Technology and Innovation: Robotics, Wearable Tech and IoT
So thank you. Imagine the welcome to the Technology and Innovation Session. In this session, we're going to talk about what is what's hot in new technology and how we can capitalize that onto all the global industry. And also, like, you know,
on the businesses. So today we want to actually discuss two major topic, which may be interesting. What are the game changers, what are the frontiers, what are the hindering issues? It could be the 3D printing or the bionics or big data Iot, AI or biotech or medical devices, although we're not talking about medical devices today, but like, what are the game changer or are these are good list of can we have something else? What are the unexpected? You know the problem with those and in the how to explore them but the global trend in the hardware startup of course, we know a lot about the Internet startups, but now we have more and more hardware startups coming. And what is the new network centric hardware startup Global Trend. And of course this is Japanese audience pretty much like, you know, majority is like what is strategy for Japan to get into this and to be like one of the a major player.
Okay, Now, so I would like to turn the microphone to the panelist and in each panelist are going to talk about the position for 5 minutes or so, and then we're going to move into the discussion afterwards. So first, Benjamin, going to share with us his account. What. All right, Thanks for your kind introduction and a pleasure to be here today. So my job at HAX is to work with startups and invest and support startups across the entire spectrum of hardware. So basically what we try to do is to combine the best resources for entrepreneurs wherever they're from to so that they can build global companies.
So we work with startups from around the world. We bring them to Shenzhen, China, so that they can engage with the supply chain over there. And then at the end of the program that lasts about four months, we take them to Silicon Valley so that they can present the innovation to the world. So we take startups typically at very early stage, at the prototype stage, sometimes kind of research type, and then we try to take them as fast as possible to market myself. I've been working in Asia for about 15 years. I worked in Japan [Japanese] So sadly, I cannot present everything into Japanese because it's been a bit too long. But in the meantime,
I worked in Korea and in Singapore, in Silicon Valley and in China, and I feel it's a very, very special time to be working in China, not just any place, but in Shenzhen, because it has basically the best place to make electronics in the world at scale and even for early, early stage. So quick overview of what we do. So we invest in startups from around the world. It happens so that about 60% of them come from North America, US and Canada, about 20% from us and 20% across Asia. So so far we invested in 80 startups, only one from Japan. We keep trying to find a good match for our investment model and about 10% from China. So the founders come from many
famous places like those. Just wanted to give you a few examples of of startups we invested in because it's not the typical thing you might hear about in in mass media. So the categories we cover, like robotics, Iot advanced manufacturing, health and lifestyle. But if we look more specifically, it's actually not those type. So it's not activity trackers,
it's not smartwatches, and it's not humanoid robots, even though I love Atom, right? I think those are already kind of done on the market and the one on the left and the one on the right. The humanoid robot is kind of the old view of the future from basically like physical summer. So it's been we need to update this vision and the future is already there, but we don't necessarily see it very well because it's very subtle. I'll give you some examples of robotics companies we invested in. So the one on the left is an autonomous cleaning robot for commercial spaces. So if you try to put a Roomba in a supermarket, it's going to take a whole week probably to clean because it's not very smart, it's not very big and it's not very fast.
Normally people use these type of machines to clean large places, but with advancing advances in robotics on lower cost of sensors, you can now create autonomous machines that can actually. Scan an entire place, decide the right path, and then execute on it. The man in the middle is a biotech robot that helps lab techs to do pipetting. Pipetting You take one liquid from one place to another. It's a big time waste in laboratories and it's not very high added value. So this automates it. And there are machines on the market to do this, but typically they cost $100,000. This one is less than 5000.
And it's an example of a big change going for robotics to go from the mainframe era, very large, very big, not scalable complex, expensive to the desktop or workshop era. The one on the right is a very low cost robotic arm that basically has a lot of degrees of freedom. Inverse kinematics. For those in robotics, you kind of understand what that means and it's it's very useful for many applications that are much more flexible that what you could do with factory type robots that are great for very specialized things.
And this is also less than $5,000 a few Iot tools that those are the, I'd say, the foundation of getting more products ready. Prototyping faster helps to have more innovation at lower cost and get faster to market. The one on the left allows prototyping of circuit boards and the one the middle is for connectivity for wi fi, Bluetooth cellular connectivity at very low cost. And the one on the right is actually the world's first $9 computer, and I'll give a few more details about that. So a full computer for $9, you can browse the Internet, you can check your email, you can watch YouTube with this little chip on the right that's about the size of a banana. Advanced manufacturing. I just have one example here.
It's actually I think we mentioned just earlier, fabric tissue printing. Well, this actually comes from a biotech world and it doesn't print human tissue, but it prints fabric from scratch, basically from a liquid polymer, liquid polyester or even silk liquid silk. You can create fabric and you can create custom seamless garments. And there's a good chance that this will bring like a revolution in the garment industry and maybe in a lot of technical technical fabrics. Another one in the house, a few examples in the health sector, the one the left is a smart insole with about 100 pressure sensors inside the insole that allows very precise pressure mapping of your feet. So the first application is for medical for diabetics, patients who lose sensation in the feet and at risk of amputation. But anyone who's doing any type
of sport who sees that generally is quite interested, like even people playing golf, they're like, I would like to know how my feet are doing when I'm playing because I could improve my game and people doing running and all sorts of other sports also really interested. So it is going to expand from medical to mainstream applications. The one to middle is a portable blood testing device.
Basically, you could have that at home and every month, so every week or after every meal, you could test your blood and have precise markers and test for not only if you have active problem conditions, but also pre conditions. So many of us might be pre diabetics, but we don't even know it because we won't test until we have a real issue that P is the one. The right I mentioned briefly is actually a sedentary like you could say the world's first inactivity tracker because most of the time such as today we're sitting and we know it's not very good for our health and we know we're sitting too long, but we don't know really what to do and how much we should stand, how active we should be. Some people go the other extreme and get a standing desk or walking desk. But probably being standing all day long is also not very healthy. So this this can help you to conclude a few lifestyle products. Connected lights Polaroid device
for smartphones and the Wonder right is actually interesting collaboration with Onkyo. It's the first headphones to help you sleep. So those guys have decided to focus on the light sleepers, the business travelers, the people who have a lot of problems sleeping and need to sleep for performing in their job or the daily life. And it's a totally different type
of criteria that people have been thinking about for headphones. Like mostly people talk about audio quality and design, and this one is for sleeping and the competition is actually not really headphones. The competition is sleeping pills. So more natural way and obviously because it's headphones, they still needed a high quality audio.
And because there are more medical engineers on mechanical engineers, they partnered with Onkyo to cover the audio part. So it's a very interesting product. And this one raised close to $2 million on Kickstarter and is going to retail soon. So I mentioned here like a few that did really well on crowdfunding. So we use a Kickstarter over 30 times with our startups and it's a great way to get market feedback early sells, find some partners, find some investment. It's been very beneficial.
So just to mention, to conclude on the what was the one on the right, what happens when you get a computer for $9? What happens in the world? So I think we're moving gradually through the evolution from just expecting things to be only connected to the Internet, to things actually measuring things and eventually to objects. Being intelligent intelligence means having autonomy and having the ability to react and perform on their own. So it's basically putting computers into things and apps running apps onto things. So in this sense, if you compare
to like the early stages of life on Earth, those are really, really simple creatures. And that's what we have today, mostly just connectivity and one, two of few senses. But the future is to really have this Cambrian explosion of devices because making something intelligent, putting, putting computer in it is $10 and maybe it will be even less. So even a humble toaster could actually have maybe face recognition so that when you walk in the kitchen it recognizes you and knows the type of toast you like and then turn itself off if you leave the kitchen because it has also presence sensor. And the smart the smart toaster would maybe be ten $20 more than the dumb one. So we'll come to expect things to be smart and reactive instead of us doing all the work.
So I think that's a really interesting future we're heading to. So I'm not sure exactly what the shape of the next Apple will be. Since I'm in China, a lot of the times show me you probably heard as a giant smartphone on connected device company from China that just grew out of nothing five years ago and now is worth $50 Billion. I think that's really like a notion of opportunities. And I look forward to to see what Japan can do on that. Thank you. Wow. Very interesting. And thank you very much, Benjamin.
Pretty interesting portfolio of investments that you made. And. Okay, next, I think we're going to move to. Thank you. Okay. So Kawada-san and can you show us your experience on this next stage and what I think you're going to. Yeah. Oh, good.
That's that's by the way, it's Mongolia. It's a beautiful country. I don't know why we have to go to train green. Otherwise, Yeah. Okay. You saw a little bit about my robot at the beginning to arms, eyes working. So I show you why we're doing it.
Here's the economic growth of Japan. And it was great. About 5% GDP growth every year till about 1990 and it went down. And since then it's been really tough even for my company also. And now we have Abenomics and it's coming up and it's it's been good.
But with the recent situation, including my stock, it's gone down. So it's very uncertain. But one of the one of the Abenomics very fortunate for me is Mr. Abe says the third arrow, one of the third
arrows is the robotics revolution, robot industrial Revolution. So these are some of the ideas about the robots applications. Many, many different applications agricultural, medical, etc. But my company is concentrating on Japanese manufacturing. Japan has been always very good with making things and I was always being a very fond of Sony products. Unfortunately, I only see Apple products here, but I'd like to see Sony come back again, although Sony is not my customer. So. So what did so what did the manufacturing look like before manufacturing factory look like before look like that? Can you see everybody? Can everyone see it? People lined up working hard.
I don't know where that is. Maybe Detroit, I don't know. And this was ridiculed by Charlie Chaplin, you know, working very hard like like people workers are slave to machines. Correct. So this is this is what the 20th century manufacturing was like. So what does it look like now? Look exactly the same, just a different race of people working. It looks exactly the same.
This is this is why many of the manufacturing disappear from America. Don't look at them in the middle, disappear from America, even from Japan this past ten years. This is this is how we lost our manufacturing. And now this is another way.
This is this is Detroit in 1920s or thirties or forties or whatever. And what does it look like now and look like this? Okay. Factories kept in the country, nobody working. Robots are working, and that's quite sad.
So there's a new type of robots that are merging now. They are called Collaborative Robot and these are the examples from one and the left is American, a Baxter one on the right, I think a Danish company or a Dutch company called Universal Robotics, Kuka on the left bottom and ABB at the bottom. These are collaborative robots. See how happy they look working with the robot. They didn't lose their jobs to robot. So that's what the this new type of robot I am betting on is.
I'm going to briefly talking about the kind of different way of a similar thing. You know, my name is Jun Murai. My background is a computer network. But anyway, computer science and my name is Jun J-U-N. Japan, University, Network. So I'm talking about the university. I'm talking about the university
as well. Let me see. Okay. So the the the Internet is basically connecting everybody in the world already. So it's you know, we have an image that is that every single person on this planet are utilizing, connecting, participating on the Internet, meaning that participation, meaning that individual is important. Individual brain, individual sense, individual experiences are going to be digitized and to be shared. So that's a really important part from from now on. So you each of you is going to be
the node of the Internet, right? And so so that that's a point of my talk. And then also the device in the sensors and the small computers, as I described already $9. But these are also a little bit more expensive. But the the now the Iot means I used to be the Internet of Things, but, you know, starting from the RFID concept, but now it's a full computer in each of the things and therefore the full full stack of computers are in the full browsers and the food web protocols and everything. And then I know a lot of lot of data
generated from all those sensors, cameras, everything. Therefore, we need a very, very strong processing powers for the for the data anyway. So that might be hidden into the cloud system, but that's a fact. So this is this is what it is like today or in five years or whatever. So it's almost there. So.
We already talked about the 3D printer things. I'm sorry, this is my university library. So we have a lot of digital fabricated things open for the students so the student can do anything with the, you know, the sewing machines and everything connecting to the Internet. Therefore, the all the data shared among them is a design in the 3D design things so that then they know the students created this. And the probably I want to notice that this is a download this thing, not download this music. So a click and you can you can print meaning that you can download the thing. So this is different.
So my one of our student created this and then the three lines at the time. So I don't know what it means three times performance about writing anything. But anyway, so as soon as this is this was up then, then all of the were the students, you know, they did the same thing. But the important thing is that this is a design 3D design things. Therefore you can modify things.
So this is a kind of social network of the design. Therefore, the one of the musicians created the five pencil version of this so that it can apply to the, the music. And so so this is a one of the example of the personalized thing. So look at this. This is the artificial leg. Was used. This is today what it is. You know, a lot of factories and a lot of parts to have artificial leg for the you know, the the replacing the leg, you know, so then they need a lot of work and then the experts. Was needed but today that can be
done by 3D printer so with a with a nice design and the beautiful leg as existing one and the scanning from the existing leg and then put print by the software. Therefore you don't need the experts and the factories in in a local locations so that you know, our students created the system and then the soft materials tunnel some mentioned was used in the then you know so so you know a lot of you know the the 3D printer function in the software can be exporting to anywhere in the world so that the artificial leg can be produced in anywhere. So this is a Philippine and then they are students are moving the entire system to the local areas and the rural areas. And then where they are, a lot of people are, you know, you know, demand is very high. And then this beautiful lady
girl won the the leg. And then with that can be created locally by local materials. So this is more toward the social functions with a network. And so some of the fabrications. Can I can I do a little bit more on this? I'm sorry, this is a stuffed animal design tool so that it was very difficult for the all the materials and the skins and created. But this is instantly creating the stuffed animal you can design on the left window and the then the right window is there, you know, patterns you should create. And then this is a three
dimensional kind of design tool. So what this is when the mother wants the, you know, the this this one stuffed animal to their kids, she can instantly create by herself for loving kids. Right. Okay. So this is very much personal. Okay. So the personal fabrication is one of the way of utilizing it and then kind of learning from the all the materials and everything. So the question is, what about the liability? What about the the intellectual property things? I mean, if you create and design is flying on the Internet and that then the you create the things and if what if that injured somebody so that the product liability thing. So what we are doing for for for this purpose is to. Okay.
What we are doing is put the RFID, see the left one is the RFID and drop it and the into the materials like that so that it's a numbered and the uniquely identified through the RFID in it. So so you can check the what it's made from and the you can measure and then you know this is a register. Therefore, this is a kind of futuristic idea about what we are proposing, that even if a personal product, then it's going to be registered and it's going to be checked and therefore safety nets and other things with the community and the local people and, you know, all over the world. So this is a kind of combination of the digital fabrication and the Internet and the social network. Well, thank you very much. When I say I think it's a very
interesting to see like just a 3D printer, social network, a distributed manufacturing. Also like we saw the Kawada-san's stage global the actual impact in the in a change in the way we do manufacturing in conventional factories. So it seems like right now we have a quite substantial change in the paradigm in the manufacturing. But what is the take on this Murai-san that do you think are we going to have a further stretch and they're going to change the quite substantial ecosystem on the manufacturing industry? I think so, not only the manufacturing industry, but also the delivery system, because, you know, if the design is going, I mean, these designer digital digital things is going around and then you can't check. There is no border, by the way, on the where. So it's not an import export concept at all. Right. And then not delivering job at all
because it's a kind of utilizing the local materials and then the producing the local things. So a lot of different things. But more importantly, what I want you to understand is that the personal creativity in a very inexpensive and, you know, the commodity way can produce things. So that's a really important point. Very interesting. So Kawada-san your robot is now in a convention, rather conventional factory, but do you actually see the ambition you envision like this, a 3D printer, more socio manufacturing combined with, for example, next stage robot, because they can actually program for that each manufacturing process work.
Then we actually get kind of components printed on spot. Any robot actually download bigger picture and assemble the components, right? So like, do you think like you envision like a much bigger future on this? My robot is not very smart and we are not a powerhouse like other robot companies. So we like to we would like to work with other people, companies, smart people to do things together. And what I'm what you said is I think it will happen. You know, the the best nice thing about the human shaped robot is it can use human tools and it's very intuitive for what? What will this robot do? It's a human shaped.
It's it's very predictable. Yeah. And but with the what Dr. Murai said was very eye opening for me with, with the RFID. So new type of manufacturing, I thought mine was cutting edge. But I think there's much more out out there and we have to collaborate to make that happen. Yeah. So, Benjamin, I think you look at the Silicon Valley and Shenzhen and then also, you're working the business to Japan. So this is an interesting because we
saw a little bit hardware startup, but I think it's the hardware startup will be probably different from the conventional hardware, but people talking about what you see as a new type of a hardware stop, what is the characteristics compared with the conventional so-called Japanese monozukuri kind of company? Yeah, I think the current change with hardware startups is that the hardware is getting increasingly commoditized. So Xiaomi is a great example of that. There really is the activity tracker for $15 that do smartphones just as good as the best Android smartphones on the on the market for less than half the price with disruptive distribution very high quality almost no inventory because they sell direct. So I think if you want a chance as a hardware startup or hardware company to to survive in a market where things get commoditized, you need to do something that's actually hard to do.
And typically all the startups we invest in are startups for for which the hardware is just the entry point. And the key is really. Into the science that goes behind what they're doing. So it could be medical science, it could be material science, It could be physics. Like new sensor technology that's
proprietary to them, or it's, of course, on the software side. So it could be algorithms in particular for computer vision, for robotics. It's really important. And in some cases like like original algorithms or artificial intelligence.
So I think that's really where it's going when you see that the prices of, you know, an activity tracker smartwatch or drone is dropping even like a consumer type 3D printer today, you can find models for just a few hundred dollars, like it's absolutely dropping in price and the margins are going to be nowhere. There's very little defense ability. So you have to do something that's really hard, providing a service for which there's added value. That's I think that's one of the key challenges. I think beyond that, I think there's a kind of conventional belief for the Japanese industry like how do we are building this is Japanese good apple, But like, you know, we couldn't get the Google or Amazon because we're not getting more IT or information side. But if the thing is back in hardware, when you have Japanese, you still have an edge. Do you think is still that the case
the game have changed dramatically or we're going to change very rapidly. So like you know the those advantage we got generally people in the in Japan believe it's no longer the case. So I'll be very quick on that. But if you do pure hardware, I think it's really hard. It's become very dangerous, actually, because reverse engineering is not extremely efficient in China and elsewhere, but in China in particular. So if people can just take your product, open it up, look at it and redo it and then sell it for half the price, then it's going to it's going to happen.
In some cases, they actually reinvent it, maybe, you know, so you're probably all familiar with Segway. Maybe you've seen the more modern kind of version where it's kind of like two wheels on the side, but there's no like thing to hang on. You just stand on it and you you move you you tilt your feet to to rotate that. So that's a fairly new invention. And the inventors actually the product that they have developed are not is not very good in terms of a reliability on design for manufacturing.
So it's not really ready for mass production in China. Just right the corner, you can find very similar products with much better engineering and they didn't copy from anywhere because there was nowhere to copy from. They just looked at the concept like, okay, that's good, we can do that. And they just did it and they do it better. So you have no choice. Like if you don't want to be
commoditized really fast either, you go with very high value components, very high tech. That's what Japan is good at. And you have some defense ability because it's very hard to do or you have to bring in some form of defense ability in the form of science and software. Thank you very much. That's very insightful. It's like a one sided like we have to have like a very sophisticated, like, you know, components no one can copy easily. On the other side, we have to actually work with like a more on information, big data or science behind it. So the Murai-san I think you are involving a lot of Japanese policy decision making committee, so to speak, but try to get that guy, you know, combine the big data, how to use that Iot and probably we're now serious to think about it combine them together the of a hardware industry what's your take on this. Okay the one thing about the Iot things I mean, Iot is seems to be a buzzword for especially for the Japanese, you know, the government initiative and for the for the future information technology area. And we've been discussing about a
lot about what is the different from I.t to Iot, right? I mean when we've been talking about it and in please use the computer and the internet for your businesses. Right. You know that has been done. And what's different for the Iot Iot is the data. Right. So utilizing the data so will new utilize the data data for your innovation innovative you know the operation of the company and the businesses. So the question the getting back to
the government policy since then, you know probably the the Japanese government from from this year to 4 to 5 years, what's going to be emphasizing on you know, for the regulation things the utilize the safe utilization of the data for the any of the segment of the industries. That's that's one of the policy. Yeah. So even for the hopefully the. Health. Health? Not. Not M. But the health data, at least. Hopefully. Closer to the hospital. Reaching to M. Data. You have a problem of saying is a very difficult medical. I'm sorry.
I think a medical data is a very difficult. Anyway, so the utilization of agriculture with the data and what's going to be the innovation on that, you know, so so data and the data generated from the things in that, then the data has to be analyzed, which is our artificial intelligence. Things and the deep learning and other things. So this is a big game change. So now when I switch gears to the player side, we talk a lot about that technology. So, you know, for those the cutting
edge, fast moving technology, but we actually look into the startups. I mean, big company might sometimes succeed and more likely a startup going to be the major player. So we have an issue in the Japanese startup ecology and we are struggling.
And the Benjamin I think you have like operation in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen. And then you know, from my perspective, like, you know, if you have competition and that's enough, why are you interested in Japan? I think obviously I'd be sitting in Japan trying to find a company to invest, like what's your attraction in Japan? So we can still take advantage of your interest? Yeah. I mean, so we're based in Silicon Valley, not because we want to move every job to to Shenzhen or China, but because it's a resource, just like Silicon Valley is a resource.
And as a startup, your job is to find the best resources. So we encourage companies to actually keep the R&D wherever they're from, where they can probably find really good engineers and talented people, probably cheaper than Silicon Valley and probably easier to manage than in China. But if you're making things and you want to get to scale at some point, China is definitely part of the equation today in the world, even if you have really high quality like high tech components in Japan that you want to use that's going to be assembled, that's going to need plastic injection, that's going to need metal parts, that's going to be you know, you're going to need the entire supply chain. So now, in terms of where the innovation comes from, I think innovation does not really have borders. Of course, some places have better environments to support innovation.
If you can't even make a prototype fast and cheap in where you live because you don't have this infrastructure or you don't have any access to capital, it's really difficult. Like in India, there's lots of really good engineers, but when I talk to entrepreneurs from there, they say it's really, really hard to get even a circuit board printed at a good price so that they can iterate on prototypes. So I think Japan has a lot of attraction in terms of engineering, in terms of product design.
This is not new to you. You're familiar with that. But I think what's missing is a bit, let's say, a vision that goes beyond a niche product. So trying to do something that's larger, maybe more ambitious and more global, and to be more global today, you need to integrate as part of your experience. So as part of your team, the the understanding of the ecosystems you need. So China, probably us, if you're targeting like when you say go global means go us, right? Generally as a start. So if you have if you've never been
there, if you've never spent time living there, not just visiting the Google campus and have free food, which happens a lot, but you need to have spent time there to really get to understand or you need to have people on your team who have spent time there as part of the founding team or the executive team. So I think that's the idea is really combining those this global awareness and experience so that you can reach global markets. And I expect Japan to get that. Yeah, thank you very much. You have anything to add on this? Yeah, actually I really agree that that you know kind of diversity of cultures about the kind of creating things and you know the innovation especially when the you know, the hardware being a commodity and that personalized and that then you can create a new type of a hardware thing. And then this is, you know,
very exciting in Ascension and then also a lot very different in India, for example. So that, you know, mixture of everything. By the way, then I'm working with the Indian Institute, you know it in India, Hyderabad.
And then I found the very interesting things we worked on, the digital fabricator things, and they are talking about the bicycle. The bicycle is, you know, when something broken, then they know they're going to produce by the 3D printer for that broken part, replacing it, replacing it, replacing it. And then so now the bicycles, life is going to be eternal. I mean it. It didn't die. It will never die. It's forever.
The bicycle lives forever. Because part by part, they started to create replace when it when one part is broken. So it's a forever bike. Okay. So that was that was changing the, you know, the definition of a thing already. So so this is this is probably this idea only happens from the Indian culture, culture in India. So that that was very, very much I know we can learn that, you know, we can enjoy those diversity of creativity around the world and then the learning from everybody.
But interesting one note is that while he was involved in Sony's IBO project with Robot Dog, Sony, unfortunately decided to discontinue. Now we discontinue the service. We don't have any components to the place. And then there's a group of people, Sony engineer, actually fixing it. But if we can actually manufacture
the component by 3D printer, you know, we can actually fix that robot and we keep it going forever. Well, we can actually manufacture the tissues and we can actually produce and we can live web if you want. Maybe. Well, actually, I think it's a time to open the question, you know, with the flow, like, okay, so you're the first. Thank you very much. Imagine Lapland. I'm a consultant in data science, and
I'm here on behalf of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Thanks for sharing these very exciting innovations. My question is about teaching people to interact with these technologies.
So, for example, co-design. When you bring your collaborative robots into the factory, what kind of a reaction or interaction are you seeing and how do you manage that? Thank you. Unfortunately, I only know about my robot, so my my world is very small, but like I said earlier, the human shaped is very important thing and that the role, the robots are the glory factory. Each robot has a name, so they they they address each robot with a different name. And. And the people that work there. Oh, today's Mr. Europe. They make make money, Right?
Money Making many money checking machines. Your robot is not feeling so well, so maybe you'll change it with yen, you know. So interaction to surprisingly in Japan is very positive. And it's it's and you know, I watch the Hollywood movies and they all at the end revolt against human beings but but in Japan so far has been very good I think it's also because we don't have enough people to work and that's going to get worse and worse. So people see robots as the necessity to to keep going. There's there is a lot of research
activities going on about, you know, the robot human interaction things and the probably muscles on your you are part of it right in the, you know, human robot interaction community. And then there is a one called Roman, which is just happening last week in somewhere in Japan. And then so yes, that's a very big important issue that, you know, what's going to be the future issue. And, you know, there is a tremendous amount of the work on, you know, the recognition, you know, the humans, you know, education areas. And those are the very, very strong researchers working on, you know, to explore that kind of area. Hi, my name is Joseph Fernandez. I'm a student here at Globus. I'm a medical doctor.
So my question is about why do you think that companies are focusing mostly on healthcare and fitness rather than diagnostic and therapy? We have not seen any major breakthrough in in diagnostic and therapy. Why? So just wait for startups to come out because I think it's just easier to do. So I'll take the question. So it's just easier to do general fitness because you just need like a nine axis accelerometer and Bluetooth on a battery and that's all you need and you connect that to your smartphone. So it's just really simple, but it's it's not really delivering like medical value. It's like general. Also, it's easier to go to market because you don't need to go through FDA certification if you want to get a medical device to market with actual certification, as you probably know, it takes yes, it can take 1 to 3 years depending like we have one of the startups we invested in currently in the program. They do implants to help with recovery of spine surgery.
Well, that's going to take a while to get to market. So in some cases, I think it's just a matter of like available technology that was made kind of commoditized thanks to those guys. Actually, smartphones made accelerometers really cheap on the Bluetooth components. Really cheap. So now you can make affordable devices. And for consumers, that's great. On the medical side, if you do something more complicated, it's going to be more expensive. And then the question arises,
who pays for it? And just to to give some hints on what I think might be the future for like medical diagnostic and maybe beyond that, is that essentially the advertising paid for the Internet? The reason we have free search free email is because advertising pays for it. So that's more or less the main business model of the Internet. What's the business model for Iot for medical devices? At the moment it's kind of questionable. And if you have to shoulder all the costs as a consumer, it can be really expensive. So I think the future of that is actually insurance is going to pay for it, but for insurance, not only. So first you need to device you
to be certified, they need to device to prove that it's delivering some value. And then you need the entrances to actually embrace it, because then the business of not paying back the money they get, right. They want you to be healthy so that they keep the money you give them. So I think that's going to come. But it's just a it's just a bit of a lag to get them.
Yeah, I think in my experience is that there are companies actually if you had the technology that can be either a medical device or a non medical device and many of them actually choose to be no medical device because they have to go through the whole the FDA approval and all that. And if you actually do like a non medical, even if your product doesn't work up, you might actually people or you might say, oh, you know, you can actually recoup some part of the investment, Not entirely. But if you actually try for the diehard medical device and you fail to be approved, you get zero return on it. And that's really a tough decision to make. So that's but of course, like if you have like a big company, like major Pharma or major diagnostic company backing you up, yeah, you should just go for that.
Actually, that's very important thing to do is, you know, decision is not because it's important or not, it's more or less than investment returns or that the risk of the business. I think that's okay. Any other questions so now on the back. My name is Daniel. I am from a global MBA program. I want to ask for the start of. My question goes to Mr. Benjamin. When you have great ideas or people who have engineering background and decide to possibly partner with you, do you also finance them in area of trying to spread the product across to ensure that they have dividends for their own effort and ideas? Yeah. A That's a really good question.
So yes, so we finance the companies. The typically we invest $100,000 in each startup with follow on of at least 200,000. So that's $300,000. And what we found is that is if you have a great idea and a great prototype, we can initially help you get to a product stage and you can start selling. We can even help you launch your product with crowdfunding because we have a lot of experience with that.
But then to be a sustainable company in the long term, you need to establish like repeat sales, and that's the next thing we're tackling. So we're starting a new program of Cisco that's actually focused on that, helping startups that have products to get better marketing, better distribution, better sales. So yeah, any question your second, I am curious to know from just from a student of Clovis.
And my question is I am firm. Mr. Benjamin said that the startup of hardware, hardware, hardware need something science. So we like to start up such a hardware and hardware company. What we can do when we don't have engineering, engineering knowledge. And yeah, well, I think I think that was the topic of a Dilbert cartoon this week. There was, you may be familiar with Dilbert, like the management related cartoon.
There's the manager guy with the pointy hair, and he goes to one of his engineers and he says, Well, I have an idea for for a startup and but I don't have technical skills. I just need the engineers and investors to get started. And then I think his engineers like, look back and like, okay, so basically you have nothing. So it's yeah, if you so what you can do, however is that you don't have you actually don't have nothing if you don't have technical skills. What you can have is done research enough on the market so you can talk to companies who could be the customers of what you want to build and make sure the market exists because the biggest waste of your time and energy and resources could be to build something nobody wants.
So actually, if you if you tell me, look, I can't build that thing, but I know what kind of engineers I need, and I've talked to like 50 people in that particular industry and out of the 5020 of them wanted to buy the thing of the spot. And I know I can reach the price point to be profitable. So now I just need the resources to make it happen. It's actually really, really important research and that can validate a business even before you spend almost any money on it and you hire anyone. And I think actually the problem we have with our startups is that because the engineer, they love building, so they start by building and they haven't quite validated if there's a market like, for example, the fabric printer is an amazing invention. It's like the Macintosh of moment for the fabric industry and the fashion industry that don't have yet very clear customer because the technology is not there yet. So yes, So yes, you can do something.
Any other questions? But yes, on the back, on the way back, analyze why you think sorry, could you could you analyze why you think you have one startup in Japan? Only one. Sorry, I'm hogging the questions, but those guys have the answers. He's so what I understood from so I was at two other conferences this week and I met probably was about 200 startups in one of them and they were first is very, very few hardware startups in general out across all the startups, maybe 10%, 10% or maybe more like 5%.
And I think the challenge is that in the software world it's much easier to start and people have a lot of education around how you can build startups now and there's a support system, but people who do hardware, they typically electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, product designers, they're much less exposed to that environment. And I think a lot of interesting research is actually happening with people like the panelists here and also within large companies. And there could be spin off from universities, There could be spin off from companies where they're like, they decide, okay, this an interesting product, but we need to make it separate so that they have autonomy. So let's spin it off.
And that could happen, but maybe there's less of a habit to it. There's less bridges between research and entrepreneurship, and that's something that possibly can be bridged. So like with encounters like this, you know, like my university, a lot of startups in the past, now they're doing the start ups of the hardware. The reason is that, you know,
as Benjamin said, hardware becoming a commodity things and therefore then it's easier to design and then they're creating the things and also inexpensive. Therefore, it's very easy for them that their idea and mine is going to be applying to the actual application areas and the services with the hardware. So I just gave the two of my students a startup name cause to Benjamin today. It would be touch, I think. So I'll get. I'm from Osaka, which I believe that is one of the famous manufacturing capabilities in Japan. But I'm questioned about why the startups is passing over Japan. Rather than rushing into Japan.
So what caused you to go to. So we had that conversation. I was asking, Do you invest in startups? I told him, Look, Mr. Camarda, we have about a dozen robotics startups doing very interesting things. Are you guys interested in that? And I think, What was your answer? We we want to do it internally. It wants to do internally. So that means that for some companies, for some startups, that just can't find customers.
So that's one challenge, of course. Of course, if you do consumer devices, it could be a very good market like China, like Japan is a very large and rich market. But for many foreign founders, they're much more comfortable speaking English than Japanese, even if they're not American. So for them, it's an easier access to us. Also, I think Japanese consumers tend to be very demanding in terms of the like they expect of quality essentially. So as a startup, it's really difficult to do. You're not Apple. You need to get something to
market that's good enough. And actually customers in the US, they're quite happy with good enough. So that's probably another another reason why I say, you know, there are some change in atmosphere. You know, that the behavior in the Japanese company, for example, Sony and running the program to actually have a startup and initial batch action that was also an engineer but now actually collaborates an external entrepreneur. So we contract with external entrepreneur and then match matchup with the Sony engineers, depends on the capability and then try to actually create a joint venture with the So like Sony, we have nothing to lose anymore so we can do quite a bit of radical things, you know, so like we can do that. But you know, I think, you know, it depends.
I think things are changing right now. Yeah. So actually on it's actually on that point. So I actually started a company in Japan, venture company, but we were focused on industrial sector. I think the challenges for industrial sector is quite similar to hardware where in Japan there's a very low tolerance for risk. And also, as you mentioned, a lot of
the big companies in Japan try to do everything they can in-house or in partnership with a university. So if you're not with a university or in-house, the chances of follow on funding is very, very low. So I actually found in Japan we met with a lot of the big companies. Yes, we love what you're doing. We need this because we need this right now. But the risk factor, we just can't do it unless it's internal. The risk factor will not happen.
The only interest we got was foreign investors looking to invest in Japan, because that's where the technology was. Right. So I think that's a that's links with the previous discussion we had in this room about risk. And one of the things that's holding us back a bit in Japan is trying to take on more risk to get the big wins that you guys are seeing now. Yeah, I have a comment about that. When when the iRobot Roomba came out, I thought it was a shame that it was not a Japanese company. I thought it was fantastic.
So I talked to some of the big electronics company engineers about it, so. Oh, no, no, no. We were working on it five years ago. We had it all done and we have an old, old ready to go. That presented to the management and they said, the legal guy says, okay, what if it hurts a baby or if it's if it topples over a sink and burns the house and then the product gets shut down like that. And you're right, that is a problem with the Japanese companies.
I mean, for instance, my company, nobody knows what industries is a robot maker, but nobody came up with such a robot, right? I mean, we didn't know. We did not know there was there was not a market like that Fennec or motorman. They did not come up with it. Now they're coming up behind us
and may may take over, overtake us very soon. But that is true. I mean, we need more guinea pigs. And that is a fantastic thing about Silicon Valley. And I hope a place like Globe is will will get more people from Japan doing doing more risk taking. Yeah. Just to to comment on what you just said, I think in a way it's it's a mirror of what you said. Like, oh, like we have nothing to lose so we can take risks. And on the other side, if,
if things are kind of stable but not growing fast, you feel very risk averse, averse. So there's really two situations. Either everything's growing and you're very optimistic and you take risk because the downside is not much. Are you really in trouble? And then you take risks because you have no choice. And the problem is that Japan is at this kind of stable, yet not so amazing, yet not so bad. That doesn't push for risk. So there's kind of economic reasons for that.
And another reason is probably related to more like, let's say, the culture. And I don't think it's unique to Japan. I'm from France originally and I don't think France is particularly risk taking, but I think the US, in the way it was built and in the way Silicon Valley was built is very can do action oriented. And then they do, they do first
and then they count the bodies. And if things go well, then it will benefit enough and you can recombine those who fail. So it has worked pretty well, like over the past 40 years for the US and maybe even beyond that. So that's really I think there's partly cultural and economic reasons and it's kind of difficult to reverse engineer or to re engineer also also probably the one with the approach is, you know, like what we are we just started the government for the for the big data use is also the you know the Japanese company is not using the data because of the risk.
And so there should be a some mechanism to prepare the environment for doing the taking some kind of easing some of the risks from the industries and, you know, the idea or the all and that kind of a mechanism built in the supported by partially by the government to create that we probably lock up a number of attorneys, right? Yeah, maybe. But well thank you very much. I think we have to close in session. I think I got final message, final comments from the other panelists.
30 seconds. Final comments. Well, some of the, you know, potential entrepreneur for them to encourage them to challenge. Okay. Yeah. As I mentioned then, the youth use of the data on the Internet is changing a lot.
I mean, the used to be, you know, the the the big data was on the text based from the web and the, you know, the SNS and everything. Now it's a more broader data generated from the sensors and the devices camera and etc.. Therefore the artificial intelligence and the other things. It's a very, very big change on the game about the digital space. Therefore you think, please, you know, about the, you know, the new approach is going to be necessary. This is a very exciting time. Benjamin Just if you have any good
companies that can collaborate with or buy. Let me know. All right. Thank you. Thank you so much. Good to have you to come in. I hope you don't buy them too early because otherwise not it's not good enough for us. But yeah, no, I appreciate that. And I really encourage you also to visit us in Shenzhen to see what's what's up. Oh, I love China. I love it. So. So the deal is done. Well, thank you very much. Sorry. I had like, one one phrase of a
sorry, just just to wrap up, I think one of the challenges in Japan is is around like risk taking culture. And I think we're all aware of that. And one way I would see to maybe act on that is to create some kind of a hero, a role model. And I think maybe the best way to go about it is actually to create a fictitious one through manga or TV drama. I would love that hero to be a female
tech entrepreneur that does like some kind of hardware involving China, involving us, involving Japanese design and engineering as a as a story that people could could be inspired by. So thank you very much. I think that's a very interesting we have an interesting change in circumstance and opportunities and new technology emerging. And, you know, when a venture capital like Benjamin Dykstra is still interested in Japan and we have proximity to Shenzhen, if we to have a mass production. So we want to take advantage of that. And, you know, as Benjamin pointed out, an interesting because I said, like, you know, Sony has nothing to lose. So we can take a risk. You know, if you think about Japan like a Japan is the future. I mean, like, you know, decrease in demography is and the in China and we have not much to lose so we can take a risk now.
Well, thank you too much. And then, you know, thank you very much for attending this session. Thank you very much.