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Nov. 16, 2023 13:00 UTC

Berkeley SkyDeck Partners with JETRO and Leading Japanese Universities to Accelerate Global Innovation

Latest expansion of Berkeley SkyDeck and JETRO relationship to further facilitate international cooperation and innovation

BERKELEY, Calif.--( BUSINESS WIRE )-- Berkeley SkyDeck , the global hub for entrepreneurship and a leading accelerator, today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to jointly leverage resources to further develop international startup and innovation support. Notably, the MoU includes JETRO support for Berkeley SkyDeck to launch a formal startup support program in Japan, which would be Berkeley SkyDeck’s second formal international program after Berkeley SkyDeck Milano in Europe.

The MoU represents the latest step in this multi-year partnership and Berkeley SkyDeck’s commitment to continued global expansion and startup representation. In addition to launching new programs in Japan, Berkeley SkyDeck will coordinate with JETRO San Francisco and six leading Japanese universities for programs conducted in the United States. The six universities are Kyoto University, Nagoya University, Osaka University, The University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, each of which have been recognized as some of the best universities both in Japan and globally.

“Berkeley SkyDeck and JETRO share a common goal of developing regional and international innovation and entrepreneurship in the understanding that this level of collaboration will help us faster develop the technologies that can help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director at Berkeley SkyDeck. “This new MoU underscores that commitment both here in the United States and in Japan, and we look forward to exploring new opportunities together.”

The MoU signing ceremony was held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and was followed by remarks from Japan's Minister of Economy, Technology and Industry (METI), Nishimura Yasutoshi, on the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation. METI is the parent to MoU signatory JETRO.

In the past several years, the Japanese government has worked to drive more startup growth in the country, with Tokyo now ranked among the top global cities to found a company . JETRO's core focus in the 21st century has been to promote direct foreign investment into Japan and help Japanese startups and scaleups maximize their global potential.

Its partnerships with institutions like Berkeley SkyDeck have also significantly contributed to this goal; Berkeley SkyDeck is currently hosting 29 Japanese startups that were recommended by JETRO as part of its current program cohort. The organizations have partnered since 2021 to bring a total of 61 Japanese startups to Silicon Valley, including the current 29. Dedicated teams from Berkeley SkyDeck and JETRO work closely together from program promotion to startup selection and program execution to ensure successful experiences for each founder.

“From CRISPR to fiber-optic communication, Japan has a long history of innovation and invention, something we have in common with the United States. Collaborating with Berkeley SkyDeck has been exceptionally successful so far,” said Yotetsu Hayashi, Chief Executive Director at JETRO San Francisco. “Working together, I am sure we can continue to support groundbreaking new companies both here and in Japan alike.”

Alumni of Berkeley SkyDeck, which include Deepscribe, MindsDB, Chemix, and Xendit, have enjoyed great success in their respective industries, collectively raising more than $1.7 billion in funding, with nearly 20 exits through acquisition or public offering. Berkeley SkyDeck is currently hosting Batch 17, including 29 Japanese startups, with Demo Day expected in April 2024. Applications for Batch 18 will open in February 2024.

About Berkeley SkyDeck

Berkeley SkyDeck is a leading accelerator and the global hub for entrepreneurship. As UC Berkeley’s largest and most prominent accelerator, SkyDeck combines hands-on mentorship with the vast resources of its research university. SkyDeck is the only accelerator of its kind that offers the value of a dedicated investment fund alongside the resources and network of a top university. To date, SkyDeck startups have raised more than $1.8 billion in aggregate. Participating startups have access to SkyDeck’s 500 advisors, 70 industry partners, and a network of more than 510,000 UC Berkeley alumni. For more information, see skydeck.berkeley.edu .


The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a Japanese government-affiliated agency that supports Japanese businesses expanding globally and international businesses entering Japan. JETRO facilitates collaborations and business alliances between Japanese and overseas companies with its business platform “J-Bridge.”


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Source: Berkeley SkyDeck

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