Mitsui Fudosan and ProtoStar Established
New Project in the “E.A.S.T” Initiative to Encourage and
Support the Assembly of Startups in Nihonbashi

September 25, 2019
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
ProtoStar Inc.

Tokyo, Japan, September 25, 2019 – Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., a leading global real estate company headquartered in Tokyo, and ProtoStar Inc. (Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director & CEO Hidemaro Maekawa) announced today that they have established Swing-By, a community to cultivate entrepreneurs who still work full-time at companies, as a new project for the “E.A.S.T” (Empowering Ambitious Startups in Tokyo) initiative that supports startups in areas on Tokyo’s east side with a focus on Nihonbashi and encourages open innovation exchanges with larger corporations.

Swing-By is a community program that enables entrepreneurs to challenge how they acquire knowledge and think, and is split into two sub-programs. The one-year Moonshot Program provides support to entrepreneurs to think up an idea for a business, gather among friends, challenge their business idea as a side project, and open a new startup or turn it into a real business once it gets on track. The AWAKE Program cultivates CxO* to be a connect with entrepreneurs who are already utilizing their skills. Participation in the community is limited to individuals aged 25 or older with work experience. Participants are currently being accepted, and community activities are expected to start from the beginning of December.

Furthermore, the project is incubating a Challenger First culture in which companies positively consider collaborating with experienced entrepreneurs and actively adopt their services and projects, creating an environment where entrepreneurs can take on challenges without fretting over post-startup risks.

*CxO: Chief x Officer. A person responsible for operations and functions of a business including CEO and CFO functions.

Create a culture that continuously generates new entrepreneurs by creating role models for entrepreneurs

Mitsui Fudosan’s Venture Co-Creation Department (31VENTURES) and ProtoStar have been undertaking venture support at the 31VENTURES Clip Nihonbashi, a co-working space. By encouraging and supporting the assembly of startups that are taking on the challenge to innovate various industries on the east side of Tokyo in Nihonbashi, the companies established the “E.A.S.T” initiative in September 2018 to realize both explosive success for startups and open innovation at large corporations, and have been undertaking activities such as hosting events to gather entrepreneurs and investors together. With the composition of the entrepreneur cultivation community Swing-By and the cultural incubation of Challenger First, the companies provide an environment that makes it easier for entrepreneurs working with full-time jobs to take on challenges, encouraging continuous generation of entrepreneurs focused in the Nihonbashi area and tying into new industry creation.

Statement from Nobuyuki Tanaka, Executive Manager, Venture Co-Creation Department, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

“Since the latter half of the 1990s, Mitsui Fudosan has been promoting the Nihonbashi Revitalization Project, a public-private-community initiative in the Nihonbashi area, with industry creation as one of the Company’s important themes. Many B2Bs, outstanding research-oriented startups, and listed companies have gathered in the Nihonbashi area, and by creating a culture and environment for open innovation and entrepreneurship, I believe we can achieve new industry creation centered on Nihonbashi.”

Statement from Yusuke Kurishima, Co-Founder, ProtoStar Inc. and Manager, StartupList

“After kicking off with the announcement of the ‘E.A.S.T’ initiative on September 19, 2018, ProtoStar has been hosting events with the purpose of matching entrepreneurs and supporters (investors, managers of new business for companies, etc.), such as the regularly held pitch event “Gear Change Day” based in Nihonbashi and the large-scale event “DEMODAY.” Going forward, we will create all sorts of mechanisms with the purpose of turning Nihonbashi into a ‘mecca for entrepreneurs,’ with Swing-By and Challenger First as the standard for fostering this culture.”

Mitsui Fudosan’s Venture Joint Development Business Division

Mitsui Fudosan is striving to co-create business with startups to create new industries with a view to expanding its business domains and bolstering its core operations. In April 2015, Mitsui Fudosan set up the Venture Co-Creation Department. Leveraging the operation of offices for startups and its expansive business ecosystem and diverse array of business fields, Mitsui Fudosan targets the co-creation of new industries with startups based on the three pillars of finance, community, and support.

ProtoStar Inc.
[ProtoStar website] (Japanese only)
[“E.A.S.T” initiative website] only)

With “creating infrastructure to support challengers” as its mission, ProtoStar is carrying out support related to the StartBurst entrepreneur community’s operations, the StartupList platform to connect entrepreneurs with investors, and open innovation for businesses. Among these, the StartBurst entrepreneur community to support startups in HardTech fields* has already gathered more than 110 companies and achieved more than ¥7.62 billion in total investment procurement.

*HardTech fields: Difficult fields that require breakthroughs in industrial structure or technology, both digital and real.