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Event Report : Takeoff Tokyo 2024

April 22, 2024

Takeoff Tokyo, the startup conference aiming to revitalize the startup ecosystem in Tokyo, is back and bigger than ever before. Last year's event was a great success, and this year's event brings the same momentum, but on a larger scale.

You can read an exclusive interview with Antti, organizer of Takeoff Tokyo, here:

Antti Sonninen(Takeoff Tokyo)

Blackbox also covered the Takeoff Tokyo hackathon, which you can read about here:

TAKEOFF TOKYO Builders Weekend 2024 - Blackbox JP

Held in the South Hall of Tokyo Big Sight, the space was about five times larger than last year's event, and was dramatically lit in Takeoff Tokyo's colors of green and purple — providing a suitably cyberpunk ambience for a startup event in the world’s most technologically-advanced city.

Startup booths

Over 30 startups in a wide range of fields exhibited their products, from generative AI software to daily life hardware — and everything inbetween.

At the beverage booth, the Keio University Coffee Club delighted visitors by offering freshly brewed coffee.

Most of the Takeoff Tokyo staff consisted of volunteer students such as these, who were involved in the event management with bright eyes and hopes to be active in the startup world in the future.

Pitch Contest

The main event of Takeoff Tokyo is the pitch contest, in which startups gave a four-minute overview of their businesses competing for the grand prize: a partnership with VC firm Global Hands On.

At this year's Takeoff Tokyo, 50 companies entered the pitch contest, and the six finalists from Day 1 went up on stage for the Day 2 finals.

Let’s introduce the finalists.

Krip (

Krip, a startup from Hong Kong, provides a centralized platform for managing information about discounts, cash back programs, and other rewards when using credit cards and digital wallets. Krip uses crawling and scraping technology to collect rewards information from banks and organizes this information into a database that can be accessed through an API. By aggregating and making visible more than 6,000 sources of rewards information that consumers are rarely exposed to, the platform is said to increase consumer willingness to buy and ultimately increase spending by 41%.

Currently, Krip serves approximately 70,000 Hong Kong residents and more than 2 million consumers who use retail apps, and is developing analytics solutions for consumer and retail apps as well as payment companies. In addition, Krop plans to expand into Southeast Asian countries in 2024, with plans to enter the Japanese market as well.

Digital Will (

The new game development platform WORTAL seeks to revolutionize the work of game developers. The platform will allow developers to create a game once using HTML5 technology and then deploy that game on a variety of platforms. Specifically, games can be published on a wide variety of platforms, including the web, Facebook, iOS, and Android.

Conventional game development required separate development for each platform, such as Android and iOS, but with the advent of WORTAL, this effort is greatly reduced. What used to take more than two months of development man-hours can now be done in a single development effort with WORTAL, saving game developers time and money in adapting to new platforms.

This allows game developers to easily distribute their games to more platforms, thereby allowing developers can focus on developing their games without the hassle of user acquisition. This has allowed developers to see their games grow by 300% or more.


Bonsai, the traditional Japanese horticultural art form, is now a major business opportunity in the global marketplace. This 2000 year-old art has been elevated to a cultural asset, with the bonsai market worth approximately US$10 billion yearly, with double-digit annual growth rates.

However, the bonsai trade in Japan is opaque and mainly paper-based, creating high barriers to entry into the market. To solve this problem, a new initiative is being promoted by Bonsai Collectors. Bonsai Collectors maintains more than 2,000 bonsai pots in its bonsai garden in Ibaraki Prefecture, and offers them to customers after careful selection by experts.

Bonsai Collectors offers a diverse lineup, including select bonsai collections for individual investors, diversified products with leasing rights, and fund products for institutional investors. The company has also developed a service that allows users to virtually view their bonsai collections at home, utilizing AR/VR technology and NFTs.

Clients invest in bonsai not only for financial returns, but also for a variety of other motivations, including portfolio diversification, future profitability, connection to nature, and passing assets down through generations. Bonsai Collectors is the first in the industry to build a bonsai database, replacing traditional paper records with Bonsai Collectors is increasing transparency in the market by digitizing the traditional paper record. The company aims to expand its assets under management to US$10 million next year, making it a key player in shaping the future of the bonsai market.

The SEA (

When multinational beauty companies launch advertising campaigns in different parts of the world, the production of high-quality advertising images tailored to local markets is a major challenge. For example, a brand like Estee Lauder (already a The Sea client) operates in 150 countries — making it inefficient to manually create campaign visuals adapted to each market from scratch. Lack of visuals tailored to local needs means that brands miss out on opportunities to maximize revenue in global markets.

The Sea provides a service that generates extremely high-quality AI images, customizes AI algorithms to meet corporate needs, and automates and customizes workflows and visual models for corporations. These solutions will enable brands to quickly generate large volumes of localized, high-quality ad images and efficiently execute campaigns worldwide.

Deepreneur (

Deepreneur is an AI startup from the Matsuo Lab at the University of Tokyo, which promotes digital transformation (DX) of companies with generative AI technology at its core. With R&D and social implementation at the core of its activities, the company has developed a number of advanced AI modules, including RAG (search augmentation generation).

One of Deepreneur's greatest achievements is its large-scale language model, blue-lizard. This model boasts the highest level of capability in Japanese natural language processing among open source models in Japan and abroad. blue-lizard is easy to fine-tune with original data and can be smoothly deployed in on-premise environments.

amu (

amu uses 100% recycled materials made from discarded fishing nets collected from fishermen and recycles them to produce new materials, used in clothing, umbrellas, and much more. Amu visits ports around the country to collect fishing nets directly from fishermen, who then recycle these into raw materials through an eco-friendly chemical recycling process.

Consumers can trace which fisherman's nets were used, allowing buyers to put a tangible face to this green product chain.

The winner of the 50 competitors was...

Digital Will!

Blackbox interviewed William Bohn, CEO of Digital Will, immediately after the win.

“When I won, I was gut-punched," said Bohn.

"I really couldn't believe it. I really didn't expect it because all the other startups had great presentations. I am so excited.”

When asked how the win — and subsequent partnership — affects Digital Will’s future plans, Bohn said: “We are currently on track and our business continues to grow. Obviously, we will continue with our mission to support game developers and help them focus on developing their games.”


I felt that the goal of producing world-class startups from Japan was more than just a line. Last year's pitch contest winner, GIG-A, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year, and the other pitch speakers have also shown growth across the board.

With the rise of Takeoff Tokyo companies this year and next, it will not be long before the Japanese startups become a global standard.

You can read an exclusive interview with Antti, organizer of Takeoff Tokyo, here:

Antti Sonninen(Takeoff Tokyo)

Blackbox also covered the Takeoff Tokyo hackathon, which you can read about here:

TAKEOFF TOKYO Builders Weekend 2024 - Blackbox JP

(Photo credits : Takeoff Tokyo)

Hikaru Nagashima
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