A robot that can find the laundry even if you’ve moved it could give Japan’s startup scene a much-needed shot in the arm.
#Japan is losing the tech race. One AI startup is hoping to change that ~ @CNNbusiness
Preferred Networks co-founder Daisuke Okanohara says his company’s artificial intelligence software enables the Human Support Robot to react to changes in its environment in unique ways.
The technology is a source of pride for the Tokyo-based firm, which is worth roughly $2 billion, according to CB Insights. That kind of valuation is rare for a Japanese startup. While the United States and China have seen the rise of hundreds of unicorns — private tech companies worth at least $1 billion — Japan has just three.
It wasn’t always this way. The third biggest economy globally was once a leader when it came to disruptive, innovative technology. After all, this was the country that gave the world pocket calculators, the Sony Walkman and LED lights. But Japan has since fallen far behind in the innovation race.
A study from consulting firm McKinsey found that Japan was keeping pace until about 2000, when the revenues of companies such as Sony ( ) and Toshiba ( ) fell sharply below those of industry leaders like Apple ( ) and Samsung ( ).