Monthly Update, April 2020 (Tokyo)

1. Indoor drone, Liberaware (Season 10) raises nearly 260 million yen (2.4M USD) in funding

IBIS, an industrial drone developed by Liberaware, is increasingly being used for inspection in places where humans cannot work, such as high places, underground pits, and inside pipes, as well as for regular checks in factories, inventory control in warehouses, and security patrols of indoor facilities.
This funding will be used to further enhance IBIS’s strengths, such as autonomous flight and AI functions. We will strengthen our support for efficiency and digital transformation (data collection, data analysis, and data utilization) in the three areas of inspection, measurement, and analysis. The investors include Kyoto University Fund managed by Miyako Capital, NEC Capital Solutions, and DRONE FUND.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000017.000031759.html (in Japanese)
http://liberaware.co.jp/index.html

2. Group communication service, BONX (Season 6) raised 310 million yen (2.9M USD) in Series C financing

BONX, which aims to be the world’s most versatile voice communication platform, was born out of snowboarding and has grown into a product that is now used in construction sites, retail stores, medical care facilities, variety shows, and even at the forefront of fighting against Covid-19 crisis.
BONX will use the funds to expand sales of BONX Grip, an extreme communication gear, and accelerate the functional expansion of BONX for BUSINESS, a business-oriented group communication tool that was launched in December 2017.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000063.000020459.html (in Japanese)
https://bonx.co/en/

3. AI startup, HACARUS (Season 12) announced a Series B round of funding to raise hundreds of millions of yen

HACARUS has raised Series B funds from Osaka Gas, DS Pharma Animal Health and existing shareholder Kyogin Lease Capital. HACARUS and Osaka Gas have agreed in August 2019 to consider joint development for the following two purposes
1) Joint development of an AI system to make Daigas group’s internal operations more efficient and labor-saving.
2) Joint development of AI and IoT solutions provided by the Daigas Group to customers.
Based on a variety of technical verification, demonstration tests and effectiveness measurements, the two companies have decided to form a capital alliance with the aim of strengthening their cooperative relationship.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000015.000026090.html (in Japanese)
https://hacarus.com/

4. NTT DOCOMO adopts “Spectee Pro” AI Real-Time Crisis Management Information Service by Spectee (Season 2)

Spectee Pro is a crisis management information service that utilizes AI technology to analyze information posted on social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook to provide accurate, real-time notifications of “what’s happening where” by analyzing more than 100 types of events such as disaster information, fire, accident and other emergency information, infectious disease information, and corporate and municipal crisis management information, multiplied by targets in prefectures, municipalities, airports, stations, commercial facilities, and business locations.
DOCOMO introduced “Spectee Pro” nationwide to ensure stable operation of communication lines and various services, to improve service quality, and to respond quickly in the event of an accident or disaster. We plan to use this service to quickly detect natural disasters, incidents, accidents, and localized congestion that may affect the provision of lines and services, and to quickly implement the necessary measures. In the event of a major disaster, it is also considering using this service to support disaster relief, such as checking the damage status from SNS posts and deciding whether or not to dispatch a recovery team.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000040.000016808.html (in Japanese)
https://corp.spectee.com/

5. Triple W Japan (Season 8), excretion prediction device “DFree” developer, launches Excretion Care Recording Service

TripleW Japan added a new function to its service “DFree Professional” to record excretion care, and started offering it as an excretion care recording service. The company offers DFree, an IoT wearable device that uses ultrasonic sensors to detect changes in the bladder and predict the timing of urination. The system supports personalized care tailored to the needs of care receivers, which is difficult to achieve with conventional excretion care, thereby improving the quality of life (QOL) of care receivers and reducing the burden on caregivers.
DFree Professional is a free service that allows nursing care facilities and medical institutions to easily record, view, and manage paper-based excretion care records anytime, anywhere from an iPad, iPhone, or PC, and will be offered to nursing care facilities and medical institutions regardless of the status of DFree installation.

https://ascii.jp/elem/000/004/009/4009070/ (in Japanese)
https://www.dfreeus.biz/

6. Environmental startup, Pirika (Season 6) announced that artificial turf causes microplastic pollution in rivers

A survey of 73 rivers and ports in 12 prefectures, from Kanto to Okinawa, found microplastic contamination in almost all of them, according to a Tokyo-based environmental startup, Pirika. Out of a total of 100 survey sites, artificial turf fragments were found in 75 of the 12 prefectures, making it clear that the source of the outbreak was different from the well-known plastic bottles and plastic shopping bags.
The artificial turf is believed to have been stripped from the ground and tennis courts and washed away through gutters. The president Fujio Kojima pointed out that tires and shoe soles are also likely to be the source of the problem, and he said, “I would like to work with companies and industries that handle these products to solve this problem.

https://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/news/200414/bsc2004140500007-n1.htm (in Japanese)
https://en.corp.pirika.org/

7. PicoCELA (Season 11), a wireless communication equipment, began offering “Cable Irazu”, Wifi for offices

PicoCELA starts to offer a new service “Cable-Irazu”, or cable free, (https://cableiras.jp) that turns your office into a comfortable Wi-Fi by simply plugging in the power source, no installation work required. With next-generation wireless mesh technology that enables stable communication performance even in enterprise environments, PicoCELA provides products and services that build comfortable Wi-Fi spaces at construction sites and factories where wiring is difficult, and at large festivals where many people use Wi-Fi at the same time. We are pleased to announce the launch of “Cable Irazu”, a compact office version of the comfortable performance that has been proven in outdoor use.
Traditionally, the installation of office Wi-Fi has been a costly and time-consuming process, not only for the price of the unit but also for the subsequent installation work. The “Cable Irazu ” product reduces installation costs by up to one-third with its patented cable-less technology, and provides a comfortable communication space anytime, anywhere by simply plugging it into a power source.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000031.000035736.html (in Japanese)
https://www.picocela.com/

8. Orange Fab startups provide various services to help tackling with Covid-19

Future Standard (Season 7), operator of the video analytics AI platform SCORER, will begin offering the new coronavirus countermeasure services “Hand Washing and Disinfection Recording Service”, “Ventilation Status Detection Service”, and “Density Detection Solution” in May as a corporate BCP (Business Continuity Plan) measure against the new coronavirus (COVID-19), utilizing AI and IoT.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000038.000017039.html (in Japanese)
https://www.futurestandard.co.jp/

Locarise (Season 1), the leading provider of unique insights for retail outlets, announces the release of the new SIGNAL feature of its IoT-based coronavirus response solution, Locarise TRAFFIC, on April 20, 2020, to ensure that businesses can meet their business continuity plans (BCP) and protect the health and safety of all people against the new strain of coronavirus.
We set up the Xovis 3D sensor, a camera that we handle, at the entrance to the store, and monitor the congestion in the store while counting the number of customers in real time. In order to avoid the risk of infection due to congestion in the store, the information is automatically displayed on tablets and digital signage.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000002.000057029.html (in Japanese)
https://locarise.com/

BONX (Season 6) will lend “BONX for Business,” a corporate communication application, and “BONX Grip,” a communication device required for this purpose, free of charge until the spread of the coronavirus has been terminated, to medical institutions that are busy with responding to the new coronavirus. In addition, up to 50 BONX Grip units will be lent free of charge to the first 20 medical institutions that apply for the service.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000059.000020459.html (in Japanese)
https://bonx.co/en/

Empath (Season 9), a developer of speech-emotion analysis AI, has developed a speech-analysis AI “R:EmoTalkie” (https://remotalkie.webempath.ai/ ) to make teleconferences more positive and has started offering it free of charge on April 24, 2020. Remote-Talkie analyzes the characteristics and emotions of the participants’ speech and extracts the good parts of their speech, and gives positive feedback to the speakers to encourage them to speak positively at the conference.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000033.000030514.html (in Japanese)
https://webempath.com/

Chikaku (Season 7) will be offering up to 10,000 yen back to customers as a Mother’s Day campaign on May 10th this year. With the spread of the new coronavirus, the entire country has been asked to refrain from going out, and I’m sure you are experiencing many hardships, such as not being able to go out, not being able to see your grandparents, or not being able to see your grandchildren.
Under these circumstances, we hope that “digital homecoming” through “Mago Channel,” which allows you to send videos taken with your smartphone directly to your home TV, will bring you closer to your family.

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000049.000015422.html (in Japanese)
https://www.chikaku.co.jp/

ZEST (Season 7), a cloud service to optimize home health care visiting schedules, will be offered for six months at a 90% discount from the normal rate for visiting nursing stations suffering from a more serious shortage of human resources due to the spread of the new type of coronary pneumonia. Specifically, this initiative is targeted at visiting nursing stations and offices that wish to share the human resources of visiting staff at multiple stations in the same region to cover the patient’s visits, and it is necessary for two or more stations or offices that wish to share the human resources in the same region to apply simultaneously.

https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=000000001.000056654&g=prt (in Japanese)
https://www.zest.jp/