November 3, 2023

Bridging Startup Innovations: Minc Goes Japan

Bridging Startup Innovations: Minc Goes Japan

Minc has always been about breaking boundaries and fostering connections, and our recent expedition to Japan was no exception. Our colleague, Sanna Lindberg, was part of this exciting journey. We sat down with Sanna to hear about the trip, the connections made, and what this means for startups at Minc and in Tokyo.

What excited you most about this journey to Japan?

Oh, where do I start? What excited me the most with Japan was definitely all the meetings with the connections with entrepreneurs and people in the startup ecosystem in Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo. Except for the great meetings, I really enjoyed the amazing food - everything from ramen to sashimi, Kobe beef, okonomiyaki and a lot more. Everything that we ate during lunch and dinner was an experience. 

Daniel Persson, CEO for mInc is presenting our offering at the Bridge Conference in Kobe
Some of the attendees from the Bridge Conference in Kobe

What were the main goals for Minc in Japan?

The goal is to get a startup from Japan to Malmö that wants to scale their business to the European market. We see Malmö as the place to do that due to the multicultural inhabitants in the city as well as we have great focus on greentech, health tech, deep tech and gaming. 

Minc visits Osaka Innovation Hub

Can you share a memorable interaction with a local startup?

At the Bridge conference in Kobe, we met with two amazing female founders running a company called Marche Kanon, they were manufacturing Japan-made reusable sanitary products and they were so curious to explore ways to get into the Scandinavian market. Think Flowcup but Japanese.

How is the daily rhythm in Tokyo compared to Malmö? 

The daily rhythm in Tokyo is quite different from Malmö. Tokyo is a fast-paced city known for its vibrant lifestyle. It's a city that never sleeps, with many businesses open late into the night, and it's known for its crowded public transportation during rush hours. However, the trains and metros stop going between 12.00 in the evening to 05.00 in the morning. That surprised me a little bit.

In contrast, Malmö has a more relaxed pace of life, with shorter working hours and a focus on work-life balance. People in Malmö tend to prioritise sustainability, nature, and a slower pace of life, which can be quite different from the high-energy lifestyle of Tokyo. This difference in daily rhythm may also reflect varying cultural and societal norms in these two cities.

IKEA on the boards at Shibuya crossning, Tokyo

Any exciting collaborative moments that unfolded?

The greatest moments were actually the hospitality. Especially from one of our connections that is building the innovation ecosystem in Kobe city. He arranged for us to present Malmö City and Minc locally in Kobe and gave us great tips on who to meet and where to eat.

Minc meets City of Kobe and KIP Hyogo Entrepreneurship Plaza
Cross-sectional Consortium for CE Business Promotion
Circular Innovation Between Scandinavia and Japan, Kobe

What cool insight from Tokyo are you bringing back to Minc?

During our meeting with Shibuya Startup Support they presented or introduced the startup visa. This helps entrepreneurs to start businesses in Japan. That is really something that we would benefit from having as well. 

Other than work I would say that I do not do enough karaoke in my life, I would actually never do it in Sweden but when visiting Tokyo that was a must. What I also bring is that Tokyo is a fantasy world, with the Shibuya crossing, skyscrapers, a lot of interest for fashion as well as funny experiences like driving karts in a Mario costume on the streets in Tokyo.

How do you see this trip shaping future Minc-Japan collaborations?

This is the first step for us contributing to a Japanese startup hub in Malmö. The City of Malmö initiated this collaboration last year and we see this as a first step to be able to get japanese startups to Malmö. Now, we need to gather our thoughts internally and to set the process to get the first pilot during next year.

About Minc

At Minc, we believe in creating something bigger than yourself. We offer everything an entrepreneur needs to go from concept to market in-house. Our international network of advisors and award-winning programs will help your startup scale faster and smarter. Welcome to the startup house of Malmö.

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