How Japan-bound Northern American startups are strategically navigating COVID-19
As COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreck havoc on companies and startups around the world, Sitata from Canada, a global health and safety platform offering live insights into disruptions around you, and Soundpays from Canada, a system that utilizes ultrasonic sound wave technology to deliver advertised or broadcast content to your mobile device, have been adapting to the new landscape, keeping their projects going, and shared how they are achieving this.
Sitata was in a unique position during the COVID-19 situation. “We first detected the outbreak in late December when it was reported as an unusual number of cases of pneumonia. However, within the next 48 hours, it became clear that this was not pneumonia and so we published our first warning to our users on January 2nd, well ahead of most outlets and even the World Health Organization,” the company said.
As the outbreak developed and spread across the world, we witnessed the travel industry shut down. That put their company in a very difficult situation. Luckily, many organizations use them for domestic health and security reasons. In addition, they started to focus their efforts on the return of travel. They also created the world’s first detailed and structured database of travel restriction changes and made it available via API for our partners.
Adam St. John, CEO and Co-founder of Sitata, said: “We can answer questions like “can I enter the country?” or “do I have to wear a mask when I’m there?” or “Is local transportation shut down?.” Our partners are starting to leverage this API to help build confidence with their customers as travel returns. Individuals can also access the same information online. Overall, many organizations have performed their damage control and are anticipating the return of travel. With loosening travel restrictions, Sitata anticipates a world of constant change and most certainly waves of smaller outbreaks. We are ready to keep our customers informed so they can have safe and healthy travels once again.”
Steve Doswell, the Canadian CEO of Soundpays shares how they are overcoming the challenges that COVID-19 have posed to his company, “At the beginning of the COVID appearance we took a hard look at our business and re-worked our financial projections assuming significant loss in revenue from original expectations. We made the decision to only focus on our existing key customers and prospective customers whom we have taken through the sales cycle, and not bother trying to develop new customers. It will be a down year in revenues when we were originally expecting a nice revenue growth over last year. We hired some additional tech people to push on our R&D and development projects. Our plan is to use this lull in sales and biz dev, to focus on accelerating our technology plans.”
As the challenges the business world and startup ecosystems across Asia face require new solutions, another company, Rainmaking Innovation Japan, the facilitator of Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka, has been working on new and alternative ways to support Japan market entry for promising ventures. Both Sitata and Soundpays are graduates of the program and as a result have several Proof of Concept projects under their belt in partnership with large Japanese conglomerates they connected with during the program.
Along with the Japanese Government’s recent push in innovation and new projects, Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka have opened their applications for their second cycle, working to tackle the new challenges the world faces in its needs for Smart City solutions in the post COVID-19 world. Applications are open to all startups around the world with technologies related to Smart Cities. The program will be run either partially or completely remotely beginning late November this year.
Applications for Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka are open now; interested scaleups can learn more and apply here: https://www.startupbootcamp.org/accelerator/scale-osaka/
The NA / LATAM FastTrack Webinar taking place on 24 June 2020 is currently accepting registrations here: https://www.startupbootcamp.org/events/fasttrack-webinar-2-scale-osaka/