Five Exceptional Japanese Startups Featured at Japan – US Innovation Awards Program: Innovation Showcase

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San Francisco, CA – The Japan-US Innovation Awards Program proudly announces the selection of five exciting Japanese startup companies to be featured in the 2020 Innovation Showcase. The Innovation Showcase connects Silicon Valley audiences with young, rapidly growing companies in Japan built around exciting technologies and business ideas that have exceptional potential for major worldwide impact. The Showcase thus highlights the rapidly growing but sometimes overlooked landscape of highly innovative entrepreneurship in Japan.

Founders and top executives of the 2020 Innovation Showcase companies will present their companies at the 10th annual Japan-US Innovation Awards Symposium. This year, the Showcase will be held online on July 21 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, with following breakout networking sessions until 7:30 pm, Pacific Time ( = Wednesday, July 22 from 8:30 am in Japan). The July 21 session of the Symposium will additionally feature a keynote presentation by a leader of a key Silicon Valley company with extensive success in Japan.

Registration for the Symposium is open here. Registration also includes admission to the first week of this year’s Symposium on July 14, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, at which the Innovation Awards Program will present the 2020 SunBridge Emerging Leader Awards to Beyond Meat (U.S. winner) and Spiber (Japan winner).

The Japan – US Innovation Awards have been produced each year since 2011 by the Japan Society of Northern California in cooperation with the Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center. Accordingly, it is the longest-running annual program in the Bay Area that highlights the links between Silicon Valley and Japan innovation. The five Innovation Showcase Companies for 2020 are:

AC Biode is developing the world’s first standalone Alternating Current battery and special electric circuits for e-mobility and energy storage of renewable energy. By integrating a new type of intermediate electrode, the “Biode,”AC Biode eliminates the need to convert AC to DC between the battery and the devices it powers. Accordingly, the AC Biode system has more capacity, lasts longer, and is safer than prior generation Li ion batteries. AC Biode has also commercialized catalyst technologies for low temperature processing of organic waste while mixed with plastics.

BionicM combines advanced robotics technology with medical prosthetics to enhance human mobility. A venture from the University of Tokyo, BionicM uses robotic engineering to create small, lightweight, high-performance prosthetic legs that capture natural human movement and so greatly increase users’ safety and ability to negotiate paths that pose major challenges for traditional devices.

Empath is developing Emotion AI, an AI-driven emotion identification engine based on voice input. Emotion AI works in real-time, regardless of language, by analyzing multiple physical properties of the voice. It can detect four emotions – joy, calm, anger and sorrow – and their intensity. Empath’s SDK and API have been used by more than 2,400 corporate customers in over 50 countries.

MUSCA uses highly productive thoroughbred house-fly larvae to upcycle waste into sustainable organic fertilizer, natural protein feed, and other products. The circular economy concept lies at the heart of the company’s business model, as it seeks to address the global challenges of pollution, protein deficit, and food crisis.

QD Laser uses quantum dot laser technology for applications in semiconductor manufacturing and eyewear. The firm’s RETISSA Medical retinal laser scanning eyewear has recently been approved as a new medical device in Japan. By precisely projecting images directly onto the retina, their product can correct irregular astigmatism that is beyond correction by traditional eyeglasses or contact lenses.

The Symposium will be hosted by Awards Program Steering Committee Chair Dr. Richard Dasher, Director of the US-Asia Technology Management Center at Stanford, who notes that “the five Showcase companies represent a remarkable range of innovation breakthroughs across several fields.”

Japan Society of Northern California – Since its founding in 1905, the Japan Society of Northern California has advanced US-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 US-Japan insights, opportunities, collaboration and networking. The Japan 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 Center for East Asian Studies. Established in 1992, the US-ATMC conducts education and research into innovation and emerging business trends in technology-intensive industries that provide Stanford students and the Silicon Valley community at large, with knowledge and analytical capabilities that will be important to global success in high-tech fields in the 21st century.

For more information on the Symposium, click here.
To register, click here.
Media Contact: Jamila Hawkins jamila@usajapan.org

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