Finding startup communities in Japan might be a bit tricky as lots of them are not bilingual. However, these days, many events and meet-ups are held in English, particularly in Tokyo. We’ve made a list of the most open and friendly startup communities in Japan to drop you in the heart of the Japanese startup scene and help you start networking. They all have opened and friendly meetups that you can feel free to join.
Founded by Shane Reustle and Shoin Wolfe, this is one of the biggest startup communities in Tokyo. Events are held once a quarter. All events are conducted in both Japanese and English, with many tech lovers coming together to network and share the latest Japanese tech news. Follow on Twitter for updates: https://twitter.com/TokyoTechMeetup
Tokyo's longest-running hacker networking event, originally started by Jay and Paul who are also the founders of MakeLeaps. They have organized more than 100 events which are all friendly, social events without any formal presentations or schedules. They also have a very active community in Slack. Visit hntokyo.io for more information.
Venture Café Tokyo connects a diverse group of innovators in the local startup ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, corporate start-ups, investors, educators, and policy makers. Specifically, they are developing innovation promotion and exchange programs in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Tsukuba (a prominent tech hub in Ibaraki Prefecture. Their main program is a meetup every Thursday from 4 to 9pm, which provides seminars by experts in various fields.
If you are looking specifically for a fintech community, this would be your place to go. Tokyo FinTech is a non-profit organization in Japan, committed to educating their more than 3,500 members on new business models and technologies, networking, and advancing innovation in financial services both domestically and regionally. They organize meetups regularly; most are webinars, but there are some in-person events in Tokyo as well.
They organize meet-ups every one or two months that hold presentations by engineers and networking opportunities. The meet-ups are designed for any engineer or engineering manager who wishes to further their career development, learn from industrial experts, and connect with people within the IT industry in Japan.
For those of you thinking starting your own company in Japan, Tokyo Startup Founder 101 hosts numerous free and bilingual events throughout the year. It brings together aspiring and experienced tech entrepreneurs to discuss, meet, and collaborate to build great new startups, and to push the local startup ecosystem forward. It also organizes pitch events where you can share your ideas to Japanese startup investors and experts, and get feedback.
Tokyo Tech Startups (TTS) is a group of entrepreneurs and engineers centered in Tokyo. Their aim is to support the growth of the start-up ecosystem in Japan, and has organized pitch events and other events since 2016. Tokyo Startup Pitch Night is their monthly pitch and networking event where people who are working on different stages of startups can share their business ideas. It also support people to find their next career opportunity.
WITJ has been helping and advising hundreds of women in Japan to explore their interest in tech, achieve their potential, and gain the recognition they deserve in their respective industries. The team consists of pioneer of IT recruitment, it is great place to get know Japanese technology ecosystems.
Startup Lady is an international community to help women entrepreneurial leaders. Completely run by volunteers, this community boasts more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from around 52 countries in attendance. Their activities include hosting the Startup Lady Masterminds, Startup Lady Nights, and fostering an international business community that supports aspiring women entrepreneurs. Check out our interview of Moeko Suzuki, co-founder of Startup Lady.
Growing from a Linkedin group, Business in Japan is a company helping to expand and set up foreign-owned or -led companies within Japan. They have organized online discussions, events, meetups collaborating with founders and experts on Japanese business. Their monthly podcast is also very useful for keeping abreast of the business scene in Japan.
This event originates from Silicon Valley and is characterized by the casual and open atmosphere, where they call a ‘fireside chat’. Each event sees a variety of successful entrepreneurs and managers being invited to share their experience, business advice, and other tips for success.