03. Meet Founders

PLEN Robotics Founder, CEO Natsuo Akazawa

Natsuo Akazawa
――What does your startup do?
We develop and sell small service robots incorporating face authentication and voice recognition systems and mainly on a B2B business base.
――What problem are you trying to solve?
We aim to help support companies and people seeking to counter the problem of a declining workforce by providing them with AI and service robot solutions. We aim to offer AI assistants capable of fully automated reception services, taking orders or cashiers, with a low installation fee and running costs to help companies, especially in service industries, handle the lack of workforce.
――Why did you choose Osaka?
I was born and raised in Osaka, which remains my home.
――What do you think about Osaka’s startup community?
I believe a so-called “startup community” in the true sense of the word has yet to emerge. Promising startups, once they grow, are moving to Tokyo. I would urge agencies and governments supporting startups to not rely only on Osaka locals to start their business locally, but instead, to offer specific investment and environment quickly and to promote so that startups from other areas of Japan will move to Osaka to found a company. Otherwise, no startup community or ecosystem will ever exist.
――How has Osaka’s Governments (City & Prefecture) helped your startup?
Our business network has expanded as we joined an acceleration program.
――Where is your favorite place in Osaka and why?
The Abuyama Observatory of Kyoto University, located in Takatsuki City. Both the interior and exterior of the seismological observatory, which was built in 1930, are interesting and fascinating.
――Do you have advice for people considering doing a startup in Osaka?
I am not in a position to advise newcomers, but I would like you to take your own challenges. Whether you fail or succeed, I believe starting your own business gives you the chance to gain knowledge and experience within a short period to survive our complicated world today.