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The Founder Institute Japan, the local chapter of the world’s premier idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program, announced that it had graduated seven new technology companies from five countries, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Italy, and Myanmar in its 2022 cohort. After receiving over 100 applications, founders in the program were subjected to an intensive four-month curriculum of challenging company-building assignments, and constant evaluation from top startup mentors, and 8 promising Founders were able to make it to graduation. 

Throughout the program, our cohort participants have benefited greatly from the guidance and support of a diverse mix of seasoned company founders, investors, and industry experts. They have also received access to a range of tools and resources, including our exclusive curriculum, designed to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to create successful businesses.

Founder Institute Japan Journey

Founder Institute programs have been present in Japan for a decade now. Initially, the program was managed by local Japanese leaders, and its focus was solely on assisting Japanese startup entrepreneurs. However, due to the pandemic, the program in Japan was put on hold.

In 2022, the Founder Institute decided to restart the Japan program, intending to transform it into an international program. To achieve this, the program is conducted entirely in English and will now cater not only to Japanese but also to foreign startup entrepreneurs.

With the leadership of Erdinc Ekinci and Yu Li Shein, the co-founders of Openfor.co, the Founder Institute Japan 2022 Cohort program was initiated from scratch in March, with the recruitment of partners and mentors. In a remarkably short span, the program was launched in May, with support from early supporters in the Japan Startup Ecosystem. More than 30 Japanese local ecosystem partners and over 70 Mentors from Japan and global startup ecosystems joined us to help the next generation of entrepreneurs build great businesses in Japan.

FI Japan 2022 Cohort Summary

The Founder Institute Japan '22 cohort kicked off on Oct 11th, 2022, and started with 22 selected founders, representing very different nations, joining from 5 countries and an exciting array of industry and sector innovations out of around 100 applicants. With founders from diverse backgrounds and industries, like Sport, Education, AR(3D), SNS, Real Estate, NLP, Fintech, E-commerce, HR, Travel, and many more innovative, change-making startups led by talented entrepreneurs.

We're proud that 8 out of the 22 founders have successfully survived the intensive 14-week program, gaining the skills and knowledge essential for investment and sustained growth. These amazing founders have come out on top, representing 4 different nations: Japan, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Italy, with innovative ideas across various industries. 

The remaining founders have survived weekly ratings and reviews from more than 60 mentors in our network who have personally built, grown, and led successful high-growth companies. Our program is designed to help them build fast-growing, meaningful, and enduring tech companies with validation and support from us. 

The graduate companies include:

  1. xRsion Inc. (https://xrsion.co.jp): Easy tool creating semi-real 3D Characters (Canva for 3D Character)
  2. DELIGHT Inc. (https://delight.fit): B2B SaaS, Multilingual AI Telephone Bot
  3. Pocket Nihongo (https://pocketnihongo.id/): An Advanced Japanese Learning Platform targeting Indonesia (Advanced Dualingo For Learning Japanese)
  4. Drive Japan Inc. (https://drivejapan.co.jp/): Japan Road Trip Itinerary Search
  5. Juncture Co. Ltd. (https://www.linkedin.com/company/junctureai): An AI-enabled HR  Applicant Tracing System Company
  6. SAN: The Web3 Freelancers Platform
  7. Aeru.me (My Best Teacher) (https://www.aeru.me/news/my-best-teacher): 1on1 Music Teaching/Coaching platform

FI Japan 2022 Cohort Graduation

Watch the inspiring pitches in the graduation video from the founders and valuable insights of Kei Shimada here:

The companies received feedback and guidance from some of Japan’s top startup mentors, including  Lu Dong (Founder & CEO, TakeMe Co.,Ltd. ), Steve Monaghan (General Partner, Finmirai), Tyson Batino (Founder, Scaling Your Company), Kei Shimada ( Executive, Entrepreneur, Award-winning Innovator, Global Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor, Angel Investor ),  Roger Do (CEO, QSearch & FI Top Mentor), Daniel Maggs (CEO & Co-founder, Bisu), Evan Burkosky (Head of Enterprise Digital Marketing, TechnoPro, Inc.), Kojiro Seto (Startup Advisor, bTANK合同会社), [Jordan Fisher( Co-founder&Executive Chairman,  Zehitomo.com), and many more (http://fi.co/mentors/japan). The 2022 cohort program was run by Local Directors Erdinc Ekinci (Co-Founder & CEO of Openfor.co) and Yu Li Shein (CO-Founder & COO of Openfor.co).

“We want to remind you that this is not the end of your journey, but rather just the beginning." The skills and knowledge you have gained during the program will serve you well as you embark on new adventures,” says Erdinc Ekinci, Co-director of the Founder Institute Japan and Co-Founder & CEO of Openfor.co “We look forward to seeing the impact you will make in the startup world, and we hope that you will continue to stay in touch and share your successes with us. Congratulations once again, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!”

The 2022 cohort program was also supported by some of the area’s top startup organizations, including [So & Sato, Venture Cafe Tokyo and JETRO Startup] and more. 

Based in Silicon Valley but with chapters across the globe, the Founder Institute idea-stage accelerator program provides the structure, mentor support, and global network of entrepreneurs needed to start an enduring company. Founder Institute Graduate companies include fast-rising startups across 6 continents like Udemy, Realty Mogul, Itembase, goplaceit, Appota, and many more

“Our program teaches entrepreneurs the best practices of Silicon Valley innovation, enabling them to avoid rookie mistakes, work frugally, and create value quicker,” says Jonathan Greechan, Co-Founder & CEO of Founder Institute. “This is a grassroots model of local economic development that is sustainable.”

After Graduation, the new Japan Graduates now have a company, business idea, product plan, and path to growth fully validated by experienced startup founders. In addition, the Graduates gain access to the Founder Institute's Global Network of over 6,500 companies and 35,000+ mentors spanning 200+ cities and six continents.

The next Japan Founder Institute program is being planned now, and the final application deadline is Apr 09, 2023]. Anyone interested in launching a company with the program can register to get updates at http://fi.co/japan

The Founder Institute is the world’s most proven network to turn ideas into fundable startups, and startups into global businesses. Since 2009, our structured accelerator programs have helped over 6,500 entrepreneurs raise over $1.75BN in funding. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 95 countries, our mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology companies worldwide.


Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over 1.8 in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/graduates


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