X-HUB is a platform to accelerate business growth globally and support startups based in Tokyo, providing them with access to a wide range of domestic and foreign investors and major corporations. It implemented business matching with foreign corporations this season and held events aimed at gaining knowledge about global market. The number of companies which joined X-HUB program this year and concluded NDAs with global company is more than 90. Furthermore, over 4,000 participants attended in its events including online attendance.
We interviewed Nightley, one of the X-HUB Mobility Program Batch 1 participants in 2019, about the reasons why they targeted for global expansion, the current business situation and more details about X-HUB program.
- Nightley was founded in 2011. Could you tell us about your business?
We continue to develop and operate location intelligence services which analyze a large amount of data related to location information- location big data. Collecting and analyzing the latest data on locations and facilities around the world and making them into a database, we can offer our customers information that was not captured before in an easy-to-understand form as web services and reporting services. Companies in various industries and municipalities now use our services. Including free plan, the number of customer companies exceeded 10,000.
One of our main services, “Inbound insight” first started to provide real-time analysis and database on nationality and facility which was created from open comments and pictures on SNS. It is currently developed to help customer understand travel trend and travel consumption. Not only in the tourism industry, but in companies and local governments at various areas, there is a growing need for data-based marketing and verification of the effects of that marketing strategy. We would like to continue our contribution to supporting customer’s problem-solving as a means of solution support to local revitalization.
- A business alliance with TOYOTA drew attention in 2017.
Through TOYOTA’s open innovation program on CASE and MaaS, we were selected as one of the partner companies to improve the function of vehicle and develop jointly new services. We believe that the large amount of data from vehicles such as connected cars has great value in solving current social issues and can make people’s lives more convenient. As of now, the data from connected cars is used to analyze accident-prone locations and road conditions at the time of disaster. However, in the near future, future analysis on actual movement by vehicle type and user’s life style would realize more convenient services and development of mobility services. Furthermore, this big data would enable us to foresee a possibility of local community invigoration.
Additionally, as many of you know, many local communities in Japan face issues such as declining birthrate and an aging population and population decline. Due to the lack of local public transportation and surrender of driver’s license by elderly people, it is also true that the number of vulnerable road users, especially elderly people and children, is increasing in rural areas. In such areas, introducing new MaaS services such as “on-demand bus” that determines an operation route according to the user’s reservation is being promoted. The demand of analyzing big data from travel and daily life is also needed. We think that a variety of location information data and analysis techniques will be required.
- Why did you attend X-HUB Mobility Program Batch1: business matching with BMW, held by X-HUB in 2019?
- I wasn’t thinking about global expansion at that time but I participated in the program in August 2019 with the recommendation from a business associate. The content offered by the program had full of useful information with enough supports including mentoring and counseling by dedicated staffs. The opportunity to learn English for presentations was of use also. I was so glad to complete English materials explaining our services. This program lowered a hurdle for global expansion. Seeking for proposals of collaboration with global companies, I would like to continue to expand our business and conduct research and development.
- How do you usually get global information?
- There are various ways to track the latest news but I often use “google alerts” that will timely email you the latest articles which contain keywords you have set. I intentionally set those keywords, location analytics, Big Data and Location Intelligence, which are not yet common in Japan but we are now focusing on. Some foreign industries and researches are moving ahead of Japanese ones. In that sense, I think it is important to focus on global information rather than only relying on domestic information sources.
- Could you share some advice for companies trying to succeed in the global market?
Looking back on the X-HUB program, I think two points are important. The first is to deepen your knowledge about intellectual property in advance. Having talked with BMW, I was very surprised to be asked at the beginning of a conversation, “What do you think about patents and intellectual property?”. I think global companies were very conscious about them. Being able to answer quickly such questions, the trust and evaluation from them will lead in a good direction. Our company already obtained patents in Japan and overseas so we were able to respond quickly.
Secondly, it’s significant to create a positioning map that compares not to domestic companies but to global companies. When you communicate with global companies, way of how you describe your position, company and service is a key.
With the development of digital technology and the spread of smartphones, it’s possible to use data to understand where and what is happening on the earth now. Data will become more important in various fields. Recently, the practical use of location information data has been spreading into such areas as town development and smart cities as well as the tourism, inbound services and MaaS. Going forward, I would like to contribute to customers and partners who are taking on new challenges through our community invigorations solutions with location data analysis technology.