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Mitsui Fudosan and LINK-J to Participate in the BRAVE Acceleration Program as Partners to Support
Business Startups of University-originated Technology Business Ventures
Life Sciences Award established at the Final Examination to invite the winner to a U.S. event organized by Biocom, with approximately 800 members around the world

December 7, 2016
Beyond Next Ventures
Life Science Innovation Network Japan, Inc. (LINK-J)
Mitsui Fudosan Co. Ltd.

Tokyo, Japan, December 7, 2016 - Life Science Innovation Network Japan Inc. (LINK-J), an incorporated association founded by Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (Mitsui Fudosan) and a group of volunteers from academia, and Mitsui Fudosan are pleased to announce that they will take part in the BRAVE Acceleration Program operated by Beyond Next Ventures Inc. (Beyond Next Ventures), a company making incubation investments in university-originated technology business ventures, as corporate partners.

Beyond Next Ventures is a venture capital firm with strength in incubation investments in university-originated technology business ventures at the seed level in the fields of medical and health care, robots, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), big data and other advanced technologies. In November 2016, it moved its head office from Chiyoda-ku to Nihonbashi in Chuo-ku in Tokyo, where life sciences firms are clustered. Its president and representative director Tsuyoshi Ito serves as a LINK-J Supporter*.

Outline of the BRAVE Acceleration Program

The BRAVE Acceleration Program is a platform that helps researchers and entrepreneurs in universities and research institutes and those aiming for commercialization to launch business based on innovative technologies. It is intended to offer knowledge, expertise and a network for achieving commercialization. Recently, researchers and entrepreneurs from 19 institutions were selected as candidates in the first year of the BRAVE program from among 50 organizations filing applications. A training program and mentoring with experts in business setup, specialists and entrepreneurs in different industries and experienced venture capitalists will be conducted for them toward the final examination, called the Pitch Contest, which is scheduled for January 30, 2017.

Those selected organizations that are rated as excellent in the Pitch Contest will receive funds for commercial startup, support from corporate partners and support in the acquisition of personnel requisite to the project. In addition, pre-startup projects will be provided with an opportunity to be recommended for the Program for Creating Start-Ups from Advanced Research and Technology, or the START Program for short. This program grants a subsidy of a maximum of 30 million yen per year for up to three years, and only those business promoter units that have been recognized by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) may be recommended for it. The BRAVE Acceleration Program helps candidates to improve their business plans and business startup structures in order to make them more likely to be adopted under the START Program. Those candidates that have been adopted under the START Program will enjoy support for business startups from Beyond Next Ventures for the same period.

Schematic Diagram of the Program

Click illustration to enlarge

Outline of the Life Sciences Award presented by LINK-J

Assenting to the objective of the program, Mitsui Fudosan and LINK-J will provide a venue for the training and the final examination, and will establish a Life Sciences Award to be presented at the final examination. The institutions winning this award will be invited to the Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference. This is a two-day event scheduled for March 1-2, 2017 to be held in San Diego, California, USA and organized by Biocom - Life Sciences Association of California, with about 800 companies and organizations relating to life sciences business as members and in partnership with LINK-J. This event is a special partner forum aimed at building networks and business collaborations among business managers, financial institutions, venture capitalists and business development personnel of major pharmaceutical companies and bio-tech firms around the world. The invitation includes a round-trip flight ticket, accommodation expenses for three nights from February 28, 2017 to March 2, 2017 and the fee for admission to the Global Partnering Conference. By participating in the program, LINK-J will encourage open innovations in the area of life sciences and support the creation of new businesses.

A Message from Tsuyoshi Ito, president and representative director of Beyond Next Ventures Inc.

Currently, most of the acceleration programs in Japan are for IT- and Internet service-related businesses. The BRAVE Acceleration Program aims to support business start-ups of non-commercialized life sciences, hardware and other university technologies at the seed level. It is Japan’s sole acceleration program run by a venture capital firm itself. In the domain of life sciences, development from the seed stage to commercialization is so time consuming and difficult that there are still few venture capital firms working in this sector in Japan. However, issues in life sciences are permanent challenges for people. There is potential for future development into global businesses from a medium- and long-term perspective. Technologies in this area are of great social significance in the sense that their practical application will save many people. Given that it is time-consuming in this area, we make everyday efforts to support commercialization before startup, to shorten the period before business success and to increase the probability of success.

In the area of life sciences, there are many promising university-originated business seeds, while there are quite a few losses of commercialization opportunities due to shortages of financial resources, personnel and expertise. In addition, generally speaking, university researchers are not trained in commercialization, and their business plans tend to focus so heavily on technologies that many of them do not really appeal to business operators and investors.

The BRAVE Acceleration Program provides selected organizations with opportunities for a training program and mentoring in a bid to help refine their business plans and startup team structures. For those with outstanding technological seeds, it offers not only the financial support provided by ordinary venture capital firms but also opportunities to be recommended for a governmental project. Recently, LINK-J, a corporate partner, decided to offer an opportunity to participate in the overseas pitch event organized by Biocom. Without defining the Pitch Contest at the end of January next year as a goal, it will offer continuous support to the selected institutions for their further development.

Incidentally, we relocated our head office to Nihonbashi in November this year. With a cluster of Japan’s leading life sciences companies, this district is physically so close to individual companies that various business opportunities with LINK-J’s corporate members engaging in life sciences are anticipated. In this light, we will work closely with LINK-J to make Nihonbashi into a place that attracts more companies and people related to life sciences, and liven up the industry together.

* LINK-J’s Supporter System appoints personnel with extensive knowledge and experience in business startup, research and development, business administration, legal and financial affairs and many other areas as supporters that participate in various events organized by LINK-J and offer one-on-one advice to LINK-J special members.

Program Details

Administrative Office Beyond Next Ventures Inc.
Partners Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., Life Science Innovation Network Japan Inc. (LINK-J), Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., IBM BlueHub, Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., Tokyu Fudosan Next Generation Engineering Center Inc., Amazon Web Services, Inc., Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., TECH LAB PAAK, Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, PR TIMES, Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation, etc.
Supported by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Uchida & Samejima Law Firm
  • Researchers affiliated with universities, research institutes and the equivalent with a keen interest in commercializing technological seeds and envisioning business startups, although they have yet to do so
  • Researchers who have established companies, irrespective of whether or not they are affiliated with any university, research institute or equivalent
  • Eligible applicants may be either students or adult workers, and may be of any nationality.
Domains of Eligibility Life sciences, health care, robots, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), big data and other high-tech areas
Examination Criteria Teams with strong enthusiasm and ambition regarding commercialization, major business opportunities, technologies for resolving social issues and highly viable business plans
Timetable From September to December 2, 2016: Invitation for entry, documentary examination and interviews *Completed
December 10, 2016: Training Program 1 (Business planning, intellectual property management and others)
January 14, 2017: Training Program 2 (Types and points of fund raising and others)
January 30, 2017: Pitch Contest (examination by examiners)

Pitch Contest Details

Date Monday, January 30, 2017
Venue Nihonbashi Life Science Hub, 1-5-5 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Contestant Teams Teams that have passed the examination and undergone the training programs
Examination A five-minute pitch and a five-minute question-and-answer session
Participants Those related to the contestant teams and partner companies who are invited only
Examiners Tomihisa Kamada, CEO of TomyK Ltd. and co-founder of ACCESS Co., Ltd. Hiromu Soga, representative director, KAPION Kenji Oyama, Lead Business Development, IBM BlueHub Akihiko Yagishita, partner at Uchida & Samejima Law Firm, lawyer and patent lawyer Taiji Edogawa, partner, Business Promotion and Support Center, Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC Tsuyoshi Ito, representative director of Beyond Next Ventures Inc. and managing partner Corporate partners
Prizes in the Pitch Content LINK-J has established the Life Sciences Award in the pre-setup category. The winner of this award will be invited to the overseas event organized by Biocom.

* For other details, please visit the website of the BRAVE Program at

About Beyond Next Ventures

Beyond Next Ventures is a venture capital firm with strength in incubation investments in university-originated technology-related business ventures at the seed level. Tsuyoshi Ito is its president and representative director. At his previous workplace, JAFCO Co., Ltd., he took charge of the industry-university collaboration investment group. He also engaged in investments in a number of university-originated ventures including CYBERDYNE, Spiber and Quantum Biosystems. Beyond Next Ventures has invested in 10 projects, mainly in the medical and life sciences sectors, as the leading venture capital firm to support their business startups. It is involved in governmental projects as a venture capital firm that is certified by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and as a business promoter for the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

About Life Science Innovation Network Japan, Inc. (LINK-J)

LINK-J is a general incorporated association established by Mitsui Fudosan and volunteers from academic circles. With its base in the Nihonbashi area, where a number of pharmaceutical companies are clustered, LINK-J aims to promote open innovation in the life science realm through industry-government-academia cooperation and extend support to the creation of new industries. Across the entire life science area, i.e., the area where all sciences are combined, ranging from medicine to science and further to engineering or new technologies, such as information and communication technology (ICT) or artificial intelligence (AI), it will accelerate interdisciplinary human and technological exchanges.

Nihonbashi Life Science Hub

Mitsui Fudosan has created the following life science bases in Nihonbashi.