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Raising the Bar: Fundraising and Growth in Kansai

An evening panel discussion about the challenges of fundraising for startups in Kansai. This event is organized by the Startup Guild Japan, Innovator's Path, and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry Japan, with support from the US Consulate General of Osaka. Event update: we're sold out.

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Raising the Bar: Fundraising and Growth in Kansai
Raising the Bar: Fundraising and Growth in Kansai

Time & Location

2023年8月24日 18:30 – 20:30

Osaka, 1F, 1-chōme-13-22 Sonezakishinchi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0002, Japan


About the event


In today's startup landscape, securing funding is often the most challenging aspect for founders. Recent scandals in the investor market have eroded investor confidence, leading to smaller funding amounts, increased scrutiny, and decreased risk-taking. While many governments actively support R&D projects and startups, Japan's startup ecosystem must catch up to other G7 nations regarding infrastructure, financial support, and entrepreneurial aptitude. This has resulted in significant challenges for startups in Japan, especially in Kansai, where its many benefits are not attractive enough to keep talent and financers from relocating to Tokyo, thus hindering innovation and growth.

We will be serving food and beverages during our networking session after the panel discussion is finished.

Event update: We reached out RSVP capacity of 70 seats. We have activated a waiting list for anyone interested in joining.


  1. 18:00 – Doors open
  2. 18:30~18:45 – Event begins: Opening remarks and introduction of Startup Guild Japan, Innovator's Path, and French Chamber of Commerce and Industry Japan
  3. 18:45~19:15 – Panel discussion
  4. 19:15~19:30 – Q&A
  5. 19:30~20:15 – Networking with food and beverages


  • Joshua Flannery – Innovation Dojo Japan


  • Dr. Felix Moesner – Swissnex
  • Kenneth Jeng – Moon Creative Labs
  • Matthew Ketchum – Web3 Explorer
  • David Perdue – Consulate of Canada
  • Soraya Umewaka – MatchHat


Our event, "Raising the Bar: Fundraising and Growth in Kansai," aims to address the funding challenges startups face in Kansai and explore the many financial instruments available to startups. By engaging experts from the private and public sectors, we aim to gain insights into Japan's funding landscape and compare it to other countries. This event will provide attendees with valuable information about securing funding in the region, including potential pitfalls to avoid and upcoming developments in the startup ecosystem.

We also seek to stimulate discussions on attracting more funding to Kansai – and keeping those opportunities here. With the rise of startups in cities like Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka, exploring ways to support and nurture entrepreneurship in these areas is essential.

Currently, the funding landscape could be better in Kansai. Startups need access to venture studios and reliable CVCs who can and will support early stages. Government funding needs to be more transparent, accessible, and less restrictive. Angel investors must be better incentivized and informed to support local and foreign startups. Accelerator programs must empower their cohorts with funding tools like an investment or honorarium for their time. Finally, banks need to be more flexible to the needs of startups while maintaining security.


Government representatives are welcome to participate in these discussions actively. Their presence will allow us to gather insights into improving startup support in Kansai. We aim to spearhead commitment from these representatives to improve the startup experience, particularly in the Kansai region.

Moreover, we strive to empower attendees by equipping them with knowledge and resources to seek and secure funding for their businesses confidently. By providing insightful feedback and data to government agencies, we aim to drive efforts to improve government funding initiatives and attract new Corporate Venture Capitalists (CVCs) and Angel Investors.

Ultimately, the "Raising the Bar: Fundraising and Growth in Kansai" event aims to bring together stakeholders from the startup community, government agencies, and investors to foster Kansai's supportive and thriving funding environment. By facilitating discussions and empowering startups, we aspire to contribute to the growth and success of the Japanese startup ecosystem.

About Innovator's Path

Innovator’s Path is a Kyoto-based network to foster entrepreneurship across the Kansai region, leveraging resources and best practices from Silicon Valley. We act as a bridge between the U.S. and Japan and share the expertise of U.S. venture capitalists, startup ecosystem builders, and mentors with members of the startup community to become globally minded entrepreneurs — from those who are just starting their entrepreneurial journey to those who have established businesses.

The name “Innovator’s Path” is inspired by Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Path, which encapsulates the aspirational mindset of Kansai-based entrepreneurs who seek to blend the spirit of tradition in Japan with future technologies. The group first assembled Kyoto-based entrepreneurs at a meeting sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) with the U.S. Ambassador to Japan on August 22, 2022, and continues to grow with the support of the U.S. mission to Japan.

We seek to build a new generation of founders looking to break the mold of traditional Japanese business practices, foster collaboration with American startup ecosystem builders, and provide mentorship to those looking to build startups and attract venture capital from the United States.

About the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan

The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (CCI France Japon) is a non-profit organization belonging to a worldwide network of 123 French Chambers in 94 countries with over 36,000 companies and of the European Business Council - European Chamber (22 sectorial committees)

Largest European Chamber in Japan, our longstanding and powerful network is dedicated to your success on the Japanese market since 1918. Whether you’re a large multinational, a SME or a start-up, our ever-expanding network of over 600 companies is the ideal platform for you to connect with French, international, and Japanese economic actors.

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