6 Japanese Startups to Watch at IFA 2019

Published by Chika on

It’s no surprise, given Japan’s fierce reputation for technological development, that its startups are innovating and pushing boundaries in ways only the Japanese could do. Brain scanners? Wooden screens? Emotional AI? It’s clear their horizons are slightly more broader than the rest of ours. 

With 19 startups coming over from Japan for Berlin’s IFA exhibition in September, we take a look at five of them that we think are destined for big things.


We’ve all experienced misunderstandings. Whether we’ve unknowingly chosen the wrong tone to speak to someone, or we’ve misinterpreted the mood of the person we’re communicating with. 

Empath is an Emotion AI tool which aims to solve this problem. It can identify the moods and emotions behind the voices it hears, and represents voice tones on its dashboard with an easy-to-read emoji interface. 

Empath has found a home in call centres, where phone operators can monitor the emotions in their own voices and gauge those of their customers in real-time. A managers can also monitor the overall mood of their teams.

Its aim is to help people understand and empathise with each other – creating harmonious exchanges. 


Job satisfaction is a very important topic. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges they face with employee happiness and retention.

Unipos is a startup which has developed an app designed to spread love and harmony within a workplace. Their app enables users to send messages of support and gratitude to their colleagues throughout the day. 

Points can be awarded and effort celebrated, creating an encouraging atmosphere where people feel valued. 

From an employer’s perspective, Unipos is highly effective for creating a supportive work environment, while keeping employees engaged in their work and the philosophy of their business.


‘Upgrade the world’ is the motto of INDETAIL, a company that seeks to bring blockchain into businesses, communities and our daily lives. 

One of their recent projects has involved creating an unmanned, multilingual check-in desk for foreign visitors in hotels which syncs with a keyless, smart lock system enabling the whole hotel experience to be automated and simplified for non-Japanese speakers. 

Using their motto, INDETAIL will take their ideas around the world, simplifying it for its users.


NeU are making innovative waves in the area of brain science, thanks to their range of wearable brain measuring devices. 

Utilising the world’s most advanced neuro-science technology, NeU have developed an ultra-compact and lightweight brain activity measuring device. It simply wraps around your head and beings recording activity.  

With the information gathered, NeU offer programmes in workforce efficiency, brain training exercises and opportunities to perform neuro marketing analysis.


What’s unusual about mui, especially for a startup coming from Japan, is how they’re interested in creating spaces free from technology. Well, not completely. 

mui integrate natural materials – specifically wood – into modern technology in a subtle way. They believe our homes should be a tranquil haven that eschews technology in favour of natural aesthetics. Their products allow us to still enjoy the benefits of technology while not allowing them to interfere with our time away from a screen. 

Their products allow you to read messages, adjust the thermostat and much more, all while avoiding interacting with a screen. We’d love to see more of their technology in Europe and we’re keen to see what these guys bring to IFA.

Dynamic Map Platform

Dynamic Map Platform create full-3D of our roads and cities. It sounds pretty simple, but it’s an extreme feat of technology and their maps could have thousands of uses in the modern world.

Autonomous driving is just one. These vehicles will need maps that are fully interactive, precise and 3D for them to correctly and safely judge their surroundings. 

Other uses Dynamic Map Platform have so far experimented with include disaster recovery and urban planning. But the potential is endless – especially when integrated into smartphone apps.