What is the Venture Competition?
The Venture Competition is the centrepiece of the Japan Energy Challenge activities. Held annually, the JEC team and sponsors invite a group of promising energy sector companies that they are interested in working with. The goal is to build relationships that result in collaborations, sales, investment, and other forms of support for helping grow the invited companies in Japan.
This competition is unique in that all invited companies will have at least one sponsor interested in meeting them specifically. The JEC team works with the invited companies in the months leading up to the event to fully understand their business and products, making the actual meetings very meaningful to exploring future relationships.
How does it work?
The program is divided into three stages: Scouting, Shortlist, and Event Preparation.
During the open application period (March - July 2020), companies can indicate their interest in participating via the application form. The JEC team and our network of channel partners will also be scouting and reaching out to companies of interest directly, who will be invited to apply via the fast-track.
At the end of the application period, the JEC team will review all applications and create a shortlist of 50-100 companies. These companies will be notified and the invitees will sign a program participation agreement, which encompasses the terms & conditions of the program and allows for sharing of confidential information with the sponsors and JEC team.
After confirming, the JEC team will conduct a brief virtual interview with the applicant to review the materials provided in the application and prepare a brief summary. This summary will be presented to the sponsors, who will vote for the companies they are most interested in to receive a formal invitation.
After collecting the votes from the sponsors, the JEC team will make formal invitations to the top 20-25 companies and confirm travel and attendance arrangements.
At this point, we will work with the invited companies personally to collect and prepare materials for dissemination to the sponsors. We will relay questions and feedback from the sponsors and collaborate to refine further over several rounds, with the aim of ultimately preparing a proposal for working with the sponsors. This process will be conducted entirely virtually - there will be no requirement to travel or meet in person.
Going into the event, each of the sponsors will have reviewed the materials thoroughly and will be prepared to discuss proposal specifics and work toward agreeing on terms. At the event in Tokyo, meetings will be set with the sponsors most interested in working with you.
While every invited company will have the opportunity to win a commercial engagement, we will name at least two "winners" based the on highest levels of sponsor interest. Winners will receive a package that includes connections to relevant suppliers, consultants, technical experts, etc. and ongoing support to make sure promising projects reach fruition. Additionally, they will receive media coverage in both European and Japanese publications
To find out our more about our winners for 2019, read here. We want to do everything we can to help all participants succeed in the Japanese energy sector and aim to have all participants producing a viable plan for pilot projects, sales agreements, coordinated development, or other forms of collaboration.
Who can apply
TOKYO GAS is Japan‘s largest provider of natural gas, having more than 11 million gas customers and 2 million electricity customers. TOKYO GAS promotes open innovation and digitalization by collaborating with startups and utilities in order to provide a wide range of service beyond gas. TOKYO GAS has announced its commitment to becoming a net-zero company by 2050 in its long-term group vision "Compass 2030" published last year.
ENECHANGE LTD. provides one of the most popular energy switching websites in Japan, having 3 million monthly unique visitors and working with over 100 energy suppliers. ENECHANGE is also recognized as one of the most innovative energy ventures in Japan, providing vertically integrated tech solutions - such as data-driven CRM solutions, smart
meter data management (SMAP), AI-driven load curve simulation etc. - for energy suppliers.
Chubu Electric Power is Japan’s third largest among the 10 regulated energy utilities for both businesses and households in the Chubu region, serving 2.3 million customers. With over 212 power stations, 33 GW of total generation capacity, 135,000 km in distribution lines and 30 USD billion revenue. In April 2020, a new business structure will be launched as the Company is split into the transmission and distribution business and the retail electricity business.
JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy is the largest oil company and 3rd largest new electric power supplier in Japan, and is known by its brand ENEOS. They have crude refining capacity of around 2 million barrels per day - which is comparable to BP - and a nationwide supply chain enabling stable supply of products and services associated with energy. They have also been supplying low-carbon energy, such as solar, wind, biofuel, and hydrogen.
Looop operates a low-voltage power retail business ‘Looop Denki’ and is among the fastest growing new entrants in the energy sector. Since starting in April 2016, the business has gained over 200,000 users by the end of December 2019. Looop is also a successful EPC/IPP provider, selling rooftop solar panels for their residential and business customers.
Shimizu has 66 subsidiaries that operate businesses globally, including construction business and non-construction businesses: Real Estate Development, Engineering, Life Cycle Valuation and Emerging Frontier Businesses. They have a revenue of 15.3 USD billion and over 10,000 employees in 25 countries. To meet their 10-year plan, they plan to invest 7 USD billion over the next 5 years, this includes 1.2 USD billion invested in projects related to infrastructure, renewable energy and new businesses.
Panasonic Corporation is one of the largest electronics producers, with nearly 80 USD billion in revenue and 271,000 employees. For its 10-year vision, they plan to invest significant resources in developing Focused Technologies such as AI/IoT/Big Data, Sensing Technology, Robotics and Digitalization Network, as well as Supportive Technologies such as Key Device/Manufacturing. Energy in “Home”, “Mobility”, “Business” will also be a target.
Hokuriku Electric Power is an electricity utility that serves mainly businesses and households in the Hokuriku region, serving 2.1 million customers. Its generation mix is characterized by a higher ratio of hydroelectric power generation (hydroelectric power: 28%,thermal power: 61%, others: 11%, as of 2018). They have transformed by separating their organisation into two companies in April 2020, one generates and sells electric power, another operates TDS (transmission and distribution system).
Tohoku Electric Power is one of the 10 regulated energy utilities for both businesses and households in the Tohoku region, serving 7.6 million customers. With over 231 power stations, 16.8 GW of total generation capacity, 587,600 km in distribution lines and 20 billion revenue. They are transforming by separating their organisation into three divisions: Power Generation, TDSO and Sales.
MIRAIT Holdings Corporation is a telecom engineering company with 19 overseas subsidiaries and 3.5 USD billion in revenue. They own an installed generation capacity of 288 MW of renewable energy worldwide and more than 1000 EV chargers in Japan. They aim to contribute to the “smart society” through initiatives enhancing competitiveness amid the changing business environment with 5G and IoT technologies.
Chugoku Electric Power is one of the 10 regulated energy utilities for both Businesses and Households in the Chugoku region. With over 102 power stations, 11 GW of total generation capacity and 12.8 USD billion revenue. The power transmission and distribution business has been operated by our wholly owned subsidiary since April 2020.
Toyota Tsusho is the sole general trading company of the Toyota Group. They provide logistics, information services, financing, risk management, import/export and investments. They have 7 divisions. The Power Project SBU operates 8 GW of power plants, including more than 3 GW of renewable energy. They have established the NEXT Mobility Development Department focusing on materials replacement and recycling, next-generation vehicle services, EV components and smart factories. Their Energy Solutions Department offers integrated solutions of heat and electricity supply.
Shikoku Electric Power Co., Inc. (”Yonden“) is one of the 10 Japanese regulated energy utilities aiming business to deliver high-quality energy services for residential, public sector and commercial & industrial (C&I) clients. Their mission is to be innovative and take advantage of new technology to deliver quality service for tomorrow. Yonden is looking for partners to work with on developing new valuable services throughout the T&D network using the latest energy IoT.
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, a part of the MS&AD Insurance Group, is one of the leading companies in the non-life insurance business . They have been promoting the MSIG brand worldwide operating now in 42 countries and regions. They are exercising the company‘s comprehensive capabilities to offer insurance and financial services business.
Let's get started!
*Subject to revision
Jan 1, 2018
Call for applications opens and scouting begins - April 2020
Dec 27, 2018
First Consideration deadline - 30 June 2020
All fast-track applications received by this date will have guaranteed consideration.
Dec 27, 2018
Second Consideration deadline - 17 July 2020
All fast-track applications received by this date will have guaranteed consideration.
Dec 27, 2018
Applicants Shortlisted - July/August 2020
Invitations will be made on a rolling basis until all seats are confirmed. Application will remain open but consideration is not guaranteed.
May 1, 2018
Finalists confirmed, remote preparation begins - September 2020
Jul 5, 2018
Event day meetings with Japanese partners & clients - 1-4 December 2020
Jul 6, 2018
Winner announcement - Last day of event
Jul 12, 2018
Follow-on preparation & project start
What criteria will you use to select participants?
In order of importance, we will assess:
1. Partner interest in buying, selling, or implementing your solution
2. Traction achieved to date, measured from investment size, sales volume, and number of employees
3. The quality of your technology demonstration
Do we have to move to Japan?
Not unless you want to! Attendance at our Tokyo event is mandatory, and other meetings will be held virtually. If you successfully win a project, our team can help with the logistics of deploying it in Japan to minimise disruption to your team.
Does it cost anything to participate?
Japan Energy Challenge is entirely free for the invited participants. Unlike other programs, we won't ask for equity or commission as the event costs are supported by our sponsors. Our primary interest is always in making sure that deals happen.
The main investment is the time required to participate and any travel expenses needed to attend the event, but we seek to minimise this by leveraging the support of the JEC team.
What if we are already working in Japan?
Having started to work in Japan does not disqualify you from applying. In many cases, this can actually be a benefit because it provides a clear answer for your growth plan and goals. Participating in Japan Energy Challenge would be a very effective path to getting your offer in front of decisionmakers at new clients - or give a boost to the speed of your existing pipeline - and help you rapidly expand your growth.
How do the deadlines work?
The main deadline for applications is 30 June, and any company that submits their application before this date is guaranteed full consideration. Companies who are eligible to apply via fast-track can do so before 17 July for priority consideration.
After 17 July, our team will be making and confirming invitations for 20-25 companies. This process takes some time, and involves our team liasing between the sponsors and interviewing the applicants to confirm a fit in the program. We generally estimate that all invitations will be confirmed by 1 August.
To accommodate any latecomers or new developments that may affect consideration, we leave the application open during this period. Applications received after 17 July will be considered only if there are spots still remaining.
We have just put together a team and have a great idea that would be applicable to Japan - can we apply?
Japan Energy Challenge is focused on well-established companies who are ready to scale internationally. Unfortunately we cannot consider companies that are not incorporated and do not have strong evidence of commercial traction.
We have been acquired - can we apply?
Generally acquisition does not mean that you cannot apply to Japan Energy Challenge. In many cases, acquisition can be an asset - especially if it is by a major energy company - as it demonstrates the strategic value of your solution.
However, it will be important throughout the program to demonstrate that you are still able to be flexible. While compliance is essential, too many corporate requirements set by the parent company can be perceived as burdensome hurdles to overcome.
How likely are we to be selected and/or win a project?
We generally can't comment on the likelihood of a successful application, though we do our best to be honest with you regarding your likelihood of success as the program proceeds. We understand how valuable your time is and we do everything we can to respect it - that's why each stage of the program is meant to ensure that progression is driven by the interest of the sponsors in working further with you.
What is the Fast Track?
Applications submitted by companies affiliated with our partners or scouted by our team will be given priority consideration through our Fast Track program. Check if your application is eligible for our Fast Track program here.
What is the impact of COVID-19 on the program?
Japan Energy Challenge has made remote scouting and preparation a core component of the program since its beginning, so for the immediate term we see very little impact on participation. We will continue to scout and communicate via remote means. In the event that the situation has not stabilised by the time of the event in Tokyo at the end of the year, we plan to make accommodations to hold the event virtually.