SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Scrum Studio Inc., a global open innovation platform established by Scrum Ventures, today announced the launch of SmartCityX 2021, an immersive year-long startup program aimed at helping seed- to growth- stage companies advance smart city product and business development through in-depth collaboration with leading corporations, technology experts and investors from Japan and around the world.
Continuing the momentum from last year's inaugural program, SmartCityX 2021 is for startups looking to transform the way we live, learn, and work - particularly in the fields of Consumer Products and Services, Mobility, Smart Buildings, and Connectivity. In addition, recognizing the critical role technology plays in helping cities reach net zero emissions by 2050, this year's program seeks cutting-edge innovations in the areas of Sustainability and Climate Change.
The United Nations estimates that 68% of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2050, putting increasing pressure on cities, which already consume over two-thirds of the world's energy and account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions every year, according to UN-Habitat.
"Now more than ever, it's critical to foster and embrace new technologies and ideas that help cities manage the multiple issues affecting how people live and work," said Michael Proman, managing director, Scrum Studio. "After the success of our inaugural SmartCityX program, we are well positioned to help startups navigate the changing landscape of the world's cities. We look forward to connecting our partners with innovative startups in the Smart City space."
SmartCityX 2021 is the latest in a series of Scrum Studio programs aimed at reinventing how venture firms work with startups. Through its unique structure which facilitates mentorship and direct introductions to some of the largest corporations in the world, startups are put on a fast track to create, launch and scale their products, resulting in lasting business development and long-term growth opportunities.
According to a recent Scrum Studio survey of climate tech thought leaders and industry executives, over 30% of respondents indicated 'speed to market' is the biggest challenge facing startups today, followed by policy issues (19%) and obtaining funding (16%).
"Being part of the inaugural SmartCityX community helped ignite numerous conversations in Japan and across the world with key audiences," said Dan Slagen, Chief Marketing Officer at Tomorrow.io. "Building strong relationships -- especially in Japan -- are critical and we look forward to advancing our initial discussions with SCX program partners given our commitment to democratizing weather intelligence and helping manage climate security challenges."
"Scrum Studio has become a powerful catalyst for collaboration between corporations and early-stage companies, and it has been exciting to witness the growth of so many high-performing companies through our Studio initiatives," said Tak Miyata, founder & general partner, Scrum Ventures. "Following this success, we look forward to working with our investment arm, Scrum Ventures, in identifying companies that are in line with our investment thesis, with an eye toward participating in upcoming funding rounds."
Adding to its growing network of cities, companies and organizations in Japan, this year's program welcomed Japan Post Co., Ltd. as a Partner, and Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. and Japan Tobacco Inc. as Supporters. Additionally, the program added Kaga City in Ishikawa Prefecture, and the City of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture as Observer municipalities.
"We believe that the SmartCityX program will play a vital role in solving the diverse needs of local regions across Japan," said Takahiro Iiyama, Vice President, Business Creation Strategy Department, Japan Airlines. "By working together with Scrum Studio and leading startups from around the world, we hope to tackle regional challenges and generate a new flow of demand to create a more sustainable society."
Returning SmartCityX participants include:
Partner companies: Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co.,Ltd., Idemitsu Kosan Co.,Ltd, Woven Planet Holdings, Inc. (Community Partner), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation, Nihon Unisys, Ltd., East Japan Railway Company
Supporter companies: JCB Co., Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation, Hakuhodo Incorporated, Lion Corporation
Observer municipalities: Fukui Prefecture, Mie Prefecture, Shibuya City, Kashima City, and The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Resource Partners: Amazon Web Services Japan K.K., ACCIÓ Tokyo-Catalonia Trade & Investment, CIC Japan G.K., Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO)
Entrepreneurs and startups interested in submitting their innovative technologies can apply now through December 31st, 2021. Application link: SmartCityX Startup Application (2021-22)
About Scrum Studio, Inc. Scrum Studio, Inc. is an open innovation platform formed to bridge the gap between iconic Japanese corporations with startups from around the world. The platform focuses on three pillars to create new business opportunities: acceleration, incubation, and connection. Its vertical studio programs include SPORTS TECH TOKYO, SmartCityX, and Food Tech Studio - Bites!
About Scrum Ventures Scrum Ventures is an early-stage venture firm based in San Francisco with a growing Tokyo office. With entrepreneurial expertise and a strong network in Japan, the firm actively supports portfolio company global growth and success.
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SOURCE Scrum Ventures