“BIT VALLEY 2021 #01 Local x Startup” (July 20, 2021) Event Report

As part of the “SHIBUYA BIT VALLEY” project, launched in 2018 for networking and information sharing between IT professionals, the first installment of the 7-series conference “BIT VALLEY 2021”, “BIT VALLEY 2021 #01 Local x Startup,” was held on July 20.

Executives from top Japanese IT companies such as CyberAgent, DeNA, GMO Pepabo, Mixi, etc., along with Ken Hasebe, the mayor of Shibuya, and Saeko Seno, the Global City Promotion Office subsection chief and one of Shibuya Startup Support (SSS) core members, took the stage and discussed the theme of “The City and Startup.”

The conference started with an opening talk by Hasebe, who noted that Shibuya is a relatively new city compared to Kyoto and Kamakura, being only about 100 years old. And that it was built around the approach to Meiji Shrine and a hub station Shibuya that attract new people from outside, and therefore, the city has long been receptive to new things and challenges.

Later in the session “Aiming to be a Startup Friendly City: Shibuya City Office’s Startup Support Strategy,” SSS member Seno introduced the current status of the Office’s efforts and the results so far.

Seno points out that as of July 2021, Shibuya City is home to more than 2,000 startup companies and more than 150 companies listed on the stock exchange (IPO). In addition, the city has 100 shared offices, 60 venture capital organizations, and 8 acceleration programs, making it an outstandingly supportive environment for startups compared to other cities. Furthermore, the Shibuya City Office established a special department to support startups in November 2020 and has started a full-scale project to promote the formation of a startup ecosystem under the themes of “globalization,” “environmental improvement,” “collaboration between companies and local governments,” and “proof-of-concept.”

Seno also introduced “Start-Up Chile,” the Chilean government’s startup incubator program that produced nearly 2,000 startups in 10 years since 2010, and added that more than half of these startups operate today and have generated over 2 Billion USD in value. She spoke of the Shibuya City Office’s ambition to create an ecosystem comparable to the program in Japan and Shibuya. She called for participation in her startup promotion program, saying that it welcomes people willing to work together to create an environment that supports people taking on new challenges in Shibuya.

You can view the archived video of the whole event on YouTube.