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Mumu Makinose



What's the name of your startup

Our company, lainen LLC, makes web application called, Nemu, for the Finnish startup Beddit Inc.

What does your startup do?

lainen LLC is developing a B2B service application that measures sleep. We have a partnership with the Finnish startup Beddit Inc. which gave us the opportunity to complete the product they were making. Currently, Beddit Inc. is focusing on the B2C market and lainen is targeting the B2B market in order to maximize the business opportunities on both sides of the market.

Apart from that, we are also working with companies that are based around the world in places like Estonia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and China. Nemu covers a wide range of topics from food to biotechnology. The best way to describe the company is that it’s a project management business that works to connect people and companies across the world.

What problem are you trying to solve?

In terms of our work with Beddit Inc. we are introducing people to what we call a “non-health check” that gives people insight into their health status. Measuring sleep is a good way for individuals to conduct periodic non-health checks in their own homes. The potential for this product is great and there are a few key markets that could especially benefit from using this type of sleep measurement. Some examples of potential markets are the following:

  1. Transportation – It is common to see news about traffic accidents that are caused by factors like fatigue and lack of sleep. A sleep measuring solution could really help to reduce this problem.
  2. Personal care for the elderly – Caretakers could use the sleep measurement for lots of reasons. They could check the health conditions of their patients as well as identify any abnormal patterns in their sleep. These patterns could be indications of other issues that might not have otherwise been noticed.

Why did you choose Fukuoka?

I chose to found my company in Fukuoka for three main reasons.

  • I used to live in Shanghai. Fukuoka is located right in between Shanghai and Tokyo. I considered launching the business in Shanghai, but Fukuoka’s place as a window to Asia made it the most logical choice.
  • Fukuoka is a very convenient city to live in! It’s really nice to have my daily life and my work within walking distance of each other. It’s more efficient in terms of both time and cost. Living here also helped me to establish a solid professional network in a short period of time.
  • Fukuoka is a very open-minded city with a lot of energetic people. To be frank, one of the reasons why I decided to come to Fukuoka is because during my first Yatai (open-air food stall) experience, I was able to feel the city’s atmosphere and get to experience the people who live here. I only spent an hour at the food stall, but I found that short time really accurately represented Fukuoka’s wonderful characteristics.

What do you think about Fukuoka's startup community?

Fukuoka has a good startup community. I have been living here for about 2 and a half years, but I am already very familiar with the city and its people because the city is so open. For startups, it is really important to choose the community where you start your business carefully. In Fukuoka, it was easy to develop my business quickly since it is simple to find all of the resources I need to support the venture. All of the partners, clients, and many of the supporters of my startup are actually new people I met after I moved to the city. In my opinion, Fukuoka is the best place to quickly establish a startup in Japan.

How has Fukuoka City helped your startup?

Oh, my Buddha! When I first came here and went to the municipal office I was a bit surprised by where it was located. The Fukuoka City Office is situated in the very center of the city, and I hadn’t imagined it would be placed there. After a while, I realized that the location of the office has a meaning. Fukuoka City is in the middle of the community, in particular, the startup community. Nowadays, I frequently have the opportunity to meet the people who work in the city government. While this would be a unique and rare opportunity anywhere else, here in Fukuoka it is pretty common. I am able to exchange information with key government employees, and this direct access is extremely helpful for business development. I feel incredibly lucky that I listened to my sixth sense and decided to settle down here!

Do you have advice for people considering doing a startup in Fukuoka? Anything you wish you’d known before starting your company here?

Don’t hesitate to use all of the facilities that Fukuoka City provides. First of all, just go to the Startup Café. They can give you all of the advice you will need as well as be able to connect you with the right people. The only thing you cannot get there right away is financing as there are some additional steps you will need to take to get it. Still, they give you access to invaluable resources at the Startup Café! While Fukuoka isn’t Japan’s capital, it is the capital of startups in the country. The people here are very welcoming to foreigners not just as friends but also as cross-border business collaborators.

In terms of the business itself, I would recommend that founders spend a lot of time really thinking about their idea and business model. I heard from my friend that a good bouldering climber does not begin to climb without first thinking about which rocks he/she will use. Once you have a solid idea that you think is amazing, and you have planned it out carefully, you will surely be successful starting your business in Fukuoka City.