A Day at the 2022 Japan-U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium

On Thursday, July 14th, the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center at Stanford University buzzed with introductions and networking as people gathered for the 2022 Japan-U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium. This was the first in-person symposium since 2019, due to COVID. Hosted by the Japan Society of Northern California and the Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center, the event’s mission is to encourage Japan-U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship by awarding companies with Japan-U.S. connections for their noteworthy innovations in business or technology. 

The exciting day kicked off with Keynote Speaker Cal Henderson, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of Slack. Decked out in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, an expression of Silicon Valley fashion and culture, Henderson described Slack’s presence in Japan and the role the company plays in the future of work. Jon Metzler, a member of the Japan Society of Northern California board and a lecturer at UC Berkeley, hosted the fireside chat. 

Allen Miner, founder and chairman of the SunBridge Group, announced the SunBridge Emerging Leader Awardees: Databricks and TIER IV. Matei Zaharia, the co-founder and chief technologist of Databricks, and Daisuke Tanaka, the COO of TIER IV, accepted the prestigious awards and presented on their companies. San Francisco-based Databricks is a data and AI company with offices around the globe that enables massive-scale data engineering with its Lakehouse Platform in the cloud. Tier IV is a deep-tech startup based in Japan and the creator of Autoware — the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving. 

To discuss the importance of women in tech was Radhika Krishnan, global chief product officer of Hitachi Vantara. Michi Kaifu, CEO of ENOTECH Consulting, joined the conversation. Krishnan described her own experiences and struggles as a woman in the tech industry and described the importance of female empowerment in STEM. 

Last, but certainly not least, was the Innovation Showcase presentation, which recognizes five exciting startups at earlier stages of development with the potential to be disruptive and transformational. This year’s awardees were: CureApp, GITAI, Kyoto Fusioneering, Telexistence, and WARPSPACE. To accept the awards were: 

  • Kohta Satake, CEO of CureApp 
  • Yuto Nakanishi, Chief Robotics Officer of GITAI 
  • Shutaro Takeda, Co-Founder & Chief Strategist of Kyoto Fusioneering 
  • Aya Ishikawa, Chief People Officer of Telexistence 
  • WARPSPACE, Chief Strategy Officer of WARPSPACE 

After the event, guests were free to mingle and network, as well as enjoy light snacks and refreshments. The Innovation Showcase awardees had booths set up for guests to inquire about their companies and answer questions one-on-one. 

The 2022 Japan-U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium was a success, serving as inspiration for future innovators and entrepreneurs as well as bolstering friendship between Japan and the U.S. Until next time!

Five Japanese Startup Companies to be Featured in Innovation Showcase of 2022 Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program

The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program is proud to announce five exciting Japanese startup companies that will be featured in the Innovation Showcase of the annual Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium on July 14, 2022.

The Innovation Showcase recognizes up to five Japanese startup companies built around exciting new technologies and innovative business ideas that have the potential for major worldwide impact. Showcase companies are selected from a pool of over 100 nominees through stringent review, discussion, and voting by the Innovation Advisory Council of the Awards Program, a distinguished 54-person committee of venture investors, successful entrepreneurs, company executives, and academic experts in the U.S. and Japan (for member list, please click here).

The 2022 Innovation Showcase companies are:
CureApp – digital therapeutics
GITAI – robotics for space development
Kyoto Fusioneering – technology supporting fusion energy
Telexistence – remote-controlled robots with AI technology
WARPSPACE – inter-satellite optical communication network for earth observation satellites

The Innovation Showcase will take place at the Innovation Awards Symposium on July 14, 2022. The program will also feature a keynote presentation by Mr. Cal Henderson, co-founder and CTO of Slack Technologies, Inc.

Registration for the Symposium is open and includes admission to the program, a box lunch, and access to networking. The Awards Program will present the SunBridge Emerging Leader Award to one Japanese and one U.S. firm that are already beginning to transform a worldwide industry or value chain; 2022 Emerging Leader Awards go to Databricks (U.S.) and TIER IV (Japan).

Details on the 2022 Innovation Showcase companies:

CureApp
CureApp develops evidence-based software programs in therapeutic areas such as nicotine addiction, hypertension, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), alcohol reduction, and cancer management. It is the first software app approved as a medical device in Japan and the first app addressing hypertension in the world.

GITAI
GITAI is a space robotics startup that aims to provide an affordable and safe means of labor in space.

Kyoto Fusioneering
Kyoto Fusioneering develops technologies for public and private fusion reactors, including gyrotron systems, tritium fuel cycle technologies and breeding blankets for tritium production and power generation. Kyoto Fusioneering is a privately funded technology start-up founded in 2019, with its headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. The company is focused on developing advanced technologies for commercial fusion reactors, including gyrotron systems, tritium fuel cycle technologies, and breeding blankets for tritium production and power generation. Kyoto Fusioneering is developing innovative solutions that are simultaneously high-performance and commercially viable. Supporting both public and private fusion developers around the world, the company is accelerating the realization of fusion as the ultimate energy source for humankind.

Telexistence
Telexistence is powered by a development team constantly advancing and curating cutting-edge hardware, software, robotics, and automation technology in-house to materialize a vision, in which humankind is freed from repetitive work and our collective creativity is unleashed to its maximum potential.

WARPSPACE
WARPSPACE is a Tsukuba University spin-off startup developing an optical inter-satellite data relay service in medium Earth orbit called WarpHub InterSat. This innovative technology will allow Earth observation satellite operators to quickly move large volumes of data from space to the ground at the very time when they need their data.

The organizers:

Japan Society of Northern California
Since its founding in 1905, the Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) has advanced U.S. – Japan mutual understanding in a global context. The Society offers an array of programs and networking opportunities for people and organizations in the Bay Area with a strong interest in Japan. It is the go-to place for U.S. – Japan insights, opportunities, collaboration, and networking. The Society is a dynamic link connecting the world-renowned innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem of San Francisco/Silicon Valley to a resurgent Japan.

Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center
The US-Asia Technology Management Center (US-ATMC) is an industry-funded center in Stanford University under the Stanford Global Studies initiative. Established in 1992, the US-ATMC conducts education and research into innovation and emerging business trends in technology-intensive industries. Its courses and public programs provide Stanford students and the Silicon Valley community with knowledge and analytical capabilities that are important to global success in high-tech fields in the 21st century.

Registration and additional information are available on our website.

Slack Co-Founder and CTO Cal Henderson is Keynote Speaker at 2022 Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, June 17, 2022 ⁠— The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program proudly announces Slack Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Cal Henderson as the keynote speaker at the Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium on July 14, 2022. Now in its 12th year, the annual Symposium is the largest event in the year-round Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program, which is produced by the Japan Society of Northern California in cooperation with the Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center.

As Co-Founder and CTO of Slack, Cal Henderson oversees the company’s world-class engineering team and sets the technical vision for the company. In 2019, he was named a Fortune 40 Under 40 honoree and recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. Previously, Cal built and led the engineering teams at Flickr, through its acquisition by Yahoo. An experienced technology leader and a popular speaker on engineering scalability, he authored the best-selling O’Reilly Media book Building Scalable Websites. Cal was also a pioneer in the use of web APIs, and created the basis for OAuth and oEmbed, now used by YouTube, Twitter and many others. Cal was involved in London’s early online network through his work with digital creative communities and the blogosphere. He has a BS in Computer Science and has received an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University. He now resides in San Francisco.

The 2022 Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium will take place at Stanford University’s Arrillaga Alumni Center. The Symposium will include the presentation of the SunBridge Emerging Leader Awards to two late-stage growth companies that are transforming an industry or value chain, and the Innovation Showcase featuring five exciting Japanese startup companies of interest to Silicon Valley and world audiences. The 2022 SunBridge Emerging Leader Award – U.S. winner is Databricks, the data and AI company and pioneer of the data lakehouse program, while the SunBridge Emerging Leader Award – Japan goes to TIER IV, creator of Autoware, the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving. The Showcase awardees will be announced in a subsequent press release.

The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program, which is the longest running program in the Bay Area that highlights innovation and entrepreneurship links between Silicon Valley and Japan, has recognized over 43 outstanding U.S. and Japanese companies with unique technologies and business ideas that are disrupting their respective sectors. For more information on the Symposium, including speakers and participants, and to register, please visit: https://www.usjinnovate.org/.

The organizers:

Japan Society of Northern California
Since its founding in 1905, the Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) has advanced U.S. – Japan mutual understanding in a global context. The Society offers an array of programs and networking opportunities for people and organizations in the Bay Area with a strong interest in Japan. It is the go-to place for U.S. – Japan insights, opportunities, collaboration, and networking. The Society is a dynamic link connecting the world-renowned innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem of San Francisco/Silicon Valley to a resurgent Japan.

Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center
The US-Asia Technology Management Center (US-ATMC) is an industry-funded center in Stanford University under the Stanford Global Studies initiative. Established in 1992, the US-ATMC conducts education and research into innovation and emerging business trends in technology-intensive industries. Its courses and public programs provide Stanford students and the Silicon Valley community with knowledge and analytical capabilities that are important to global success in high-tech fields in the 21st century.

Databricks and TIER IV to Receive SunBridge Emerging Leader Awards at 2022 Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium

The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program proudly announces the winners of the SunBridge Emerging Leader Award for 2022. Each year, this award recognizes one innovative high-growth company from Japan and one from the U.S. that are already beginning to transform a major industry or value chain.

The 2022 SunBridge Emerging Leader Award – U.S. winner is Databricks, the data and AI company and pioneer of the data lakehouse program, while the SunBridge Emerging Leader Award – Japan goes to TIER IV, creator of Autoware, the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving.

The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program, the longest running annual program in the Bay Area celebrating the links between Silicon Valley and Japan innovation, is produced by the Japan Society of Northern California in cooperation with the Stanford University U.S.-Asia Technology Management Center.

Databricks Co-Founder and Chief Technologist Matei Zaharia and TIER IV COO Daisuke Tanaka will accept their awards at the 2022 Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium on July 14, 2022, which will also include a panel discussion on innovation by top executives of the two firms. This year the Symposium will return to an in-person format at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center on the Stanford University campus.

Awarded every year since 2011, prior U.S. winners of the Emerging Leader Award include: Tesla Motors (2011), Square (2012), Zoom Video Communications (2019), and Color (2021). Prior Japan winners include SanBio (2011), which later had Japan’s largest IPO, Line Corporation (2014), Preferred Networks (2017), which became Japan’s first unicorn, and Astroscale (2021).

The Emerging Leader Awards are sponsored by SunBridge Corporation, the premier partner and investment firm for leading enterprise IT companies to enter the Japan market. SunBridge Founder and Chairman Allen Miner helped create the Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program 12 years ago and served as the first Chair of the Awards Program Steering Committee.

For more information about the Symposium, including speakers and participants, and to register, click here.

Databricks supports more than 7,000 organizations worldwide with its lakehouse platform, which combines the best elements of data lakes and data warehouses to deliver the reliability, strong governance and performance of data warehouses with the openness, flexibility and machine learning support of data lakes. By pioneering this unified approach to the modern data stack, Databricks empowers its customers to eliminate the data silos that traditionally separate and complicate data engineering, analytics, BI, data science and machine learning to operate more efficiently and innovate faster.

TIER IV is the creator of Autoware, the world’s first open-source software for autonomous driving, and provides full-stack solutions for the commercialization of intelligent vehicles based on the Autoware-defined Autonomous Driving Kit (ADK) which runs on multiple platforms. Autoware is currently used by hundreds of companies globally, with field operation tests run in about 20 countries, implemented with 30 different types of vehicles. As a founding member of the Autoware Foundation, TIER IV is dedicated to providing open access to autonomous driving technology so that everyone, from individuals to organizations, can participate in and contribute to a sustainable ecosystem of intelligent vehicles and autonomous driving technology for the benefit of society.

The organizers:

Japan Society of Northern California
Since its founding in 1905, the Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) has advanced U.S. – Japan mutual understanding in a global context. The Society offers an array of programs and networking opportunities for people and organizations in the Bay Area with a strong interest in Japan. It is the go-to place for U.S. – Japan insights, opportunities, collaboration, and networking. The Society is a dynamic link connecting the world-renowned innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem of San Francisco/Silicon Valley to a resurgent Japan.

Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center
The US-Asia Technology Management Center (US-ATMC) is an industry-funded center in Stanford University under the Stanford Global Studies initiative. Established in 1992, the US-ATMC conducts education and research into innovation and emerging business trends in technology-intensive industries. Its courses and public programs provide Stanford students and the Silicon Valley community with knowledge and analytical capabilities that are important to global success in high-tech fields in the 21st century.

To read the full press release, click here.

2022 Japan-U.S. Innovation Awards Nominations Now CLOSED

Nominations are closed for 2022. Thank you for your submissions!

Welcome! We are currently inviting anyone who would like to nominate companies for the Emerging Leader and Innovation Showcase Awards for the 2022 Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards!

The Innovation Initiative, begun in 2011, highlights an increasingly important area of cooperation between Japan and the U.S. – in particular with Northern California. Through this effort JSNC seeks to encourage productive Japan – U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship, to provide role models for future innovators and to spotlight Japanese creativity and vitality often overlooked by U.S. media. This Initiative complements U.S. – Japan government–to– government dialogue and other efforts that promote innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation.

Emerging Leader Awards will be presented to a later stage Japanese and a U.S. company that demonstrates fast growth, unique, disruptive technology and a capacity to disrupt and transform an industry or value chain.

The Innovation Showcase will select up to five exciting Japanese start-up companies that exhibit noteworthy potential.

This form will allow you to nominate an American or Japanese company for recognition in one of our three award categories. Please refer to the text below for the selection criteria.

Innovation Awards Symposium

The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium is the signature event of the Innovation Awards Program, organized by the Japan Society of Northern California in cooperation with the US – Asia Technology Management Center of Stanford University.

Each year, two companies (one each from Japan and the U.S.) receive the SunBridge Emerging Leader award for technological innovations deemed to be disrupting their markets.