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IMAGR Ltd. of New Zealand Wins First Prize at Asian Entrepreneurship Award

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CHIBA, Japan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Asian Entrepreneurship Award Steering Committee announced today that IMAGR Ltd. of New Zealand won first prize at the Asian Entrepreneurship Awards 2018 (“AEA 2018”), a three-day business pitch contest for Asian startups held from October 31st to November 2nd at Kashiwa-no-ha campus city in Chiba prefecture, Japan.

This year, 20 technology startups from 13 countries and regions across Asia specializing in the AI & IoT and medical & healthcare fields showcased their innovations, the commercial viability and social impact of their products and services, as well as the future potential of their solutions and the potential for collaboration with major Japanese corporations.

Initiated in 2012, the AEA program aims to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurship across Asia and has brought together 154 companies from over 16 countries and regions to date. It constitutes a collaborative effort across industry, government and academia and is co-hosted by Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., the University of Tokyo’s Corporate Relations Division, TX Entrepreneur Partners General Incorporated Association, and The Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

This year, the AEA focused on AI and IoT and on the medical and healthcare sectors—key business fields Kashiwa-no-ha campus city is focusing on in its quest to spur the creation of new industries that will help address a variety of social issues in Japan and Asia, such as declining birthrates and aging societies. This year’s winner, IMAGR Ltd, a New Zealand-based startup that developed the innovative AI/computer vision shopping cart SMARTCART, was evaluated highly in terms of their business scalability, with a number of Japanese companies already showing interest in potential collaboration. The company also won the Audience Award, attracting the most votes by the audience at the final session.

Last year, the AEA newly established the “Kashiwa-no-ha Award”, designed to recognize a technology, product or service that will enhance the development of the Kashiwa-no-ha campus, the host city of AEA – a “smart city” initiative aiming to develop a next-generation urban environment through collaboration between the public, private and academic sectors. Located about 40 minutes from Tokyo by train, Kashiwa-no-ha campus city aims to establish an open platform that will accelerate the creation of new industries. This year, the award was presented to Girasol Energy Inc., a spin-off from the University of Tokyo that leverages its patented power line communication technology to develop IoT platforms for solar power plants. The company also won third prize in the overall competition, being rated highly on their practical application of IoT and their potential to reach diverse customer sectors.

To further accelerate collaboration between Asian startups and major Japanese corporations, the AEA added a new judging criterion evaluating the startups’ potential to collaborate with Japanese companies on business deployment in Japan. To illustrate such potential, Singapore-based startup ViSenze, runner-up at last year’s AEA, shared details of their recent collaboration with Mitsui Fudosan, one of the co-hosts of the AEA. Following AEA 2017, Mitsui Fudosan adopted ViSenze’s intelligent image recognition solution and deployed it at their e-commerce shopping mall “&mall”.

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  • Source: A BusinessWire release