Japan is looking for deep tech startups to collaborate with

Pranav Vadehra
Published on:
Mar 7, 2022

For Asian startups with growth plans, international expansion is certainly one of the key priorities. Most businesses tend to look at China or the US due to the sheer size of the market but Japan is often overlooked. As the third-largest market in the world, Japan represents a significant opportunity. Not only is it a highly stable economy with enormous purchasing power — a population of 127 million with a per capita GDP of around $41,000 — the Japanese economy is also expected to pose a healthy 4% growth in 2021, showing signs of strong post-pandemic recovery.

Overseas companies have traditionally had concerns around cultural and language differences that have made them averse to building a presence in Japan. Companies have also found it hard to hire Japanese talent with international experience in the past since Japanese entrepreneurs predominantly stuck to business within Japan. However, things have changed significantly over the last decade or so.

A recent Proof of Concept (PoC) has applied international routing technology to freight delivery in Japan. SWAT Mobility was selected for the HIKYAKU LABO Accelerator 2021 program run by Sagawa Express Co. Ltd. Applying its proprietary routing technology, SWAT Mobility developed a freight dispatch route optimisation service for Sagawa. The cargoes collected and delivered by Sagawa Express in Tokyo were dispatched using SWAT’s route generator and driver app to perform vehicle allocation, route generation and driver navigation for the deliveries.

The project has confirmed the potential for a significant reduction of the number of vehicles and costs through maximisation of the floor area usage by vehicles. SWAT’s routing technology localised for the Japanese market has built-in Zenrin’s highly accurate and fresh road network data which is complete with complex road regulation information specific to Japan, such as intricate narrow roads and one-way/time zone regulations. The technology will also derive the optimum driving speed for each time zone and each road, through machine learning using vehicle GPS data.