Kyoto Startup Summer School 2019 Program

While the detailed program for Kyoto Startup Summer School does not get finalized until couple weeks before the start, the following program from 2019 should give you an idea of what the two weeks will look and feel like.

Week 1

The first week of Kyoto Startup Summer School is centered around two intense and interactive workshop based around Design Thinking and Lean Startup, two methodologies that have become the go-to approach for innovative product development and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

Day 0 (Sunday) - Unofficial Welcome Party (Optional)

A casual get together at a local pub to meet the organizing team and fellow participants.

Day 1-3 (Monday - Wednesday) - Design Thinking Workshop


This is hands-on, interactive, fast-paced workshops helps participants learn the design thinking process, improve their creative problem solving skills and nurture design thinking mindsets, including human-centeredness, radical collaboration as well as the culture of early prototyping and fast iteration. Short lectures and case studies are intertwined with hands-on work on a real startup challenge, and working teams get out of the classroom and into the "field" to conduct empathy interviews and test their solutions with real users.

Anja Nabergoj.jpg

 Anja Nabergoj, PhD
Lecturer, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University
Associate Professor, School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana

At the Stanford "", Anja teaches Executive Education programs and co-teaches advanced graduate classes “Collaborating with the future: Launching Large-Scale Sustainable Transformations” and “Organizational Psychology of Design Thinking.” In her work she focuses on helping individuals, teams and organizations build their creative confidence and reach innovation potential. Anja is also appointed as Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Economics, University in Ljubljana in Slovenia where she teaches various undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship and innovation courses. Her main focus is developing and using design thinking methodology and adapting it for entrepreneurship courses and business school curriculum.

Day 3 Morning (Wednesday) - Morning Yoga Session


A change-of-pace yoga session in the middle of the week that is specifically designed to teach both energizing skills and relaxation skills that aspiring entrepreneurs could quickly use anytime they need to.

Naoko Minami.jpg

Naoko Minami

Naoko's educational background is in architecture but he passion extends to a wide range of topics such as philosophy, anthropology, art, religion, language, and technology.

Day 3 Evening (Wednesday) - Meet the Entrepreneurs Mixer


An easy-going meetup with local entrepreneurs and the change makers of the Kyoto startup scene. Good food, good drinks, great company.

Day 4-5 (Thursday - Friday) - Lean Startup Workshop


Lean startup is an approach to developing businesses and products that iteratively and quickly tests the underlying business model through hypothesis-driven experimentation. In this two-day workshop, participants learn how to identify and prioritize assumptions and how to run rapid experiments to find the right (1) solution, (2) problem, and (3) people. Different experimentation methodologies are presented and by the end, participants should gain the knowledge on how to take initial ideas to product-market fit.

Marymoore Patterson.png

Marymoore Patterson
Principal Product Manager, Panasonic
Applied Innovation Lecturer, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Marymoore has been working in innovation strategy, design research, and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Japan, and China for over 25 years.

Week 2

The second week of Kyoto Startup Summer School contains many smaller workshop and lecture modules which covers various startup and innovation related topics.

Day 6 (Monday)

Lecture - Taking advantage of the startup ecosystem: working with innovation platforms


Learning the difference between all the different accelerators out there and how to find the right fit.

Phillip Seiji Vincent
Managing Partner, Plug and Play Japan

Before coming to Japan, Phillip was the Director of Plug and Play IoT and Director/Co-Founder of Plug and Play Mobility, two global innovation platforms headquartered in Silicon Valley.

Lecture - Starting Up: Are you truly prepared?

Tales from the trenches, advice and suggestions on how to improve your chance of success before taking that first step.

Paul Speed
Co-founder and CEO, Kyoto Brewing Co.

While working at Nomura Securities in Tokyo as the program manager of the high-frequency trading desk, Paul enrolled in the McGill Japan MBA program and caught the entrepreneurial bug. Along with 2 friends, they founded Kyoto Brewing Co. in 2014 and then succeeding to raise 100 million yen in capital.


Workshop - Mechatronic Prototyping with Arduino

Introduction to all the useful, fun, and amazing thing that can be created with the open-source mechatronics platform Arduino. Participants are taught the basics of circuitry design and programming in order to work on mini-projects. Case studies, practical examples, problem solving techniques are presented for those who want to develop their skills further.

Benjamin Davoult.jpeg

Benjamin Davoult
Creative Designer, CrossEffect

Industrial designer by formation and maker by aspiration, Benjamin came from France to work at crossEffect, a rapid prototyping company in Kyoto. During his free time, Benjamin is always making something new. He has already built his own 3D printer and laser cuter.

Workshop - Introduction to CAD and Fusion 360

Once upon a time, 3D CAD tools used to be expensive and required hundreds of hours to master. Now, with the increasing democratization of tools and cheaper computing power, more and more people are able to access inexpensive CAD. In this workshop, participants are introduced to Fusion 360 and learn the basics of 3D modeling. End results of the workshop are 3D printed in the KYOTO Design Lab,

Yuji Fujimura.jpg

Yuji Fujimura
Fusion 360 Evangelist, Autodesk

Yuji manages customer recognition, social media marketing, market analysis and technical localization for Autodesk’s Fusion 360 platform. He has over 10 years of consulting experience, leading Japanese companies towards adopting next-generation technology platforms across the design, make and use cycle. A 2003 graduate of Pratt Institute with a major in industrial design, Yuji has won the Good Design award and has received recognition from multiple media outlets for his concept designs.

(The two workshops happened concurrently and the participants chose one to join)

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Lecture - Fundraising strategies at startups

Fundraising at an early stage startup is a combination of art and science. This lecture covers all fundamental things that entrepreneurs should know through real examples of cap tables, investment contract, and stock options.

Kenshin Fujiwara
CEO, Hacarus

Previously, Kenshin worked for Sony Computer Entertainment on the PlayStation development team. Since then, he's been a serial entrepreneur with two successful exits. He is also the cofounder of Makers Book Camp, a Kyoto-based VC specializing in IoT/hardware.


Lecture - Where is the Money?


Lead with concrete examples, this lecture helps one navigate the variety of funding sources including but not limited to FFF, Angels, Venture Capitals, Corporate Venture Capital, and ICO.

Arnaud Bonzom
Co-founder, Map of the Money

Arnaud founded Map of the Money, a Singapore-based platform to connect entrepreneurs to investors in Southeast Asia. He is a frequent speaker at several international conferences including Slush, Tech in Asia, Rise and Web Summit. Arnaud is also active as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD. His extensive work on the startup ecosystem received more than 160 citations in prominent media such as Forbes, Bloomberg TV, and Les Echos.

Workshop - Introduction to Woodworking - Hacking IKEA

While manufactured products are made for the mass market and never customized for the individual, with some skills, experience, and tools, you can hack them to fit your (or other’s) needs and lifestyle. This hands-on workshop teaches the basics of creating your one and only furniture by hacking existing IKEA products.

Shin Yamashita.JPG

Shin Yamashita
Technical Staff, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

Shin holds a Masters Degree in Design is an accomplished expert in the design and fabrication of furniture.

Workshop - Product Management Workshop

You have an app idea. What happens now? This workshop covers the product development cycle, explaining the different roles and practices of an agile product development team. Also covered are what agile actually is, what product managers, designers, and engineers do, and everything in between.

Kani Munidasa.jpg

Kani Munidasa
Co-Founder and CEO, Code Chrysalis

As an executive at EMC/Dell, Greenplum, and Pivotal Labs, Kani has helped industry leaders transform the way they build software, drive customer success, innovate and disrupt businesses. Through his multi-cultural background and experience graduating from and working at a renowned Silicon Valley coding bootcamp, he co-founded Code Chrysalis with a firm belief that programming and a Silicon Valley mindset can transcend cultures, languages, professions, and age.

Yan Fan
Co-Founder and CTO, Code Chrysalis

Yan has worked as a software engineer at Ayasdi, an instructor for a prep programming course run by a leading Silicon Valley bootcamp, and co-founder and CTO of a coding bootcamp in Jordan. Before she embarked on her career in technology, she worked in commodities trading. She holds degrees in Economics and Arabic from Dartmouth College.

(The two workshops happened concurrently and the participants chose one to join)

Day 8 (Wednesday)

Lecture - How to be the next generation entrepreneurs in the new era of AI and Robotics

This lecture covers the overall picture of the progress in Artificial Intelligence and how it will impact the world while dispelling many of the misunderstandings in the general public.

Li Jiang
Director of Stanford AIRE(AI, Robotics and Education), Stanford University


Startup Tour


The startup tour is designed to showcase some of the innovative activities happening in Kyoto. The following companies were visited in 2019.


A powered wear manufacture with the goal of creating a world where people can live without being affected by age, gender, or amount of muscle. Atoun's powered wear is able to bring out the potential of its wearer.


Mitsufuji develops conductive threading called AGposs with which they've created a wearable technology called hamon. With this platform, companies can develop clothing that can collect biometric data from the wearer's body and transmit it wirelessly to one's smartphone.

Monozukuri Hub Meetup - "Life as an entrepreneur"


In this joint meetup with Kyoto Makers Garage, a maker space and community backed by the VC Makers Boot Camp, two entrepreneurs were invited to talk about their experiences of being an entrepreneur.

Machi Takahashi Square.jpg

Machi Takahashi
President & CEO, Stroly Inc.

Machi Takahashi develops and runs the online mapping platform, Stroly, and the app Kochizuburari to create new experiences by connecting old and illustrated maps to GPS data. She also runs Map Cafe, an offline event that brings together users and creators to experience the joys and learn the possibilities of illustrated maps.

Isshu Rakusai
Co-Founder and CEO, Nota Inc.

Isshu created the web service Gyazo, the most used screenshot sharing system in the world. He believes in creating "human" programs and is a serial entrepreneur having founded his first company back when he was a high school student.

Day 9 (Thursday)

Lecture - Crowdfunding: a new era beyond the gadget


As technology, startups, and the world as a whole evolves, so does crowdfunding. This lecture covers the new ways of bringing projects to life, the vital role of creativity, vision and skills to start new projects and businesses.

Joris Lam
Design & Technology Outreach Lead Asia, Kickstarter

Based in Hong Kong, Joris works closely with product designers, hardware startups, innovators and makers across Asia who use Kickstarter to bring new projects to life. He also develops his own hardware products, focussing on playful design and connected technologies.

Lecture - How to deliver an awesome startup pitch

No startup can survive without being able to communicate its vision and product to investors, supporters, and fans. A pitch is no ordinary presentation, it has to be concise but exciting, encaptivating, and enthralling. This lecture covers how great pitches are put together and how to avoid the common pitfalls that lead to bad pitches.

Sushi Suzuki
Associate Professor, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

Artist by nature, Engineer by training, and Designer by desire, Sushi Suzuki is an expert in design thinking, the Stanford-IDEO innovation methodology, having applied and taught it around the globe. Previously he was part of Yocondo, a semantic product search engine in Germany, and was one of the founding members of, a Japanese start-up company that handles antique kimono and accessories online. Sushi is also the lead organizer of Kyoto Startup Summer School.


Workshop - How to create and share your startup story

What’s your story? This workshop is about answering that question in detail. Participants will learn what elements a company story consists of, how it is constructed and how it can be transported to target audiences. In a world of numerous communication channels and platforms, millions of contents and distracted attention - a clear story that people will remember, is a very strong factor for every startup company.


Bjoern Eichstaedt
Managing Partner, Storymaker GmbH

Bjoern Eichstaedt is the Managing Partner at the Germany and China based communication agency Storymaker which focuses on story-based communication consulting, strategy building, and operations for technology-driven companies. Over the last 7 years, hew has worked with Japanese clients, helping them to discover their story for foreign markets.

Day 10 (Friday)

Lecture - Creating a Startup Culture


What drives members of my organization? How can a founder help a team achieve greater things? Is the vision for the company as irrelevant and useless to practical matters as it seems? These are just a couple of questions that is covered from the point of view of startup culture.

Jouni Laitinen
PhD Student, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Jouni has spent the last few years working in various projects in the Tokyo startup scene. He ran investor operations for Slush Tokyo for three years and is now finalizing his Ph.D on organizational culture in startups at Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Lecture - Scaling your brand through platforms

How to leverage platforms and technologies to craft and scale your brand. Never before has it been possible to create a brand from scratch. With platform technologies and technology available today, any startup or retailer can craft a brand that can go up against the incumbents. Just take a look at brands that are benefiting from the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) trend such as Dollar Shave Club, Allbirds, and Kylie Cosmetics to see the growth available to any merchant.

Mark Wang
Country Manager, Shopify Japan

Mark has been a core initial member of Shopify's international expansion efforts driving growth of the e-commerce platform across key markets globally.

Lecture - Practical AI via examples


This lecture covers how AI and machine learning technologies work behind features such as product search in Amazon, accommodation recommendations at AirBnb, or movie suggestions at NetFlix work. Goal of this lecture is to give tools to better understand when this type of techniques can be helpful for your product and your customers.

Aki Saarinen
Co-founder & CTO, Day One Tech

Aki was introduced to programming at the early age of 8 years and taught himself to be a software engineer. He launched his first web businesses at the age of 15 in 2000, and graduated from Aalto university with a Machine Learning major in 2010. Aki has built digital businesses and worked in the intersection of software, design and business for most part of his life.

Lecture - Performance-based Marketing

A full funnel marketing strategy allows a business to send their customers the right message at the right time, regardless of where they are in their consumer journey. This allows a business to effectively guide their customers through the consumer journey and path to purchase. This lecture focuses on designing and building marketing funnels that optimize for each segment of the customer journey, and drive efficiency across customer acquisition to developing customer loyalty.

Mark Lozano
Account Manager, Facebook

Mark is a Growth Account Manager at Facebook working with some of the top online advertisers in South East Asia in developing and executing full funnel marketing strategies that allow their businesses to scale and expand efficiently across markets. He is also the Founder of One Million Lights Philippines, a non-profit focused on providing clean, safe, and affordable lighting in rural communities across the Philippines.


Day 10-12 (Friday - Sunday) - Startup Weekend Kyoto International


Organized around the world, Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs create a startup in 54 hours.

Starting from day 1, participants pitch their ideas to form teams, then hit the ground running. Throughout the weekend, talented and passionate coaches will come to provide advice for desiring teams. All the nourishment to keep going are provided. At the end of day 3, teams pitch their idea to a panel of judges who will provide feedback and select the winner.

However, Startup Weekend isn’t about winning, it’s about working on ideas and taking the first step of one's entrepreneurial journey. Startup Weekend isn’t a Hackathon or a Workshop. There aren't nicely packaged instructions, but it does bring together like-minded aspiring entrepreneurs. Many startups have been formed from Startup Weekends and many have found their cofounders to go beyond startup weekend.

Startup Weekend Kyoto International is organized by the volunteer organizers in the city. It is scheduled a the end of the Kyoto Startup Summer School for participants to apply everything they've learned throughout the two weeks. This session is also open to participants beyond the summer school.