for FY 2022.
Key Ecosystem Players
The University of Tokyo
News from the Ecosystem
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