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Italian Innovation Day 2019 - Event Report


Italian Innovation Day 2019 - Event Report

Italian Innovation Day videoOver 200 attended the fourth edition of the Italian Innovation Day, 20% more from last year, of which around 17% were investors and financial institutions, while around 67% were corporations interested in international partnerships and investments.

In particular, the event attracted: public institutions (Ibaraki Prefecture Government, The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc.), big corporations (Dai Nippon Printing, Hitachi Systems, Itochu Corporation, Marubeni, SoftBank, NTT Data Corporation, Tokyo Gas, etc.), local SMEs, distributors and consultants, investors and financial companies, insurance companies, media (Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Italian economics and finance newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, etc.) and local universities (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ritsumeikan University, etc.).

 u1a0592Fourteen Italian start-ups, or better to say "scaleups", on the market and ready for internationalization, pitched in front of a diverse and highly specialized audience, proposing innovative solutions to solve some of the biggest challenges shared by Italy and Japan: ageing society, clean sustainable growth and resource-efficient economy, impact of global events.

Main fields were Artificial Intelligence applied to a great variety of verticals (medical, healthcare, fintech, insurtech, tourism tech, computer vision), IoT applied to designtech and green economy, foodtech, energy, indoor positioning and pharma.

 u1a0645Special thanks to our co-organizers and media partners, who supported us in every phase of the organization, from planning to execution of the event: FDI Helpdesk of the Trade Promotion Section of the Embassy of Italy, Invitalia, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Emil Abirascid (Startupbusiness), Masaru Ikeda (The Bridge).

Big thanks also to our community partners, which feature some of the biggest players in the Japanese innovation ecosystem (Creww, EDGEof, Plug & Play Japan, Slush Tokyo and Venture Café Tokyo), the EU-Japan technology Transfer Helpdesk, Invest Tokyo, and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

The Italian Innovation Day is evolving from one single day in a year towards a new mindset and strategy to foster international expansion for both Italian startups aiming at the Japanese market and Japanese corporations targeting European or Mediterranean markets. A fresh approach to business promotion that uses community building to enhance results and create a long-term and fruitful cooperation with the local ecosystem.

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Guest Speakers

 u1a0659Keynote speaker Emil Abirascid introduced the latest trends in the Italian startup and venture capital ecosystem, analyzing the current situation and explaining how many Italian startups are evolving to the stage of scaleups, with products and solutions ready for the market (or almost ready) and with a solid organization and investors that allow them to internationalize their business.

Slides can be dowloaded from the link below.


>> Emil Abirascid, “Innovative Entrepreneurship, the European Opportunity and Italy’s Strategic Advantages on World Market”


 u1a0692Journalist Masaru Ikeda acted as moderator in a panel discussion with guest panelists Alex Odajima, Co-founder at EDGEof Inc. (Incubator of 8 Italian startups this year), and Bruno Ferlito, Senior Business Analyst at Invitalia (National Agency for inward investment and economic development). Main themes of the panel were the current situation and future trends of the Italian startup ecosystem, as well as the ways Japanese and Italian ecosystems can cooperate to reciprocally foster international growth.


Pitching Startups

 e9a0753A description of the startups in Japanese is available at this link.

Investors and corporations interested in follow-ups on one or more startups can either contact them directly or send their inquiries to the FDI Helpdesk of the Trade Promotion Section, Embassy of Italy in Japan ( For further information about the FDI Helpdesk, please find a presentation at this link.

Pitch decks can be downloaded from the links below.








Networking and Meetings

More than 100 one-on-one meetings took place during the Italian Innovation Day and in the following days. The collaboration with local accelerator Creww and Tokyo Venture Cafe' has been crucial in achieving this result.

At the networking sessions of the Italian Innovation Day, startup booths and demonstrations were provided to give event attendees a deeper understanding of the technologies, services and products offered by Italian startups.





Collateral events

Thanks to our community partners, this year we were able to organize a few collateral events on October 9th and 10th:

  • Briefing session for startups with presentations from all the community partners
  • Afterparty "Italian Startups Party" at EDGEof
  • Pitching session in front of a selected group of companies hosted by Deloitte TechHarbor
  • Panel discussion "From startup to scaleup: business growth and internationalization", followed by a networking session with Italian startups at Venture Café Tokyo.

The panel discussion, moderated by journalist Masaru Ikeda, Founder of The Bridge, explored the role of regional ecosystems and venture capitals in the scaling up process as well as the way startups are tackling challenges of growth and internationalization in Europe, Italy and Japan. Guest panelists were: Emil Abirascid, Founder of Startupbusiness; Bruno Ferlito, Senior Business Anayst at Invitalia; Mark Bivens, Board Partner at Truffle Capital; Tim Romero, Entrepreneur and Founder of Disrupting Japan podcast.

In all the events planned during the mission, the startups were able to reach more than 500 people and have in total more than 100 meetings with interested companies and investors.



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