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TIA Tokyo 2017 Wrap-Up

TIA Tokyo 2017 wrapped up yesterday and as Wahl and Case is always keen to support the startup ecosystem, we went ready to explore.

It is fair to assert that Japan has a long way to go in terms of treating the startup universe with the respect it deserves.  Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017 appeared to be another example of just how easily young entrepreneurs bright lights can be (probably) unintentionally dimmed.

If we’re honest, the venue could have been a better match.  While the live interpretation and scale of the main stage gave invited speakers and panels their due respect and provided a pleasant, inviting experience for the audience, the pitching stage wasn’t really set up in a way to make the most of what the bootstrappers’ minds have to offer. Set in a cramped corner of the fluorescent-lit exhibition space without proper signage, the pitching staged appeared to be more of a punishment than an opportunity. With all of the passion that these bootstrappers put into their projects, and the money, sweat and tears it took to get them into TIA Tokyo in the first place, they probably deserved more of an actual spotlight.

With that said, here’s a quick run-down of what popped our eyes in the Bootstrap Alley:

  • A lively introduction to the “Touche Universe”, an experience personalization tool activated by a customer’s fingerprints
  • Novelty knockout Prinker, an events oriented “skin printer” that prints 24 hour strong tattoos directly onto the skin
  • Walking in someone else’s shoes via FITT 360’s wearable 360 bodycam, the security version of which has immediate applications and implications
  • LaFabric’s made-to-order, made in Japan platform uses fabric technology to keep business people in style.  Bonus points for naming their hard-wearing line “Combat Wool”.
  • Yunomi’s  passionate e-commerce platform makes Japan’s proud green tea tradition around the globe
  • Another timely enterprise, Metastudio’s Japan Early Missile Warning app is available next month.  Let’s hope this proves totally frivolous.
  • Befy’s AI-fueled beauty regimen concocter/personal beautician is a logical next step in the current global beauty boom.

To all of the bootstrappers we didn’t get to talk to–kudos to you, too.