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!

Photo © Mark Shigenaga

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.