JUDGES

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Managing Partner
Blackbelt Legal, Inc.

Dai Yoshida (JD, MBA) is a founder of Blackbelt Legal, Inc..  After working as a 6 Sigma Blackbelt at GE, he became a Database Engineer at Blackrock in Silicon Valley. While working at Blackrock, Dai attended night law school and became a lawyer as he saw an opportunity bridging business needs and law.   
As a lawyer, Dai worked at Sony PlayStation Global Headquarter as well as at a big law firm.  After more than 15 years of corporate gigs, he decided to start his own firm. His clients include Venture Capital, Start-ups, Ramen Restaurants and publicly traded large corporations advising from financing to class action defense.
Dai serves as a director / advisor for many start-ups including TBM (Japanese start-up which makes plastic alternative material) and Plug and Play in Japan and US.

Dai Yoshida

 
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Makiko Suzuki

Makiko Suzuki has been experiencing a variety of areas in Tokyo Gas such as project lead, sales&marketing, R&D department. After she has developed her career in Japan, Makiko has decided to diversify her experiences and joined ACARIO INNOVATION which was established in 2017 in, Bay Area by Tokyo Gas. Makiko is currently working as a principal to find strategic partnerships and investment in U.S startups to accelerate decarbonization for a project, COMPASS2030, which leads Tokyo Gas to be a NET-ZERO company. Before she started her career at Tokyo Gas, she obtained both a Master’s and Bachelor’s of engineering and architecture at TOKYO METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY She is also an MBA holder at Globis University.

Principal
Acario Innovation LLC
/Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.

 
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Nick Sugimoto is the CEO of Honda Innovations, Inc, the global open innovation hub of Honda based in Mountain View, California. Nick also serves as Corporate Venturing Supervisor of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Honda’s corporate HQ in Japan. Nick oversees Honda’s advanced technology collaboration projects, as well as strategic partnership programs on global basis. Prior to joining Honda, Nick was a successful entrepreneur as well as venture investor in both the US and Japan. Nick received his engineering degree from the University of Tokyo and MBA from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Nick Sugimoto

CEO
Honda Innovations, Inc.

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Nobu Morita

Nobu is a director of innovations and a founding member of a Silicon Valley-based startup studio, NEC X, who incubates early-stage tech startups on a hands-on basis. Before founding NEC X, Nobu led a business unit in NEC America and successfully grew a data center product business in the US. Nobu has extensive experience in the enterprise IT market in both US and Japan and has mentored numerous startups at NEC X and Island Innovation Demo Day. Nobu is an advisor of Island Innovation Demo Day since the first Demo Day held in Hawaii in 2019.

Director of Innovations
NEC X

 

Risa Ishii

After spending her teenage years in the U.S., Risa majored in Political Science and Economics, minored in Peace Studies at Waseda University while interning at United Nations and America Japan Society. Currently at Plug and Play, a VC / accelerator which supports corporate innovation by match-making with startups from around the world, she manages over 50 Japanese corporations as the Director of Japanese Partnerships.

Director of Japanese
Partnerships
Plug and Play Tech Center

 
 

Keisuke Kamiichi

Keisuke Kamiichi has led a number of projects focusing on strategies for new business collaboration, branding, and marketing particularly projects abroad with global companies. He has working experience not only in Japan but also in Milan and Paris.

For the Tokyo 2020 under the Covid-19,  worked on a wide range of projects, from the design of various activations to the design of an experiential future showcase. Recently, he has been leading projects to help international start-ups expand their business and collaborate in Japan.

Designer
Dentsu Inc.