NEST 2017: Innovation and entrepreneurship on the global stage

What do you get when you combine top Silicon Valley tech founders, a host of Japan’s finest entrepreneurs and startups and a former Japanese Prime Minister? The New Economy Summit 2017!

The Japan Association for New Economy (JANE), the influential industry advocacy organization behind the event, was established with the aim of strengthening Japan’s economic competitiveness through use of the internet, a vision that has since expanded to include rapidly growing industries in the offline world as well.

Since 2013, NEST, as the event is known, has brought together global entrepreneurs and innovation leaders each year to discuss the future of the Japanese and global economies. The event has featured business and economic leaders such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, and Android creator Andy Rubin, who famously brought along an entourage of robots from Japanese robotics company Schaft.

The robots were showcased live on stage during Andy Rubin's keynote speech.
The robots were showcased live on stage during Andy Rubin’s keynote speech.

NEST 2017 promises to raise the bar even further. Keynote speakers include Andreessen Horowitz co-founder and General Partner Ben Horowitz, who will be introduced by JANE Representative Director and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani; Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston; and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Panel discussions will also feature big names such as Cabify Founder and CEO Juan de Antonio, BCSV Chairman Peter Bell, CyberAgent President Susumu Fujita and many, many more.

The two-day summit will deliver sessions covering a range of New Economy topics including the impact of AI, drones, ridesharing and autonomous driving, IoT, fintech and venture capital in the startup ecosystem. Discussions will not be limited to tech, however, with broader topics covered in panels on U.S. politics as well as a special session from renowned National Cancer Institute scientist Hisataka Kobayashi.

Speakers will also play judge at the NEST Startup Challenge, a pitching event showcasing the best of the Japanese startup scene. The 2016 edition saw a wide variety of pitches for a myriad of forward-thinking products such as holographic communication robots, smart motorcycle helmets and GNSS/GPS guidance systems for agricultural machinery.

"Gatebox" presented a holographic communication robot at last year's NEST Startup Challenge.
“Gatebox” presented a holographic communication robot at last year’s NEST Startup Challenge.

“This year’s Startup Challenge will feature the giants of the Japanese startup scene, handpicked by 10 different ecosystem builders,” explains event organizer Hiromi Okuda. The “ecosystem builders” – that is, startup incubators, startup media and accelerator programs – will each recommend a startup from their field to represent them at the event.

“The role of JANE has always been to connect corporations and groups from around the country to change Japan and build a better future,” Okuda says. With an exciting lineup of speakers, events and startups, NEST 2017 looks to deliver on that promise.

NEST will take place over two days on April 6-7, 2017 at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo. Tickets can be purchased from the event website.

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