September 28, 2020
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) selected Innophys Co., Ltd., as a winner of the METI Minister’s Award under the Award for Academic Startups 2020 program.
1. Outline of the Award for Academic Startups 2020
Since its inauguration in FY2014, the Award for Academic Startups program has been honoring promising, excellent university-developed startups selected from venture businesses that make use of the research outcomes achieved by universities and other institutions (national universities, private universities, colleges of technology, research and development institutions under the national government and local governments, national research and development agencies, and non-profit corporations including public interest corporations). This program also honors universities, companies and other entities that have contributed to the growth of such startups.
This program aims to further promote the establishment of businesses that make use of R&D outcomes achieved by universities or other entities, encourage startups to innovate further, and encourage universities or companies to support university-oriented startups.
The secretariat of the program called for applicants for the FY2020 program from April 6 (Mon.) to June 8 (Mon.), 2020, and 33 entities applied for the program. The Screening Committee of external experts for the Award for Academic Startups (Appendix 2) examined application documents and held interviews with applicants. Following this screening, six university-originated startups and the universities and companies supporting the startups were selected as winners. For details of the winners, see Appendix 1 and visit the website for the Award for Academic Startups program below.
2. Outline of the winners and the award (For details, see Appendix 1.)
Winner of METI Minister’s Award
Startup: Orihara Daigo, President, Innophys Co., Ltd.
Supporting university: Kobayashi Hiroshi, Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo University of Science
Innophys Co., Ltd. is a startup that originated in Tokyo University of Science and has been engaging in development and sales of their “Muscle Suit,” a wearable robot that helps workers engaged in physically demanding labor by providing robotic back support.
The “Muscle Suit,” the company’s major product that provides back support, is an outcome of development which started in 2006. In 2019, the company started selling a new product called “Muscle Suit Every” with overwhelming improvement in cost-performance, and the company shipped over 10,000 units in total (as of March 2020).
The company established an alliance with Academia Corporation, realized a quick business cycle in which customer demands are quickly implemented in product iteration, and they took advantage of this collaboration to advance the commercialization of these products, and these efforts were highly evaluated in the program. The company is expected to make significant growth as a manufacturer of Japan-developed muscle suit robots.
- Appendix 1: List of the winners of the Award for Academic Startups 2020 Program (in Japanese)(PDF:154KB)
- Appendix 2: List of members of the screening committee of the Award for Academic Startups 2020 Program (in Japanese)(PDF:158KB)
- Appendix 3: Outline of the Award for Academic Startups 2020 (in Japanese)(PDF:239KB)
Division in Charge
Industry-University Collaboration Office, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau