Networking and the Hackathon

In general, life, business, and yes… entrepreneurship are about: the Art of Networking

In a series of visits, several company founders, CEOs, and representatives from the Entrepreneurial world have come to visit iU University campus. They have a shared mission, to help the students at iU university learn, meet, and network with startup leaders in Japan. Some of these leaders have even come from Osaka! Let’s get to know them.

Plug & Play

The first is Ms. Haruka Takamori from Plug & Play (Japan office). The organization is officially known as “Plug and Play Tech Center” is a venture capital (VC), innovation consultancy, and startup accelerator out of Silicon Valley. They operate offices in more than 20 global industrial cities; have 500 corporate partners; and a 300 VC ecosystem. Their office in Japan is active in the startup scene and the organization has agreed to participate in the upcoming IU HACKATHON.

At the most recent brainstorming and planning session, Mr. Kotaro Takekata (Program Lead) and Mr. Ryan Adiputra (Partner Success Manager) were in attendance with Mr. Fuminori Gunji, the former CEO of TokyoMate. They provided insight into planning a successful HACKATHON and also will be bringing startup experts to work with iU University students to learn or polish important entrepreneurial skills.

A fun fact

Mr. Adiputra was once mentored by our iU University President Ichiya Nakamura! So, in a sort of way… it was destiny to be re-connected again. Don’t you agree?


Mr. Fuminori Gunji (Global Alliance Manager) has provided immense valuable insight into the startup scene in Japan. He also makes time to work as a mentor for StartupBootcamp Scale Osaka, a startup accelerator; as well as with 500 Global an early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator and incubator from California.


Mr. Alexander “Zan” Appell and Ms. Maki Iguchi came to visit a few times, met several students and invited them to the Venture Café Tokyo Thursday gatherings. The company has created an AI-driven application that helps language learners with vocal recommendations for improvement. Some students in Joe Hug’s class were able to test the application during a recent class visit.


Mr. Keith Schellin (Founder) works with Japanese SMEs who are interested in going global. He connects the companies with U.S. (specially in California) partners to bring Japanese goods and services to the American consumers.

You may be asking yourself, what do these companies and their representatives have to do with iU… besides the upcoming HACKATHON? Well, the answer is… they all speak both English and Japanese. So, the importance of being bilingual should not be overlooked. By having the ability to speak more than one language, more opportunities will come before you, and your world is that much more valuable. So, until the next story… go out speak English, and yes… go network!