Todai SFP(English)

Students only

Hosted by UTokyo

A “development” program that provides students interested in developing new products, with financial funding and space and equipment.

Table of Contents

    Basic Information

    Official Name

    東京大学 (University of Tokyo) Summer Founders Program

    Official Website

    https://www.ducr.u-tokyo.ac.jp/activity/venture/sfp.html

    Eligibility

    See overview column

    Duration

    Application opens in summer/ Duration of the program itself is about 2 months

    Venue

    HONGO TECH GARAGE (Pre-COVID)

    How to Apply

    Passing selection via application documents and interview

    Selection

    Yes, application required

    Fee

    No participation required

    Overview

    ◯Overview
    The program was founded keeping in mind the idea that “there should always be a hub where university students can work on product development”. Todai SFP is a program designed to support students who develop products through numerous trial-and-errors by providing financial support with no strings attached and space for product development.

    ◯Things the Program Provides
    ・Environment for product development at HONGO TECH GARAGE (Check this website for specific tools offered)
    ・Counseling
    ・Aids with clouds environments
    ・Competitive and like-minded friends
    ・Funds during the program (Approximately ¥30,000-300,000)


    ◯Target audience and Conditions for Application
    The conditions that the ideas by the applying teams must meet are as follows:
    ・Must include a tech element
    ・Must have a novelty that no one has ever heard of before.
    ・Must have a concrete idea of the users who will use the product.
    ・Must be able to create a prototype within a certain period of time.
    (It does not matter whether the idea is commercially viable or not, or whether it is in line with current trends.)
    ・Must have not yet started a business with the proposed concept

    The detailed requirements for teams are as follows
    ・Have at least one engineer.
    ・The project leader must be a current student at the University of Tokyo (undergraduate, master's, or doctoral).
    ・The project leader must be a current student at the University of Tokyo (undergraduate, master's, doctoral).


    ◯Activity
    Use of the HONGO TECH GARAGE (Possible under the COVID-19 situation depending on the circumstance)
    Weekly meeting
    Counseling every two weeks
    Participation in mid-term presentation and final presentation (At least one person per team) (Done online during COVID, done in-person pre-COVID)


    ◯Application Process
    Selection through application documents and interview (Next round of selection is summer of 2022)
    In 2021, the application deadline was 7/6
    Interview consists of a 5 minute explanation of the project and a 15 minute conversation. (About 20 minutes in total)
    Explanatory documents such as sketches and prototypes are not mandatory but will be helpful

    Past Examples

    Past examples include
    ・Development of design support tools for over-parsing
    ・A service that recommends the order in which multiple papers should be read.
    ・A non-coding platform for machine learning
    ・Hands-free tablet stand with automatic tracking
    etc...
    (Please refer to "Past Achievements" on SFP's official website for concrete examples of ideas)

    What you can learn

    ・​​Learn how to create what users want through the process of interviewing potential users and making revisions based on feedback.
    ・You can make friends with whom you can consult when you have problems in development.

    Voices of Participants

    ◯Pros (You can…)
    ・Learn important startup skills through practice.
    ・Receive support in terms of funding, location, and tools.
    ・Easy access to mentors
    ・Be inspired by your peers who have diverse goals
    ・Receive feedback from investors and company representatives


    △Cons (Challenges)
    ・It is necessary to have some ideas solidified before applying.
    ・Long hours of activity, you need to maintain motivation by yourself.
    ・There are few face-to-face activities in the Corona disaster, making smooth team building difficult.
    ・It is difficult to build a smooth team because there are few face-to-face activities due to the corona disaster.

    Recommended for those

    ・People who love to develop products
    ・People who would love to develop products that are applicable and can be used by people
    ・People who love to communicate with others

    Not recommended for those

    ・People who want to learn business and/or consulting
    ・People who are only interested in starting up a business and not interested in developing products
    ・People who want to learn developing products from zero (You need to have some kind of ideas what you want to develop prior to the application)

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