DEEPCORE Inc., an AI-focused venture capital (VC)in Japan launched the “KERNEL Global Startup Camp” an accelerator program for entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their business overseas.
Its first batch,”KERNEL Global Startup Camp 2022 Winter,” is a four-month program that will begin in December 2022. The application period for participants is from September 30th to October 30th.
Four companies, including those headquartered in the US, participated in the pre-program prior to the start of the camp. Mentors with experience in global entrepreneurship and investment were invited to give lectures on the creation of business models, demonstration experiments, fundraising, etc., and a Demo Day was held at the end of August to present the results of the program.
Pre-briefing dates: September 29 and October 14
■Programs Specializing in Problem-Solution-Product
The KERNEL Global Startup Camp offers a specialized program for early-stage startups looking to expand into overseas markets, with the majority of the program conducted in English.
The four-month program is divided into the following phases: (1) Customer/Problem-Fit, (2) Problem/Solution-Fit, and (3) Solution/Product-Fit, with lectures on specific topics each week to provide basic knowledge and case studies, as well as weekly pacemaking.
After working on hypothesis testing of products/services, we will create outputs for the next round of fundraising.
■Funding with convertible instruments
Upon program selection, funding with convertible instruments will be provided.
Program participants will receive 5 million yen (US$40,000 for overseas corporations) and various types of support at the start of the program, allowing them to focus on their business.
In addition to DEEPCORE’s capitalists and advisers, the program will be supported by a team of outstanding mentors, including entrepreneurs and investors who are active internationally.
There will also be opportunities to interact with participants living abroad and entrepreneurs who are active in Japan and abroad, creating both vertical and horizontal connections.
・Antoine Blondeau（Founder and Managing Partner at Alpha Intelligence Capital）
・Simon Lancaster（General Partner, Omni Venture Labs）
・Clayton Bryan（Partner | Head of Accelerator, Global Accelerator Fund）
・Raymond Yip（Managing Partner of Playmaker Ventures）
・Jonathan Yaffe（CEO and Co-Founder at Anyroad）
・Arte Merritt（Conversational AI Global Segment Leader of Amazon Web Services）
・Keyvan Peymani（Executive Chairman of Versus Systems）
・Matthew Romain（Co-Founder of Gengo）
・Rodolfo Rosini（Entrepreneur In Residence at Conception X）
・Chih-Han Yu（CEO and Co-Founder of Appier）
・Ofer Ronen（Co-Founder and CEO of Stealth Startup）
・Jerry Yang（General Partner at HCVC）
(in no particular order)
This program is intended for those who intend to expand into overseas markets and wish to focus on creating services and products in the area of AI and its peripheral technologies. Pre-founding teams and individuals are also eligible to apply. Japanese is not required.
For detailed application requirements, please see Program Information.
Entry period: September 30 (Fri.) – October 30 (Sun.), 2022
Selection Period: October 17 (Mon.) to November 30 (Wed.), 2022
Program implementation period: December 5, 2022 (Mon.) – March 31, 2023 (Fri.)
September 29 (Thu.)12:10-13:00, 2022
October 14 (Fri.)18:00~19:30, 2022
Place: KERNEL HONGO (Design Place α 3F, 4-1-4 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo) or Online
(free of charge / advance registration required)
■About the Pre-Program
A total of four companies participated in the pre-program held from May to August 2022: three companies selected from among the applicants and one company invested by DEEPCORE.
1. Noetic Digital（Headquarters: U.S.A. Base:Tokyo）
Platform for low-cost and efficient market research
2.zData（Headquarters: U.S.A. Base:Tokyo）
Dynamic pricing tool for online shopping mall store owners
3.Skillzilla（Headquarters: U.S.A. Base:U.S.A.）
Sales support tool that automatically customizes the content of sales cold emails to increase the response rate of the recipient company
4.Town Doctor（Headquarters: Tokyo Base:Tokyo）
Service to improve the effectiveness of nutritional guidance using nutritionists (human power) and a system
Demo Day was held as the final presentation for the program, with pitches and networking by participating companies.
＜Comments from Pre-Program Participants＞
・Hee Gun Eom（CEO at Salezilla: ）
The KGSC program helped Salezilla refine our focus and accelerate our growth. We really enjoyed all the guest mentors we were able to connect with. Being able to meet guest mentors from all over the world with various experiences was the highlight of the program. The lecture and mentorship the DeepCore team provided was insightful and valuable.
The network and mentorship we received will continually pay dividends as we grow our startup!
・Kei Yamagami,（CEO of TownDoctor: ）
There were many opportunities to pitch for several VCs, entrepreneurs etc. Therefore, I could get used to pitching myself. Feedbacks from entrepreneurs who have experiences managing similar types of business were meaningful. Also, I could verify initially which regions are prospective, discussing with mentors from all over the world (UK, France, US, Shanghai etc).