SunBridge Emerging Leaders
2022 SunBridge Emerging Leaders
About Databricks

Databricks is the data and AI company. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide rely on Databricks and its Lakehouse Platform to enable massive-scale data engineering, collaborative data science, full-lifecycle machine learning and business analytics. As the world’s first and only lakehouse platform in the cloud, Databricks combines the best of data warehouses and data lakes to offer an open and unified platform for data and AI. Databricks is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices around the globe and hundreds of global partners, including Microsoft, Amazon, Tableau, Informatica, Cap Gemini and Booz Allen Hamilton.



TIER IV, a deep-tech startup based in Japan, 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) running on multiple platforms. 

As a founding member of the Autoware Foundation, TIER IV is dedicated to providing open access to autonomous driving technology such that everyone, from individuals to organisations, can participate in and contribute to a sustainable ecosystem of intelligent vehicles and autonomous driving technology for the benefit of society. 


ティアフォーは、The Autoware Foundationの設立メンバーとして、個人や組織の垣根を超え、誰もが持続可能な自動運転エコシステムの構築に参加し貢献できるよう、安全でインテリジェントな自動運転技術へのオープンアクセスの提供に専念しています。

Photo of Eric and Satoshi on stage

The Emerging Leader Award will be presented to a company having a credible Japan – U.S. link that is young, dynamic, growing, and entrepreneurial.  We expect to give one U.S. award to an American company and one Japan award to a Japanese company.   Each winning company will stand out as particularly noteworthy for some specific innovation that is beginning to show a major impact, typically through demonstrated growth so far and also great future promise.

General Characteristics Sought

Candidate companies are likely to have originated as private startups that have been in existence 5-10 years. Annual sales should have already entered onto a track of rapid growth, with most recent annual sales probably in the tens of million dollars. Japan Emerging Leaders should exhibit a similar size and growth pattern to that of U.S. Emerging Leaders, although they may have been in existence for a longer period of time in order to achieve a similar scale of demonstrated impact and future potential.

Selection Process

The Steering Committee of the Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards has the overall responsibility for the Awards, including selection process and, ultimately, the credibility of Award recipients. The Innovation Advisory Council (IAC) plays a critical role in nominating and evaluating credible companies and in ranking finalists as meritorious and truly deserving Innovation Award recipients.

1. Nomination 2. Discussion 3. Voting
Selection Criteria

The following five criteria will be used in identifying candidates and selecting the winners of the Emerging Leader U.S. Award and Emerging Leader Japan Award. We invite all interested parties to nominate an exciting company that fulfills most of these criteria, even if it does not match all of them.

  1. Impact of the company’s innovation. Is the company’s innovation causing a significant disruption or change in the demographics of a market or value chain? Evidence may include displacement of some earlier product or service, etc.

  2. Uniqueness. How unique is the company’s innovation for which it is being considered (i.e. a new product or service, business model, business strategy, or organizational structure)?

  3. Market validation. Objective measures of volume and growth in sales or profits, cash flows, market capitalization, and other demonstrable impacts will be considered in selecting each winner. For business model innovations, has the new business model been validated by the market?

  4. Future promise. What is the likelihood that the company will continue to grow rapidly in the future, achieve significant, sustainable long-term success, and be a leader in its industry?

  5. US – Japan business relevance. For U.S. companies, Japan should play a role in their business development strategy. For Japanese companies, the company should have a global strategy that includes the U.S. Evidence of prior U.S.-Japan interest is a plus.
Additional Awards

Recognizing that innovation is not predictable, and most certainly there will be exciting Japan – U.S. innovation successes in categories that cannot be predicted in advance, the Steering Committee, with the consensus of the IAC and the JSNC Board, can also decide to present awards to worthy innovators in special categories from time to time.

For example, the Steering Committee may identify a non-profit organization worthy of recognition as the recipient of an “Outstanding Social Innovator Award” for the “game changing” nature of its contribution to Society. Although the selection of such an extraordinary award may not involve a regular competition, the award may be granted with the consensus of the IAC.

In previous years, the Steering Committee and IAC honored Xerox Corporation for its 50-year partnership with Fuji – Xerox and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos for Distinguished Accomplishment.

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