From The Infinity Ventures Summit In Kyoto, Japan: 14 Demos From Japanese Startups

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Earlier this week, I attended the Infinity Ventures Summit Fall 2010 in Kyoto/Japan, a two-day web industry event organized by Japanese VC firm Infinity Venture Partners. During the summit, a few hours of the program were reserved for 14 Japanese start-ups to present their services onstage to a panel of judges and an international crowd of over 500 people.

Here are thumbnail sketches of all the products that were shown at the event’s launchpad.

The winner and four runners-up

Stock Prediction Robot by hottolink (winner of the launchpad)
Best of show went to a software robot that’s presumably able to predict the ups and downs of the Nikkei 225 stock market index. Maker hottolink uses past financial data and a word of mouth analysis tool it usually offers as a marketing tool to analyze thousands of Japanese blogs and other sources to retrieve relevant information. During the demo, hottolink CEO Uchiyama said his software robot didn’t only do well in simulations but also achieved excellent results in the real world: a fellow web entrepreneur invested about $300,000 into a fund that made a 72% plus on the stock market over a seven month period, based on the robot’s recommendations.

Lingo by Kazki Matsumoto (first runner up)
Developed by an individual, Lingo is a text correction plug-in to check the grammar and vocabulary in English sentences typed in a browser. When the user makes mistakes, the tool suggests tips on how to phrase sentences correctly in real time. Lingo will be made available sometime next year.

Cheerz by Klab (second runner up)
Cheerz
is a service that’s supposed to cover “the entire web with a social layer”. The way it works is that much like Weblin used to do, Cheerz makes people visiting the same website visible as avatars. These avatars can form interest-based groups, play games, befriend and communicate with each other. Cheerz will be free, but maker Klab is planning to sell virtual items so users can dress up their avatars. The service is scheduled to go live in English and Japanese next month.

AndFriends by milog (third runner up)
AndFriends is an Android application that makes discovering Android apps more social. The idea is to leverage your circle of Android-using friends who can share what apps they use with other Andfriends users (plus on Facebook and Twitter). Once you discover an app that you might like (i.e. through a push notification), you can download it directly through Andfriends.

Chirpstory by Toshiaki Yoshida (fourth runner up)
Twitter-based content curation and communication platform Chirpstory went live during the Infinity Ventures Summit. The service lets you create a “story” about a specific topic by dragging and dropping tweets from your timeline and that of others. These tweets are arranged in the form of a thread on a dedicated topic page, to which users can also add different media (videos from YouTube, pictures etc.). As an example, here‘s the story (a tribute) for the late Elizabeth Edwards. Chirpstory’s popular Japanese version, Togetter, currently sees 9 million page views per month.

The best of the rest of the IVS launchpad

Here’s a list of the nine other products that didn’t make the cut:

The Infinity Ventures Summit is an invitation-only event that takes place twice a year. Click here for my coverage of the spring 2010 event.

Credit for picture on top of this post: Yuji Kumagai

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