Startup Weekend Virtual Kyoto (English)

Fri, 27 Aug 2021 20:00 - Sun, 29 Aug 2021 22:00 JST
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Startup Weekend, the 54 hours that will change your life, is back! This time we are going virtual and simultaneously running two sessions in English and Japanese.

This is the English page, if you are interested in joining the Japanese session, follow this link:

What is a Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs create a startup in 54 hours. Throughout the weekend, you’ll learn how to turn ideas into something real and experience what it’s like to startup.

What happens during Startup Weekend?

During Startup Weekend, you and your team will take your ideas from concept to creation within a matter of days!

Starting from day 1, participants will pitch their ideas to form teams, then hit the ground running. Throughout the weekend, you'll be meeting talented and passionate coaches from whom you can get advice, and you'll be provided all the nourishment to keep going.

At the end of day 3, your team will be pitching your idea to a panel of judges who will provide feedback and select the winner!

But Startup Weekend isn't about winning, it's about working on ideas and taking the first step of your entrepreneurial journey. Startup Weekend isn't a Hackathon or a Workshop. There won't be nicely packaged instructions for you to follow, but you will connect with like minded aspiring entrepreneurs.

Many startups have been formed from Startup Weekends and many have found their co-founders to go beyond startup weekend.

See below for a more detailed schedule.

Startup Weekend VIRTUAL?

While you may think that “virtual” is just another word for online, we are actually creating a virtual world to host this session of Startup Weekend Kyoto. Last year we hosted an online Startup Weekend and learned that Zoom doesn’t allow for many of the interactions available offline. This year we are experimenting with new platforms to create a more interactive experience for the participant. Also, as we are going to be hosting English and Japanese sessions in parallel, our virtual world will be split in two different floors with both events running in parallel.

Before the event, we will be sending out links and instructions to everyone who joins. Please note that you will need a PC or Mac based browser to join. The platform does not support mobile devices (tablet, smartphones) at this moment.

Of course as the event is online, this means anyone from anywhere in the world will be able to join. This edition of Startup Weekend Kyoto is also welcoming participants from Kyoto Startup Summer School Online, a program at the KYOTO Design Lab that brings together budding entrepreneurs from around the world. There is no doubt that this will be one of the most interactive and international Startup Weekends in the world!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to bring an idea?
Not at all. If you don't have an idea, you can join another idea and form a team to work on that one.

How should I bring my idea?
Each person will only have less than a minute so slides are a no-go. You can bring props if you want though.

Do I get to work on my idea?
Not necessarily. At the end of day 1, everyone will be voting for ideas and the top ideas will get to form teams. If your idea doesn't get enough votes, you won't be able to form a team around them.

Can I bring an idea that I'm already working on?
No, but well researched and vetted ideas are always welcome.

What if I am not available for the whole three days?
To get the full experience, it's best to be available for the whole three days, but in the past, we have had participants who had to miss a couple hours because of prior engagements.

What if I can’t make the pitches, coaching session, and/or final pitches because of the time difference?

Can I sign up with my friend?
Of course. More the merrier. But please do register individually.


All times listed below are in Japan Standard Time

Day 1 - Friday
20:00 Registrations Begin
20:30 Welcome Session
21:00 Pitches Begin
22:00 Idea Voting and Team Formation
22:30 Start Working!

Day 2 - Saturday
Build build build!
12:30 Coaching Session
Don’t forget to test your ideas with real customers
20:30 Coaching Session
Might want to start thinking about your final pitches here

Day 3 - Sunday
12:30 Coaching Session
14:00 Check-ins (Let’s register your team)
16:00 Tech Check (Make sure your presentation works)
Scrambling to perfect your pitch!
19:30 Final Pitches
21:30 Judging and Awards
22:00 After Party!


The awesome people that will do their best to help you be successful. More coming soon!

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Mark Lozano
Paid Social Media Manager,
Mark specialises in designing and executing digital marketing strategies. He’s currently a Paid Social Media Manager at, an ad tech startup working on automating every step of social advertising to unlock greater performance and creativity.

He previously worked on market expansion and customer acquisition at Yours, a beauty tech startup bringing personalisation to skincare, and as a Growth Account Manager at Facebook working with some of the top advertisers in South East Asia in developing and executing full funnel marketing strategies that allow their businesses to scale and expand efficiently across markets.

He is also the Founder of One Million Lights Philippines, a non-profit focused on providing clean, safe, and affordable lighting in rural communities across the Philippines.

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Mami Higashino
Born in 1992. Currently resides in Shenzhen, China. Took a leave of absence from college to study at a university in Washington State, USA for a year. After returning to Japan, Mami was involved in the event management of Slush Asia (now Slush Tokyo), an entrepreneurship conference from Finland, for two consecutive years. In the summer of 2018, she joined Makeblock, a hardware startup that provides STEAM and programming education solutions, after falling in love with Shenzhen during a trip. As the only Japanese employee at the company's headquarters, she is responsible for marketing the company's products in Japan and overseas.

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Isshu Rakusai
Isshu was born in 1982 and graduated from the Graduate School of Media and Governance of Keio University. By his motto of making a "human" program, he created a software called Kamicopi when he was a high school student. Since 2007, he has gone to the U.S.A. and established Nota Inc., and he creates apps and web pages. Now, has the most users in the world by its screenshot sharing system. He was certified as Super Creator of IPA and its project in 2003.

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Adrian Sossna
VP Global Sales at HACARUS
MBA & Published with Ivey / Harvard Business Press. 5+ Years in executive management / Biz Dev for the AI, IoT, Automotive and Cybersecurity fields. Forbes Communications Council Member and United Nations Development Programme Mentor. Frequent speaker on the topic of innovation & how to create synergies between start-ups and large corporates at conferences & events - reach me at or visit

Academic Background: Doshisha University, Yonsei University, Fudan University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Gothenburg”

Philip Nguyễn
Philip graduated from UCLA in Earth and Environmental Science and World Arts and Cultures in 2011 and moved to Japan to study radiation safety at Kyoto University. In 2016, after obtaining his PhD, he established his social venture, Gochiso, to support nonprofits and the food industry in Japan. In 2020, he established his new venture, mamoru, to accelerate actions for sustainability. Mamoru is a free map-based app that connects people to sustainability-focused businesses throughout Japan.

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Martin Heidegger
After beginnings with games and media, Martin has been working professionally on a computer since his late teens, over 20 years ago. Ever since he released his first open source project around 2004, he has been involved with a very wide range of open source technologies. After coming to Osaka in 2010, he spent his time working besides code on startups and community-building. In recent years, he has focused his efforts on decentralized systems, security and self-sovreign-identity.


Tomokazu Morisawa
CEO, The DECK, Inc.
After working for an international pharmaceutical company as IT project manager, Tomokazu received his MBA from HULT International Business School where he studied leadership, finance, accounting, and design thinking in London, Shanghai, and Dubai. After completing his degree, he joined the newly founded ideation firm, Filament, Inc. where he is active in business matching, new business development support, startup support, and planning various kinds of innovation related events. Tomokazu actively attends conferences abroad to develop an international network. At The DECK where he is a CEO, he runs a co-working, event, maker space and a series of events based on manufacturing, corporate partnerships, and hiring international talents.

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Ben Foden
Head of Marketing, Nota, Inc.

Ben Foden is Head of Growth at Nota. At 33 years old, Ben has worked with startup leaders for over 12 years to launch products and services that are used by millions of people around the world. As well as being a product marketing leader at Nota he also advises companies on growth, branding, and naming.

While at Nota, Ben led a corporate rebranding as well as the branding of several of its web services. This includes creating the name of Nota’s new and rapidly growing FAQ service, Helpfeel and its discontinued slideshow service PhotoPeach.

He worked for over 5 years as a Namer with his father’s company, Brighter Naming where he generated names that were chosen for companies and products across a range of industries, including clients in the Fortune 500.


Yoshiyuki Taguchi
Born in 1993. While in college, he participated in the founding phase of LOUPE (now ARROWS), an educational startup that operates one of the largest platforms for teachers in Japan, as an intern. After that, he studied abroad in Finland and was invited by a member he met there to join Slush Asia (now Slush Tokyo) as a founding member in 2015. After graduating from university, he joined Recruit Marketing Partners as a new graduate and worked on business development of a new business for nursery schools. Currently, he is back at ARROWS. He is in charge of a business that solves the marketing issues of companies for young people by creating educational materials with leading companies such as Unilever, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, and Suntory, and providing those materials to children nationwide via a platform for teachers. He is currently working hard to provide value to all three parties: companies, teachers, and children.


The experts who form the jury on day 3, to decide which is the winning team. More coming soon!

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Masaru Ikeda
Masaru Ikeda currently acts as co-founder of Bridge, one of Japan’s leading media outlets covering the startup scene in Japan and the rest of the world. He started his career as a programmer/engineer, and previously co-founded several system integration companies and consulting firms. He’s been traveling around Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia exploring the IT industry and prominent startups.

Antti Sonninen
Antti is originally from Finland and came in 2013 to Japan to start the Japan office of Rovio, maker of game Angry Birds. In 2015 Antti started Slush Tokyo, the largest English soeaking startup event in Japan and grew it until 2018. From 2019 onwards Antti has been an entrepreneur helping foreign startups enter Japan and Japanese startups expand internationally.

Narimasa Makino
Co-Founder & CEO at Monozukuri Ventures
Narimasa started to work for Future Venture Capital in 2005, where he gained experience in private equity. Then he worked as an incubation manager at ASTEM in Kyoto and joined SunBridge to run GVH Osaka and also invested in startups as a member of Sunbridge Startups LLP. In 2015, Narimasa started Monozukuri Ventures (initially called Makers Boot Camp) which gives consulting services for prototyping and manufacturing to hardware startups and raised "MBC Shisaku Fund I" for hardware startup in 2017. So far Monozukuri Ventures has supported over 70 projects and 30 portfolios in Japan and the US. Narimasa holds an MBA from Kobe University.


The guy who does a lot of the talking.


Sushi Suzuki
Sushi Suzuki is a specially appointed associate professor at the Kyoto Institute of Technology and KYOTO Design Lab where he teaches and runs projects based around design thinking, the Stanford-IDEO innovation methodologies. Previously, he co-founded Paris Est while teaching design innovation at École des Ponts ParisTech and was the Executive Director of the ME310 program at Stanford University. Sushi also set up an innovation team for Panasonic Europe, was one of the co-founding members of, a Japanese start-up company that handles antique kimono and accessories online, and a concept developer for Yocondo, a Germany-based semantic product search engine.

Artist by nature, Engineer by training, and Designer by desire, Sushi is always thinking of new ways to do the old things better. Sushi holds a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and B.A. in Studio Arts from Rice University.


The amazing people behind the scenes who are helping put the event together. Seriously, this would not be possible without them.

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Isao Sawamura
Co-founder CFO of Quiny Corporation, Head of Corporate Sales at Union Eternity Corporation
After working at a major bank for 12 years, Isao worked at a consulting company and then at Kyoto Research Park, where he provided support to startups. After turning 50, he retired and joined several startups. He has been an organizer of Startup Weekend Kyoto since 2011.

Tatsuya Tsubuki
Professor at Entrepreneurship Dept. of Musashino University, Former university professor at Kyoto Institute of Technology.

Graduate GLOBIS Management School of Business 2012 (MBA), Background is Overseas sales, Join Startup, IT company After working as an enterprise marketer. Since 2008, Rikkyo University has been in charge of developing and teaching industry-academia cooperation programs (business leadership program) as a part-time instructor. In 2014 BLP Advanced received the Career Education Award from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Regional society collaboration, development of industry-university cooperation programs, leadership and entrepreneurship education are the core charge areas.

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Thomas Sun
Came to Kyoto from Wuhan, China back in 2016, Thomas finished his master course in Kyoto Institute of Technology and is currently working in a business prototyping studio as an UX designer. He participated in the Startup Weekend Kyoto 2017. To prevent people from wasting coins and help users develop a good habit of saving, his team came up with the Start-up idea “adventure piggy”.

Akira Fukunaga
Akira joined Seiki Corporation in 2013 and helps university students with their career development. From 2015, he is also the director of Japan Edu-Beit Association which promotes career education for students. He currently develops new businesses for Seiki and is also responsible for planning events and campaigns.

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Rio Fujimoto
Rio is a UI designer at DeNA.He participated in Startup Weekend Kyoto in August 2015 as a designer and joined the team "1mile."

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Masato Inoue
Belongs to Kyoto Research Park Co., Ltd. (KRP). Worked for about 5 years at a government-affiliated financial institution. Then he joined KRP. Support start-up, run incubation floor and event space hangouts.

Tomoya Aoki
Kyoto Institute of Technology.Research drones that physically prevent crashes.
Participated in Startup Weekend Kyoto 2018, proposed the medication management assistance system "pitdell" for the elderly, and won the championship.
Two consecutive victories in the All Japan Student Indoor Flight Robot Contest Multicopter category
I am interested in the relationship between manufacturing engineers and startups, and I am working as an organizer.


The organizations who were cool enough to support us so you can get more than your money’s worth.



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Startup Weekend Kyoto

Startup Weekend Kyoto

Startup Weekends are in cities across the globe bringing together highly motivated group of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more for a 3 day...

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