Last night at the May Tokyo 2.0 event a presentation was given by Hiro Maeda about a new venture capital group called Open Network Lab. Open Network Lab was formed earlier this year by three public Japanese companies; Digital Garage, netprice.com, and kakaku.com.
The main topic of the presentation was the Seed Accelerator Program. For the Seed Accelerator Program, teams of three people can submit an idea or working prototype to the Open Network Lab. If the team is accepted into the Seed Accelerator Program; Open Network Lab provides free office space for 3 months, free internet service and hosting for 3 months, $10,000 in initial funding, and mentorship to support the team.
Open Network Lab has partnered with the venture fund incubator based in Singapore, Neoteny Labs. One of the benefits of the partnership is that mentors from both VC groups are shared. Some of the mentors include; Joi Ito, Dave Morin creator of Facebook Connect, Shawn Fanning, Cory Ondrejka who created Second Life, Tim O’Reilly and several others.
After three months are up the teams have a chance to present their product to investors from the US, Japan, and Singapore. If an investor sees potential in the product, they will invest directly in the product.
Hiro Maeda’s full presentation from Tokyo 2.0 can be watched below:
A primary mission of Open Network Lab is to help Japanese startups expand and succeed globally, not only in Japan. I think this is a great initiative, and look forward to seeing what new startups and ideas come out of it.