Hack Osaka 2018
Power to Connect and Get Connected Produces Serendipity
- Give Before You Get -

Hack Osaka is held annually by Osaka City with the slogan of “Open Innovation City”. In the 6th Hack Osaka, participants bring ideas to make Osaka a place where innovations are produced one after another, with the theme of “Power to Connect and Get Connected Produces Serendipity, - Give Before You Get -“. We will consider how we establish an effective ecosystem through organic connections between various players including investors, entrepreneurs, and large companies, based on successful examples in the world,

  • Date February 27 (Tue.), 2018. 13:00 – 18:00 (planned)
  • Deadline date February 23 (Fri.), 2018 * We will close acceptance for Networking when the number of participants reaches to capacity of 70.
  • Theme Power to Connect and Get Connected Produces Serendipity - Give Before You Get –
  • Target Entrepreneurs, investors, in-house developers of new projects, students, researchers, media, etc. from inside and outside of Japan.
  • Capacity About 700 people (70 people for Networking held after the event.)
  • Participation fee Free (4000 yen for Networking)

  • (1) Global Challenger’s Talk : Mr. Kentaro Suda (Founder of FREEPLUS)
  • Tiantian Zhang
  • (2) Key Note Speech : Ms. Tiantian Zhang(Co-founder of Vigo Technologies)
  • (3) Panel Discussion
    • -1 Mr. Oko Davaasuren(Regional Director, Asia of Techstars)
    • -2 Mr. Oscar Kneppers(Founder of Rockstart)
    • -3 Mr. Gidi Schmerling(Director of Media Relations at the TelAviv-Yafo Municipality)
    • -4 Mr. Masaaki Yoshikawa (Director General, Osaka City Government)
    • Moderator : Mr. Tim Romero(Serial Entrepreneur, Host of the Disrupting Japan)
  • (4) International Pitch Contest “Hack Osaka Award 2018”
  • (5) Startup Talk : Mr. Akinori Takahagi (CEO of Moff)
  • * Changes of contents, if any, will be announced on this website.

Global Challenger’s Talk 
Mr. Kentaro Suda
(Founder of FREEPLUS)

Kentaro Suda was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1985 to a Japanese father and a Malaysian-Chinese mother. He spent his childhood in Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia until he moved to Osaka at the age of 10. Despite entering the college, a chain of his thoughts at the Coming of Age ceremony led him to envisage to achieve "something world-class" in his life and decide to drop out of the college. At the age of 22, he founded the company, FREEPLUS. In 2010, FREEPLUS started Japan's inbound travel business. In 2017, FREEPLUS started a hotel business mainly targeting foreign tourists.

Key Note Speech
Ms. Tiantian Zhang
(Co-founder of Vigo Technologies)

Tiantian Zhang is the Co-founder of Vigo Technologies, a Silicon Valley-based hardware company behind Vue, the world's first pair of stylish smart glasses. Vue raised $2.2M on Kickstarter, making it the highest grossing eyewear campaign of all time. Prior to Vigo Technologies, she founded Three Fellows, a video media company that portrayed the lives of Chinese students in the US that garnered tens of millions of views online as well as partnerships with major Chinese TV stations including CCTV and Phoenix TV. In 2017, Tiantian was honored on the Forbes China 30 under 30 list for her work in hardware. She was invited to meet China’s Premier Li Keqiang as a young entrepreneur in honor of her achievements both in China and abroad. Tiantian holds a masters degree in Product Design from the University of Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Tiantian focuses on painting, fashion, and CrossFit. Tiantian is a strong believer in the power of education, her higher education experiences have changed her life. She hopes to strengthen and expand programs that offer the same opportunities to underprivileged girls within China.

Panel Discussion
Mr. Oko Davaasuren
(Regional Director, Asia of Techstars)

Oko is an active founder and a community builder. He has cofounded and helps run several startups in Asia. Oko has received a bachelors degree in Finance from Portland State University before continuing onto a masters degree in Engineering Technology Management but decided to return home to Mongolia. He then received his MBA in Mongolia. When he is not working, he can be found on Squash courts or on long-haul Motorbike rides in Asia.

Panel Discussion
Mr. Oscar Kneppers
(Founder of Rockstart)

Rockstart Founder Oscar Kneppers is a successful serial entrepreneur and a celebrated internet publisher – launching several cross-media brands since 1998 focused on new media, innovation and technology. After selling his media businesses, Oscar founded Rockstart in 2011. Oscar started his career with publisher IDG in the Netherlands. In 1998 Oscar started his first business with Emerce. In 2005 he launched Bright, and in 2007 Bright. TV. Over the years Oscar’s companies won several awards. Oscar comes from a large family, is married, has two children and lives in Amsterdam.

Panel Discussion
Mr. Gidi Schmerling
(Director of Media Relations at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality)

Gidi Schmerling is the Director of Media Relations at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality. He also heads the "Digitel" project, thanks to which Tel Aviv-Yafo was nominated the smartest city in the world at the Smart City EXPO World Congress held in Barcelona. Schmerling is in charge of Tel Aviv-Yafo's Media Arts field in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. He is also a director at Tel Aviv Global and Tourism, which is an initiative that promotes Tel Aviv as an international center of innovation, leveraging its status as the city with the largest concentration of startups and technological accelerators in the world. Schmerling previously served as Head of the National Information Directorate of the Israeli government and Spokesman for the Prime Minister. He has a MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Zurich and is also a Harvard University alumnus.

Panel Discussion
Masaaki Yoshikawa
(Director of Osaka City Government)

Mr. Yoshikawa is the head of the Osaka Innovation Hub (OIH), which the Osaka City Government launched as a Networking platform in the city for innovation; it has been holding more than 200 events, such as Hack-a-thons and pitch contests, with over 12,000 participants annually, for gathering and connecting all the relevant resources in the city. OIH is spreading such innovation throughout the city, working beyond all boundaries such as position, title, organization, and nationalities to build an Innovation Ecosystem. In order to build a stronger Innovation Ecosystem by giving more diversity to the city, OIH is strongly promoting to connect with innovative communities in the world with the slogan “Connect Osaka to the World.” He has been involved with new business development, including founding and managing several startups. Based on his experience, he believes that entrepreneurs are heroes or AND heroines who can help solve problems in society through business.

Mr. Tim Romero
(Serial Entrepreneur, Host of the Disrupting Japan)

Tim Romero is a Tokyo-based entrepreneur, podcaster, author and teacher who has started four companies and led Japan market entry for others since coming to Japan more than 25 years ago. Tim hosts the Disrupting Japan podcast, teaches corporate innovation and entrepreneurship at New York University Shinagawa campus, and is deeply involved in Japan's startup community as an investor, founder and mentor.

Startup Talk
Mr.Akinori Takahagi
(Moff CEO)

Akinori Takahagi is representative of Moff. Born in Osaka and having worked at A.T. Kearney Tokyo and in the Product Planning Department of Mercedes-Benz Japan, he participated in Osaka City’s Mono App Hackathon and Silicon Valley Tour. As a result, he established Moff in October 2013. His company develops and sells the Moff Band, a wearable, sensor-equipped device for fun movement, which is top-ranked on Amazon both in Japan and the US. Moff also entered the nursing care industry with its Mofftre IoT independence support service in April 2017.

Hack Award 2018

This year, we are going to hold a business contest where entrepreneurs will compete with their ideas and business models on the themes of digital health, travel tech and smart cities. We are currently accepting applications for participation.
Participant companies should be in their seed or early stage, and operate IT-related businesses dealing with products or services in any field of the Internet of Things, the Internet, mobile technologies, software, digital content, or consumer electronics (including PDA and robots). Apply now if you are making great efforts to offer new value to the world!


4:00pm-6:00pm, Tuesday, February 27, 2018
*This contest will be held as one of the part of “Global Innovation Conference Hack Osaka 2016”, therefore the timetable may change depending on the previous parts.


Digital Healthcare, Travel Tech, Smart City

Targeted for participation

The theme includes Internet of things, Internet, mobile technology, software, digital contents, consumer electronics products (including PDA and robot) and services, and we welcome companies developing overall Internet/IT-related businesses at seed/early-stage level.

Benefits of participating

Opportunities to meet individually with investors from Japan and overseas. Opportunities for business matching meetings with Japanese companies. Winners receive travel voucher to travel to Japan again.

Participation fee

Application, judgment, and transportation and accommodations are free of charge for one representative person.Transportation and accommodations for accompanying persons, and any other costs of participation in the event, are borne by each participant.

ApplicationRecruitment of speakers is over
Timeline leading up to participation

Primary review will be done upon reception of presentation documents. Application will be closed upon reaching the limit number of contestant companies. *Business experts will examine submitted presentation documents and select top ten contestants. *No inquiries and answers are available about review process.


One representative per company (i.e. the presenter on site) is to apply for the contest. To accompany non-presenter, include their information (name and title) in presentation document.


Tel: +81-6-6359-3004
(From Monday to Friday, 10:00-18:00, except holidays and during New Year period)


Mr. Allen Miner
(Chairman and Group CEO of SunBridge, Inc. & Founder of SunBridge Group.)

Mr. Oko Davaasuren (Regional Director, Asia of Techstars)

Mr. Oscar Kneppers (Founder of Rockstart)

Mr. Gidi Schmerling (Director of Media Relations at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality)

Junko Foley
(CEO of Daidomon)

Communication Area
Startup Show Case
This is an exhibition where up-and-coming startups participate. Entrepreneurs mainly working in Kansai who aim to scale up their businesses gather here and demonstrate their technologies and services. Participation is free of charge. Deadline date is December 17, Sunday.

Startups who want to raise funds and expand their sales channels


To be able to prepare a prototype for demonstration


15 companies


One meeting table
(Pamphlets, panels, and demonstration devices should be prepared by exhibitors)

Speed Dating
(Venture capitals and accelerators are
now being recruited)

We are now recruiting venture capitals and accelerators who can meet with startups in the up-and-coming areas, including IoT, AI, AR, fintech and energy. Meeting time will be 15 minutes per entrepreneur with up to four entrepreneurs. Please apply from the button below. We will start recruiting entrepreneurs from December 15. Please wait for a while until then.

Investors and accelerators
(Please note that we will hold simple screening after application)


18 companies


Congress Convention Hall A,
Rooms 1 - 3
(Granfront Osaka
  Knowledge Capital B 2 Level)  

Executive Committee
Hack Osaka 2018 Committee
Osaka Innovation Hub
  • Consulate-General of the United States of America in Osaka-Kobe
  • British Consulate-General Osaka, Trade & Investment Section
  • Consulate-General of France in Kyoto
  • Business France, Embassy of France in Japan
  • Consulate-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Osaka-Kobe
  • Royal Netherlands Consulate-General in Osaka-Kobe
  • Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Osaka Kinki Bureau of Telecommunications
  • Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Japan External Trade Organization
  • Osaka Prefectural Government
  • Kansai Economic Federation
  • Kansai Association of Corporate Executives
  • Japan Association of New Economy
  • The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
  • Mainichi Broadcasting System, Inc.
  • Knowledge Capital

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Go Forward Strongly to Innovation


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*We will take photos and videos to disseminate information after the event, and may undertake media interviews. Please agree to the possibility of participants’ appearance in these photos and videos. Personal information provided to the event is used only within the scope of the purposes stipulated in advance, and is not provided to others. Please note that the Hack Osaka 2018 Planning Committee (Osaka City and Urban Innovative Institute), which plans and implements this project, and Osaka Urban Industry Promotion Center, which is in charge of disseminating information, share personal information handled for the event. * The privacy policy of Osaka Urban Industry Promotion Center is here.