Exclusive: Japan’s Leave a Nest mulls startup hub in Philippines

Visual from Leave a Nest's website.

Leave a Nest Co Ltd, a Japan-based science communication firm and investor, is mulling to launch a local hub in the Philippines that would focus on education, acceleration and investments in startups engaging in “deep science” and technology or “real-tech”.

In an exclusive interview with DEALSTREETASIA, Leave a Nest president and CEO Yukihiro Maru, said, he is interested in launching a local branch within Metro Manila next year, which will offer the same services of its overseas branches in Singapore, Malaysia, US, and UK, – with the goal of establishing the largest knowledge-platform for science.

Leave a Nest’s services include capacity building seminars, research development, business development support, revitalizing local area, among others, entirely focused on science and technology.

Maru said, the company’s real-tech fund has now reached up to $90 million (10 billion Yen) backed by its joint venture partners, venture capital firms, national grants, and other investors. The fund is utilised under Leave a Nest’s seed acceleration programme called Tech Planter, which has supported over 70 early-stage startup teams in Japan since 2014.

“We are more focussed on deep science like biotech, agritech, and healthcare, not IT. This is our concept we call real tech,” Maru said.

Also Read: Japan’s Leave a Nest concludes first Tech Planter startup contest in Philippines

Maru said, all overseas branches do what the company’s headquarters do in Japan which is spreading science education together with the universities, training programmes, and teaming up with local companies to understand specific needs of a nation.

“That’s why we need a local presence here in the Philippines, for customization, and localization,” Maru said, who has a background in agricultural science with partner investors in Silicon Valley.

“The problems I see so far that needs to be addressed in the Philippines are pollution, traffic jams, and healthcare. We see a lot of potential among young students in universities and we can connect them to major companies and build, procreate real tech from the Philippines. We can form JVs, invest in young talents,” Maru added.

The Tokyo-based bio venture firm’s Tech Planter team is currently traveling the world for its series of startup competitions. It has so far awarded grand prize winners in India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, who will all compete in the Asia-Pacific finals on July 29, 2017 in Singapore.

Also Read: Philippines: Ascendant wins Takeda healthtech startup challenge

Next in line are Taiwan, Japan, UK, and US from August 5 to November 11 this year. The program will also conduct a showcase event of each team’s idea to partner companies of Leave a Nest from Japan.

Winner of the Tech Planter finals in the Philippines last May 27 was UBE-Tech, who pitched a technology that allows utilizing lightly pigmented ube (purple yam) for commercial use. Ube is a native dessert made from the purple sweet potato plant. The team’s technology was seen as applicable to other food materials to solve unnecessary disposal of crops.

First Tech Planter champion Atsushi Shimizu, founder and CEO of Japanese wind turbine venture Challenergy Inc, served as a guest speaker at the Philippine finals. Since its winning in 2014, Shimizu received technical and fundamental support from partner companies and government in his venture to solve energy issues with Challenergy’s vertical axis wind turbine. The company now aims for mass production of its turbine.

Also Read:

iSGS-backed group invests in Cambodian startup Agribuddy

Indonesian agritech startup Eragano bags seed funding from East Ventures

Singapore’s ASLAN Pharma completes $33m IPO in Taiwan

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.