Top VR start-ups in Japan
With both globally and in Japan, the size of the VR/AR market is expected to grow more than 10 times larger over the next five years. Up until now, VR/AR has largely been used in Japan for entertainment purposes. However, in the coming years, it is expected that the technologies will be applied in a wide variety of industries, such as medicine, tourism, retail, and manufacturing. In 2016, the size of Japan’s VR/AR market was around 14.1 billion yen and is estimated to grow to 211.1 billion yen by 2020.
Here are the top VR start-ups in Japan.
Laugh & Peace_Mother
Laugh and Peace mother is a Venture Capital-Backed start-up. Founded in 2019, it is the developer of the education platform designed on a concept “play and learn” both inside and outside Japan. The company’s platform offers to produce market original interactive image content, games, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications and entertainment, thereby enabling children to naturally acquire all sorts of knowledge.
Founders: Takayuki Oinuma Representative Director
Investors: Nippon Telegraph & Telephone-Corporation, Yoshimoto Kogyo Company-Corporation,Cool Japan Fund-Government
Founded in 2018, Run. Edge is a developer of real-time sports video analysis application designed to accelerate team collaboration. The company’s application uses easy-to-use UX based core technology of scene video search and analysis, enabling users to make editing and analysis of video data efficient.
Chief Executive Officer & President: Atsushi Oguchi
Investors: Crops-Corporation, Data Stadium- Other, Global Brain-Venture Capital, KDDI Ventures Program-Corporate Venture Capital, Mediaseek-Corporation
Balusis an operator of an entertainment studio intended to offer real and virtual world crossover. Founded in 2017, the company’s studio develops new experiences through the fusion of real and virtual through motion capture, unity systems, and augmented reality live permanent venues that provide character content infrastructure using real-time animation, enabling customers to experience extended reality-based entertainment services.
Founders: Norikazu Hayashi Co-Founder- President & Chief Executive Officer, Kazumoto Kouichirou- Chief Financial Officer, Fumiyoshi Kido Co-Founder, Advisor & Producer
Investors: GMO VenturePartners-Venture Capital Minority, MS&AD Ventures Corporate Venture Capital
Real World Games
Real World Games is a sports agency that provides to its employees by using ascending and descending stairs. Founded in 2017, developer of vision-based augmented reality games designed to connect the physical world with digital experiences. The company’s services are engaged in the development, design, production, and distribution of vision-based computing experiences and augmented reality applications, enabling users to see the world with a new perspective.
Founders: Takashi Kiyoko President & Chief Executive Officer
Investors: Plug and Play Japan-Accelerator/Incubator
Vaqso is a Venture Capital backed start-up founded in 2017. It is a developer of an odor emitting device for VR headsets designed to add a smell to the VR experience. The company’s device can install up to five different scent cartridges, it can be attached to various HMDs and has a battery life of up to 3 days, enabling users to seamlessly integrate scent into their content. VAQSO VR is a scent enabling device that attaches to the bottom of any Virtual Reality Headset and further immerses users in VR content by emitting realistic smells synced to their virtual environment.
Kentaro Kawaguchi- Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Tatsuya Kogusuri- Chief Technology Officer
Investors: WERU Investment- Venture Capital
Founded in 2016, Cover Corporation is an early staged start-up. It is a developer of a virtual live streaming platform designed to create virtual characters. The company develops and manages virtual reality and augmented reality software which creates virtual character design, live broadcasting, and other businesses as well as sells virtual talent-related products, providing enterprises with AR compatible virtual live distribution service.
Founders: Motoaki Yago Chief Executive Officer & President, Kazuyuki Fukuda Chief Technology Officer & Director
Investors: Chiba Dojo- Venture Capital, Dimension (Japan) -Venture Capital, Hakuhodo DY Ventures- Venture Capita.l I-nest Capital- Venture Capital, Mizuho Bank- Corporation
EmbodyMe is a developer of a Virtual Reality messenger app designed to help customers communicate better online. The company’s application creates an avatar for a user from just one headshot while using a head-mounted display, enabling customers to communicate over the internet as if they were actually talking to each other in the real world. It was founded in 2016.
CEO: Issei Yoshida
Investors: deep30- Venture Capital, Deepcore- Venture Capital, Shigeru Urushihara -Angel (individual), SMBC Venture Capital -Venture Capital
Holoeyes is a manufacturer of virtual reality kit intended to be used for surgeries. The company’s VR kit assists doctors to browse CT scan data in three-dimensional images and digitizes them for other doctors and staff members to see, enabling surgeons to simulate operations and diagnose medical conditions in a virtual environment. It was founded in 2016.
Naoji Taniguchi -Co-Founder-Chief Executive Officer & Chief Technology Officer
Maki Sugimoto MD- Co-Founder-Chief Operating Officer & Managing Director
Kenichi Shinjo- Chief Scientific Officer & Managing Director
Investors: Mitsubishi UFJ Capital- Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital Partners-Venture Capital, SBI Investment- Venture Capital, Plug and Play Tech Center -Accelerator/Incubator, Nissay Capital -Venture Capital
Founded in 2016 is a developer of a virtual reality-based medical device intended to serve the healthcare sector. The company offers a therapeutic tool that’s designed to help stroke patients recover balance and mobility by playing games and completing various activities using a base station, VR headset, and a pair of handheld controllers, thereby enabling clinicians and families to accelerate rehabilitation in patients with stroke.
Masahiko Hara -Chief Executive Officer & President
Investors: MedVenture Partners (Japan)-Venture Capital, Osaka University Venture Capital-Venture Capital
Founded in 2016, Synamon is a developer of a visual collaboration tool designed to create an optimal user experience in VR space. The company’s tool can deal with a variety of functions by incorporating multi-device compatibility and multi-user availability using online connections, enabling VR industry players to join a VR space simultaneously from remote locations and make decisions through sharing visual data of objects.
Takehi Hisashi -Representative Director, Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Board Member
Founded in 2016, Tricol is a developer of VR content designed to provide the global market with high-quality VR content. It develops games that realize “unique VR” experiences such as the Counter Fight series (job simulator) and PLANNES (VR sports). The company’s content offers fast-paced VR games, work simulation games, escape games, and other similar games, enabling customers with quick entertainment with a VR experience.
- Naoto Yoshida -Chief Executive Officer and President
- Kyosuke Kinukawa -Chief Technology Officer and Director
- Investors: Global Brain Venture Capital and KDDI Corporation
Founded in 2016, Univrs is a seed staged start-up which is a provider of a digital gaming platform intended to create virtual reality games. The company’s platform uses unique anti-motion sickness technology which reduces the VR motion sickness, enabling people to create VR content using VR technology.
- Keigo Fujikawa -Chief Executive Officer & Board Member
- Naoya Koji- Chief Operating Officer & Board Member
- Shun Fujikawa -Board Member & CIO
- Arco Partners- Venture Capital
- Media Do- Corporation
- Ortoplus- Corporation
- Tx Entrepreneur Partners- Accelerator/Incubator
Founded in 2014,Exii is a seed staged start-up develops of wearable devices intended to reproduce someone’s sense of touch while using VR devices. The company’s devices simulate pivotal and radicular flexion to realistically reproduce the feeling of touch, enabling companies to develop VR experiences to include more tactile feedback to users.
Hiroshi Yamaura- Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Tetsuya Konishi -Co-Founder & Chief Designer
Investors: Global Brain Venture Capital, Google Impact Challenge Not-For-Profit Venture Capital
Hacosco is a smart phone VR service using a simple viewer that can be used with your smart phone, to experience VR (virtual reality) easily.
Founded in 2014, Hashilus develops virtual reality content intended to provide impressive virtual reality experience. The company’s contents include broad kinds of VR content overall and develop both software and hardware for events, amusement parks, and other occasions and facilities, enabling users to rediscover virtual reality and enjoy to the fullest.
Founders: Akihiro Ando Managing Director & President
Investors: Mobile Internet Capital- Venture Capital, Gumi-Other, Tokyo XR Startups- Accelerator/Incubator
Meleap is a developer of an online sports platform intended to offer virtual reality games. The company’s platform is the combination of the motion sensor, smartphone, AR tech, and sports which give a completely new dimension to the gaming world, enabling users to shoot the energy balls and pull up the shields that people have dreamed of since childhood. Meleap is a new sport utilizing the leading AR technology with players wearing a head-mounted display and an armband sensor.
Hiroshi Fukuda- Founder Chief Executive Officer & Board Member, Naosuke Hayashi -Chief Financial Officer, Yukiharu Tomita- Chief Operating Officer, Hitoshi Araki- Chief Technology Officer, Lim Sing Kent -CBO
Investors: Canal Ventures- Corporate Venture Capital, Mercury Capital Investments- Venture Capital, Yugengaisya Hide Inter -Other, DBJ Capital- Corporate Venture Capital, Incubate Fund- Venture Capital
Founded in 2014, Pretia is an early-stage VC that develops of internet services and applications designed to offer AR and real-life entertainment services. The company’s applications offer real-world game services using AR technology, 3D localization, and mapping, enabling players to interact with digital content tied to specific locations through any device simultaneously. They are creating real-world game services using AR technology, encouraging players to interact with their surroundings in a way they have never done before. These consist of various elements including movement, exploration, puzzle-solving, and role-playing to name just a few. The first series of the game was released last summer in Tokyo, with ambitions to deliver the experience to cities further afield and sequels thereafter.
Founders: Yu Ushio Co-Founder-Chief Executive Officer & Representative Director, Yoshimi Li -Co-Founder
Investors: Incubate Fund -Venture Capital, Sega Sammy Holdings- Corporation
Founded in 1988, Symmetry is a provider of application management and hybrid cloud hosting services. The company offers SAP implementation, upgradation, migration, SAP hosting and security, cloud and IT infrastructure management, regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, and data center services, enabling clients in the healthcare, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and automotive industries to get a smooth and low-risk path to using SAP.
Founded more than 20 years ago, Symmetry has built a base of expertise unmatched by any other independent SAP service provider. We provide one of the industry’s most advanced SAP hosting platforms, and our service portfolio includes expert application management across all deployment environments: on-premise; hosted; and private, public, and hybrid cloud. They also provide award-winning governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solution, ControlPanelGRC®, for comprehensive compliance automation of SAP environments to keep you Always Audit Ready™.
Founders: Peter Stevenson- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Mario Breton- Chief Financial Officer, Evans Mullan Chief Operating Officer, Christian Teeft- Chief Technology Officer & Senior Vice President, Cloud Services and Scott Goolik -Vice President, Compliance and Security
Spacely is a seed-stage start-up. It is a developer of cloud-based software designed to create and edit 360-degree VR content. The company’s software uses an intuitive operation for a wide range of applications such as real estate, sightseeing, gallery exhibition archives, department stores, and restaurants among the others, enabling subscribers to create and edit virtual reality contents in a hassle-free manner. It was founded in 2013.
Founders: Hirokazu Morita Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Masahiro Nakajima Chief Operating Officer
Investors: Archetype- Accelerator/Incubator, DBJ Capital -Corporate Venture Capital, DNX Ventures- Venture Capital, Nikon- Corporation