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.
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.
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.