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Japanese startups moving up in weight class, survey finds

AI and internet companies lead way in attracting investors, building value

From left to right: Mercari CEO, Shintaro Yamada, Eliiy Power President Hiroichi Yamada and RakSul CEO Yasukane Matsumoto

TOKYO -- Japanese startups are bulking up rapidly, led by those with a digital angle, as venture capital firms and large companies eagerly invest in up-and-coming businesses with original ideas, a recent survey by The Nikkei shows.

The so-called Next Unicorn survey, conducted jointly with the Japan Venture Capital Association, targeted companies that possess unique technologies or business models and have been in operation no more than 20 years. Twenty-two of the 108 startups replying to the survey held an estimated enterprise value topping 10 billion yen ($89.3 million), based on data obtained from the companies themselves as well as venture capital firms.

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