Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka—the Startup Accelerator Program to Know About Today
Startupbootcamp (SBC) is a global organization supporting early-stage tech founders through programs that provide access to relevant investors, partners, and mentors.
Founded in Denmark in 2010, SBC now has accelerator events in all the major startup hubs, including Singapore, London, New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, as well as Osaka.
Last year, SBC Scale Osaka received a total of 550 interested startups and 349 applications to the Scale Osaka Program, at the end of which 10 scaleups from 6 countries were selected to join their 2020 startup accelerator program.
Applications for 2021’s Scale Osaka Program are presently open but will close on August 26, 2021. (The SBC Scale Osaka Program application form is accessible here.)
The reason for SBC’s focus on Osaka
Osaka is the second-largest metropolis in Japan and renowned for its entrepreneur-minded spirit and the numerous successful companies that originated in the region.
Additionally, Osaka is designated a “special zone,” a part of The Startup Visa Program, initiated by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), where individuals can apply for a special startup visa.
The program focuses on bringing startups to Osaka city, connecting them to Osaka-based companies who have interest in becoming consumers, investors, or business partners.
Benefits of SBC’s Scale Osaka program
“Our program is equity-free, fee-free and connects you with major Japanese corporations who are looking to collaborate on PoC’s, pilots, joint research projects and introduce startups to their network of customers,” says Meghan Bridges, marketing & operations director for SBC Scale Osaka. “Our partners are looking to collaborate on food tech, technologies to use in the upcoming world expo, smart homes, smart city technology, mobility, smart living, tourism and many more.”
The SBC program opens doors within the Japanese market, helping startups reach new audiences and an international network of investors. Additionally, SBC Scale Osaka has 7 corporate partners, including Hankyu Corporation, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dentsu, JR West Innovations, JT, Sakura Internet, and SMBC.
These partners are searching for innovative ideas and startups surrounding Smart City and Living technology categories.
SBC Scale Osaka explains further about what their partners are looking for here.
Partners are not guaranteed to invest in program enrollees; however, the program does introduce startups to potential investors during Demo Day and other networking events.
The program is free, with the only potential costs for founders being any travel costs should the event be held in person this year.
SBC Scale Osaka program schedule and application process
Administrators note they will be evaluating the current global pandemic and will make the final decision on whether to host the program fully remote or semi-remote in September.
Their 2021 program will run from November 22, 2021, to February 25, 2022.
The overview of the program structure is shown in the following graphic.
Your submitted application will be reviewed and shared with SBC Scale Osaka’s partners. Those with high partner collaboration potential will be invited to a pitch session. After which, startups with a potential PoC will have 1-on-1 interviews where potential will be further evaluated.
Additional interviews will be conducted as needed before the Partners narrow down the selection to the top 50, top 20, and then top 10 who will be joining the program.
While backing for PoC is not guaranteed, the program administrators state that thus far 14 out of 28 PoC’s have been paid for by partners.
As noted in SBC Scale Osaka’s FAQ article, partners are looking for startups in the growth or scale stage, that is, startups that are looking to expand and explore new markets.
“There isn’t a specific number or criteria for this, especially since our Partners are all looking for slightly different things,” states Bridges. “Some Partners are willing to work with seed-stage and to build up with them, while others are looking for a more trial-and-tested solution which tends to come with a more mature startup.”
The program additionally provides support for the cultural aspect of Japan market entry through in-depth workshops on Japan’s business culture and how to navigate it and an info-package available for enrollees.
Applications for the upcoming program close on August 26. Enroll here.
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