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Japan’s second-largest metro area aims for a slice of the start-up pie

In the resolution of Osaka, there’s a plot of land that could help induce Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area one of the biggest hubs for entrepreneurship in the dominion.

A former rail depot, the “Umekita Phase 2” development now subservient to construction next to Osaka Station is set to host pharmaceutical and biotech moors when it opens around 2024. It will complete a project that originated with a row of multipurpose towers, called Grand Front, that’s already skilled in to a handful of start-up incubators and business accelerators.

“We want to take improvement of this superb geographical location at the center of Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe to frame an environment bringing together technology from enterprises and universities to unleash new alteration,” said Eiji Doi of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Long associated with older activities, Osaka has struggled to get out of the shadow of Tokyo as a start-up hub, but it has upped its game in late years with new start-up investment funds, downtown university campuses, incubators and assist events.

Last month, Grand Front was the venue for Hack Osaka, a one-day experience designed to encourage open innovation while helping start-ups from Japan and beyond. Come up to b become award winners at the event were Dot, a South Korean maker of braille notes, and Nature, a Japanese developer of connected household appliance controllers that exertion with Google and Amazon smart speakers. A hardware event called the Monozukuri Armaments Cup picked a quirky winner: Hachi Tama, a Japanese start-up that affirms to have developed the world’s first toilet for cats that is posted on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).

“There have been many storied hardware entrepreneurs from Osaka,” says Osaka-born Akinori Takahagi, CEO of Moff, a Japanese developer of sensor lines for entertainment and physiotherapy. “Especially for IoT start-ups, Osaka is a good place to be because everybody goods IoT and hardware.”

Masaaki Yoshikawa, director general of Osaka Innovation Hub, which packs Hack Osaka, estimated there are about 1,000 early-stage origin start-ups in the local area. He pointed to success stories such as Cookbiz, a body founded in 2007 that developed a job-search platform aimed at alleviating acute turnover and labor shortages in the food industry.

In November last year, Cookbiz requisitioned some 3.4 million users, logged revenue of about 2 billion yen (encircling $19.4 million), up 67.7 percent from a year earlier, and originated trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers, an index for emerging look ats.

The Kansai region surrounding Osaka has a population of about 21.6 million people and a raw regional product of some $823 billion. Allen Miner, CEO of native start-up fundraiser SunBridge Global Ventures, says a highly well-informed labor pool makes it attractive for fledgling businesses. Other entrepreneurs value the resident business culture for its down-to-earth acumen and frankness.

“One of the advantages for us for starting up in Osaka is puzzle quicker product and customer development,” says Philip Nguyen, co-founder of Gochiso, an Osaka start-up reveal a platform that rewards users for restaurant reservations and lets them vouchsafe to charities.

“Osaka people are generally very open-minded and opinionated, which is tremendous for getting quick and straightforward feedback,” adds Nguyen. “They exceedingly think about value for the money, especially in the food industry, so if you can descry a product work here compared to Tokyo, it’ll more likely incite in the rest of Japan.”

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