Digital Garage, Inc. (TSE first section: 4819, HQ: Tokyo, Representative Director, President Executive Officer and Group CEO: Kaoru Hayashi, DG) is going to support the operation of TOYOTA NEXT, an open innovation program launched on December 7, 2016 by Toyota Motor Corporation (TSE first section: 7203, HQ: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, President and Representative Director: Akio Toyoda, Toyota). It will provide this support together with Open Network Lab*1, an incubation organization for startup firms operated by DG Incubation, Inc. (HQ: Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, President and Representative Director: Yasuyuki Rokuyata, DGI), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DG and engages in investment and incubation projects.
TOYOTA NEXT is an approach to creation of the mobility society of the future by combining the companies, venture firms, and research institutes in possession of innovative technologies and services with the assets held by Toyota. Through TOYOTA NEXT, Toyota is taking aim at the emergence of various "human-centered services" linking it and people even when they are not driving.
TOYOTA NEXT official website: https://toyotanext.jp/en/
In the implementation of this program, the DG Group, as a leader in the field of incubation, is going to make maximum use of the know-how it has accumulated thus far through investment in ventures inside and outside Japan, and furnish all-around support for its operation. DG will serve as the secretariat for the program, and the Open Network Lab operated by DGI will provide a wealth of know-how related to investment in and development of leading startup companies in Japan and other countries. By so doing, they will assist the program in all aspects, from selection of participating companies to the transformation into services. On the creative front, Rei Inamoto, a digital creator active worldwide and representative of Inamoto & Co.*2, will be involved in the program as a partner. DG has an interest in Inamoto & Co., which supports global brands.
Besides support for this program, the DG Group is committed to contribution to the emergence of new innovation by support of startups active inside and outside Japan and by research and development of next-generation core technology, through DG Lab*3, its own R&D organization geared for open innovation.
[Overview of the TOYOTA NEXT Open Innovation Program]
■ Application period
December 7 (Wed.), 2016 - February 20 (Mon.), 2017
■ Official website
■ Proposal topics
1. Safe and secure services that eliminate the lack of mobility for all people
2. Services that promote automobile use which provides a more pleasant and enjoyable mobility experience
3. Services that will help attract car fans and enhance owner loyalty
4. One-to-one services that make use of data in Toyota's possession
5. Dealer services provided by Toyota dealers nationwide
* Proposals for innovative services that do not fall under any of the above topics may also be submitted.
■ Assets that can be provided by Toyota
1. Big data
•Data that can be acquired from connected cars
2. Points of Contact
•Owned media (toyota.jp / LINE accounts / email magazines, etc.)
3. Products & services
•Smart Key Box / TransLog / i-Road / T-Connect / TC smartphone navigation app
* In addition to the above, Toyota's product lineup (vehicles and accessories) can be used.
* The above assets are indicated on the premise of investigation, and separate consultations will be necessary to determine if specific assets can be provided to create services.
■ Eligibility of Participants
Individual engineers, persons engaged in R&D, and others and organizations such as universities and companies that are developing innovative technologies, solutions, or services that can be expected to have business applications
* No applicant age limit as long as all contact can be conducted in Japanese.
* Individual engineers and persons engaged in R&D and organizations or teams that are unincorporated at the time of submission may submit proposals.
* Application is also open to all companies, from venture firms and small or medium enterprises to large companies.
■ Screening process
February 20 : Application deadline
Late February : Document screening
March : First selection
April to June : Second selection
Mid July : Final selection
End of July : Determination of winning companies
*The number of companies to be selected has not yet been determined.
Beginning in August : Development and service release
■ Membership of the selection panel (Tentative)
• Shigeki Tomoyama (Senior Managing Officer, Toyota)
• Yasuhiko Sato (Managing Officer, Toyota)
• Shuichi Murakami (Managing Officer, Toyota)
• Rei Inamoto (Founding Partner and Creative Director, Inamoto & Co.)
• Tomoya Sasaki (Executive Officer and Senior Vice-President, Digital Garage, Inc.)
• TOYOTA NEXT Secretariat (Toyota / Open Network Lab investment members)
* The membership tentatively includes a few other people as well.
■ Partner companies
• Inamoto & Co. (creative oversight and selection support)
• Digital Garage, Inc. (operational office and selection support)
• DG Incubation, Inc. (operational office and selection support)
* The schedule is tentative and subject to change.
* For details of the program, please visit the official website.
*1 About Digital Garage, Inc. and DG Incubation, Inc.
Ever since its founding in 1995, Digital Garage has pursued business mainly in three areas: investment and development support for Internet services, marketing, and global online settlement. Always anticipating the trends of the times, it grew along with the Internet and was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in May 2016. At present, it is taking approaches to business in artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual reality (VR), and other next-generation businesses.
Making extensive use of the DG Group's network of investors and entrepreneurs inside and outside Japan, DG Incubation invests in and assists the growth of a wide range of companies. It has a long record of achievement in support for development of business in Japan by Twitter and LinkedIn, for example. In April 2010, it opened its Open Network Lab for the purpose of "incubating startup firms that will be globally active." It fosters and supports start-ups through activities in three areas: incubation consisting of its seed accelerator program etc. based on the screening of submissions in an open application process, events such as meetings with startups active in Silicon Valley or other places around the world and lectures by specialists invited to speak, and the community that is formed through these activities.
*2 About Inamoto & Co.
Headquartered in New York, Inamoto & Co. is a business invention studio dedicated to the cultivation of new business domains around design, data, and technology. Selected as one of the world's 50 most influential people by Creativity magazine and one of the world's 25 most creative people in the advertising industry by Forbes magazine, Rei Inamoto founded Inamoto & Co. in the spring of 2016 with Rem Reynolds after serving in high positions at two of the major ad agencies in Europe and the United States, i.e., Executive Creative Director at R/GA and Chief Creative Officer at AKQA. While offering innovation consulting services to global brands from its base in New York, Inamoto & Co. also develops products and services through in-house activities.
Official website: http://inamoto.co/
*3 About DG Lab
Official website: https://www.dglab.com/
[Contact for interviews etc.]
Public relations, Digital Garage, Inc.
Attn: Abe & Tanaka
Tel: 03-6367-1317 / 03-6371-1849