The Falling Walls Conference in Berlin is an annual showcase for innovation, promoting creative efforts to improve the world one bold idea at a time. One of its side events is Falling Walls Venture, an international forum for science-based startups, venture capitalists and strategic investors.
Although started in 2013 and already popular in Europe, this is the first year that Falling Walls Venture is truly going global, and Tohoku University is proud to have been the first host of the Asia qualifiers, held recently on Katahira Campus.
Six startups from Japan and Indonesia took part, each getting five minutes to present a business pitch before fielding questions from the jury panel. The companies were judged on their level of innovation, the commercial potential of their ideas and the social impact of their products.
Kanagawa-based Mebiol Inc. won top spot for its soil-less farming system that uses a membrane made of a water-soluble polymer to grow fresh produce. The technology also hopes to address environmental concerns such as food security, water scarcity and the depletion of arable land.
We want to take this technology, wrap the globe with it and grow great vegetables," said Ali Adnan, managing director of Mebiol. "We are looking forward to going to Berlin and making the best out of this opportunity!"
Other contestants included:
- Mycotech from Indonesia, which plans to build affordable housing using recyclable material made from agricultural waste, bound together with mushroom mycelia.
- Tohoku Magnet Institute Co. Ltd., which has developed a new kind of nanocrystalline soft magnetic material to reduce energy loss and improve efficiency in electrical devices.
- Renascience Co. Ltd, which is developing a pharmaceutical seed that can treat patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
- NUProtein Co., Ltd, a biotech company whose technology offers a cell-free protein synthesis system.
- Eyes, JAPAN Co. Ltd., a Fukushima computer science company which has created the Fukushima Wheel, a specially outfitted bicycle featuring sensors to collect environmental data such as radiation, temperature and humidity.
At the closing ceremony, Daisuke Toki, president of Deutsche Asset Management Japan Ltd, and a member of the judging panel, said the judges were very impressed with the presentations. "All of you have a vision and that's most important. A good vision is the starting point for all successful business ventures."
Mebiol Inc will now head to Berlin to join 19 other enterprises who will compete in the event final on November 8. The overall winner will be awarded the Falling Walls Science Start-Up of the Year and given the chance to make a presentation at the main Falling Walls Conference the next day.
The Falling Walls Conference, which was started in 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, annually attracts some 700 international decision makers, movers and shakers.
Contact:Tohoku University Head Office of Enterprise Partnerships
Tel: +81 22-217-6034