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Year: 2014

Founder Institute Officially Launches First Japanese Chapter in Kansai

The Founder Institute, the world’s largest startup accelerator, is proud to announce that it is launching its first Japanese chapter in Kansai. The first ever semester in Kansai begins this Spring and is currently accepting applications. With plans to run two semesters annually, the program aims to launch over 20 meaningful and enduring home-grown technology companies per year in Japan.

The news of the Kansai Founder Institute launch was covered by Ken Nishimura of TechCrunch Japan in an article titled, 会社を辞めずに参加可能、アクセラレータ「Founder Institute」が日本初の支部を関西に設立.

In the Founder Institute’s four-month, part-time program, promising startup entrepreneurs “learn by doing” and launch a company through structured training courses, practical business-building assignments, and expert feedback from a large network of business mentors. Plus, aspiring founders are not required to quit their day job to participate, so they can begin building a business around their ideas without putting their livelihood at risk.

Leading the Founder Institute’s efforts in Kansai are Ichiro YasuiNarimasa Makino, and Kenshin Fujiwara. Ichiro Yasui is the Founder and Managing Director of HIG Associates Ltd, which specialized in the strategic management and investment consulting for early stage companies in Japan and beyond. Narimasa Makino is a manager at Sunbridge StartUps LLP, where he invests in IT and service companies. Kenshin Fujiwara is a Venture Partner at Miyako Capital, a university-backed VC fund based in Kyoto, Japan, is a founder of coworking space search engine Coworkify, and a chairman of StartupKyoto.com.

In Kansai, I see three major issues working against startups. First, people don’t know the best practices for building a startup company. Second, there is cultural fear of failure. Third, there is no supporting ecosystem in the city. I believe the Founder Institute can solve all of these problems in Kansai.” – Ichiro Yasui

If you would like to learn more, then please join us for a free, upcoming event: 

In only 5 years of operation, over 1,116 graduate companies across 61 cities have used the Founder Institute to validate their idea, develop their plans, refine their product, build an advisory board, prepare for seed funding, and more.

Silicon Valley Accelerator Founder Institute To Test-Launch in Kansai

This is a blog article originally posted to Startup Kyoto.

The Founder Institute (http://fi.co), the World’s Largest Startup Accelerator, announced today that it is exploring a new chapter launch in Kansai this Spring 2014.

Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 55 cities and 34 countries, the Founder Institute has helped launch over 1,017 companies, which have created over 10,000 new jobs. The company’s mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and create sustainable startup ecosystems that will create one million new jobs worldwide.

If you’d like to help bring this great program to Kansai, then fill out an Interest Form. If enough people complete this form by Sunday, March 9th 2014, then the Founder Institute will formally launch a Kansai Chapter for the Spring of 2014.

The Founder Institute is also testing a launch in Tokyo; click here to apply to Tokyo.

In the Founder Institute’s four-month, part-time program, promising entrepreneurs “learn by doing” and launch a company through structured training courses, practical business-building assignments, and expert feedback from a large network of business mentors. Plus, aspiring founders are not required to quit their day job to participate, so they can begin building a business around their ideas without putting their livelihood at risk.

In order to test demand in Kansai, the Founder Institute will host several free startup events; 

Leading the Founder Institute’s efforts in Kansai are Ichiro Yasui, Narimasa Makino, and Kenshin Fujiwara.

Ichiro Yasui is the Founder and Managing Director of HIG Associates Ltd, which specialized in the strategic management and investment consulting for early stage companies in Japan and beyond.

“In Kansai, I see three major issues working against startups. First, people don’t know the best practices for building a startup company. Second, there is cultural fear of failure. Third, there is no supporting ecosystem in the city. I believe the Founder Institute can solve all of these problems in Kansai”- Ichiro Yasui

Narimasa Makino is a manager at Sunbridge StartUps LLP, where he invests in IT and service companies.

“With proper education from passionate entrepreneurs, we can improve the situation in Kansai and help realize the city’s potential. I believe we can do it with Founder Institute” – Narimasa Makino

Kenshin Fujiwara is a Venture Partner at Miyako Capital, a university-backed VC fund based in Kyoto, Japan. Kenshin is also a founder of coworking space search engine Coworkify, and a chairman of StartupKyoto.com.

“I’m a Kansai native, and thus I’m passionate about making Kansai the world class startup incubation center. I believe the Kansai Founder Institute can utlize the consumer electronics, semicondutor, gaming, and healthcare skills in Kansai to grow great startups” – Kenshin Fujiwara

 Other successful entrepreneurs who have signed on to mentor founders in the program include:

  • Adeo Ressi: Founder/CEO, Founder Institute
  • Genichi Imamura: Owner, Questetra, Inc.
  • Haruhiko Kakigi: Founder & General Manager, Arcadia Intellectual Property Office
  • Ichiro Yasui: Managing Director, HIG Associates Ltd.
  • Ikkei Matsuda: CEO, SARR,LLC
  • Kenshin Fujiwara: Venture Partner, Miyako Capital
  • Narimasa Makino: Manager, SunBridge Global Ventures Inc.
  • Susumu Iwata: Founder and CEO, LOCKON CO.,LTD.
  • クリストファー(久利寿) テイト: CEO, connectFree k.k.
  • 大輔 水田: CEO, 株式会社REVENTIVE
  • And many more to be announced.

Help bring the Founder Institute to Kansai and fill out an Interest Form today.

About The Founder Institute

The Founder Institute (www.FI.co) is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies. In the Founder Institute’s four-month, part-time program, promising startup entrepreneurs “learn by doing” and launch a company through structured training courses, practical business-building assignments, and expert feedback from a large network of business mentors. Plus, aspiring founders are not required to quit their day job to participate, so they can begin building a business around their ideas without putting their livelihood at risk.

Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 55 cities and 34 countries, the Founder Institute has helped launch over 1,017 companies, which have created over 10,000 new jobs. The company’s mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and create sustainable startup ecosystems that will create one million new jobs worldwide.

The Founder Institute was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur Adeo Ressi.

Summary of 2013 and What’s Ahead

2013 was the year of transition in my career. I was just lucky enough to be involved with the formation of new university backed venture fund. I’m totally excited about things I’d be helping my hometown foster its startup ecosystem through this fund in the future. I’m 100% certain that my knowledge of building and running many web startups can contribute something to it and my experience of failures can help aspiring entrepreneurs stay away from making same mistakes I made.

However, having infusion of risk money via VCs is only solving one side of problems to create sustainable startup ecosystem. Due to the nature of venture capital business, VCs are often challenged with fundamental difficulties such that they cannot make an investment in the companies that don’t meet their financial criteria, even if the companies are considered remarkable by them. After all, VCs make an investment using someone else’s money and they are obligated to yield financial return. Thus, financial criteria comes first. Few exceptions are like a corporate venture capital where it puts more weight on strategic alliance between portfolio companies and the company operating the venture capital than financial return.

Because of this, only select group of companies can receive investment and most of the time the companies must 1) tackle a problem that millions of people face and those people willingly pay for its solution. 2) position themselves in high-growth market, and most importantly 3) be able to liquidate its assets through IPO or acquisition.

It’s obvious that not all remarkable companies meet those conditions and VC isn’t the best form of institution to build such companies in the long-run. This is the reason why I recently started talking about importance of community driven startup accelerator. In my opinion, sustainable startup ecosystem requires special type of people whose main objective is purely to build remarkable companies for the community they belong to, not to extract maximum financial result from portfolio companies.

I understand YC and 500 Startups have a similar objective and they are successful but I’m not referring to that kind of accelerators. I’m talking about raise of different breed, more individual driven accelerator/investor/supporter like Gotham Gal being a good example. As her husband explains, Gotham Gal invests in businesses that make sense to her, and decision isn’t based on financial expectation. If we could institutionalize those type of people and turn them into some sort of accelerator form, we can build remarkable companies in a slightly different way and do it in the long-run.

I do not have a concrete idea for what it is just yet, but I will have better understanding as I gain my experience at VC. So expect me to come up with some accelerator-ish experiments this year.