Dr. Maru who holds a Ph.D. in Agriculture, founded Leave a Nest in 2002 in Japan together with a handful of university and postgraduate students to tackle the issue of unemployment among science graduates as well as the declining interest in science. Armed with the vision of “Advancing Science and Technology for Global Happiness”, Leave a Nest has built a vast collaborative network comprising over 100 companies, 2,300 teachers, 10,000 researchers and 900 startups and aims to solve global issues through science education, resource training and research development projects. By bridging the gap between researchers and companies, Dr. Maru hopes to turn innovative research ideas into reality to bring change to the world.
Founder & CEO of Leave a Nest
Director of Innovations, NEC X
NEC X is a startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley that is designed to fast-track startup companies selected from inside and outside NEC Corporation. NEC is a global Fortune 500 company and has tremendous asset to grow business from both technology and business perspectives, and NEC X creates the next breakout product and service innovations by blending the strengths of those corporate assets and startup’s disruptive ideas. Nobu Morita, a Director of Innovations at NEC X, has extensive experience of business development and product management in US, Japan, and Asia, and is now supporting startup projects based in Silicon Valley. Nobu will be looking for startup companies and entrepreneurs that are innovative and passionate about creating sustainability society, and be willing to help those by his business development skills, startup network, and a wide range of NEC Group asset.
Chief Creative Officer
Kaz started his career as a strategist in Dentsu Tokyo, later becoming a creative and strategy hybrid. His work has been innovative from the early days, participating in the first undertaking for Dentsu, a start-up "Euglena", which stock price jumped over 50 times. His challenges continues around the world in over 20 countries, serving more than 50 brands. In March 2017, he was awarded the most pioneering leader in Dentsu Aegis China, later in June promoted CCO of Dentsu Shanghai, the youngest ever.
As CCO, Kaz has led the team to a winning ratio exceeding 60%, profit jumped by more than 400%, added in 20 new accounts, shifted the client portfolio from the originally skewed 80% Japanese clients to a more balanced 50% local and international clients and 50% Japanese client base, and has tripled the CR team headcount, now managing over 90 team members. Also from 2019, Kaz and Dentsu China started strategic partnership with Plug& Play China to support start-up companies in China.
Koji Miyazaki is the director of Japanese partnership of the world's largest innovation platform, Plug and Play. Plug and Play is known as the birthplace of major tech companies such as Google, Paypal, and Dropbox. Currently, Plug and Play is not only the most active investor in Silicon Valley, but also the largest innovation platform in the world. With over 300 partnerships with the world's prominent companies (P&G, Exxon, Coca Cola, etc), it is the go to accelerator for B2B entrepreneurs.
Koji leads the Japanese partnership division in the Silicon Valley HQ, which boasts a wide range of partnerships including Panasonic, MUFG, Nissan.
Director, Japanese Partnership
Plug and Play TechCenter
Kotaro Chiba is a successful entrepreneur and a startup investor. He Co-Founded and served as Executive Director at COLOPL, which is one of the leading mobile game and location service platforms in Japan, and it has been producing dozens of hit mobile games for iOS and Android. Kotaro Chiba started his first Drone Fund in 2017. He is currently raising as much as 50 million dollers for the second one, putting in 1.5 million dollers of his own money.
Drone Fund General Partner
Born and raised in Hawaii, Eric graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1990.
The start of his 25+ years of professional work experience began in Asia sales for various attractions such as Sea Life Park Hawaii and Atlantis Adventures.
Takahata quickly expanded his focus to marketing, public relations, and coordination in the Japanese tourism, sports, entertainment, and consumer products/services industries. The list of clients that he has provided consultation for includes Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, H.I.S. Travel, Rakuten Travel, MasterCard Japan, Fuji Television, Nike, Ala Moana Center, and University of Hawaii Athletics to name a few.
He established A. LINK LLC as Owner and President which provides sales, marketing, and public relations consulting specifically for the Japanese market and as of 2012, Eric is Managing Director for Hawaii Tourism Japan which is the state of Hawaii’s official tourism marketing contractor for the country of Japan.