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Next Level DeepTech: Latvia ~Agri-Tech & Advanced Materials~


On April 21, 2023, Plug and Play Japan held the 2nd edition of Global DeepTech Pitch Event: “Next Level DeepTech”, with the purpose to introduce DeepTech startups which have cutting-edge technology in various fields.

Event Overview

Plug and Play believe this pitch opportunity is an important key for DeepTech startups to find collaboration opportunities with industrial players or large corporations globally, in order to further scale-up and be able to solve social and environmental issues.

In this 2nd edition of “Next Level DeepTech” event, we collaborated with Commercialization Reactor. The event featured 8 great Agri/Food Tech and Advanced Materials startups, as well as keynote speakers of industry players presenting their innovation initiatives in Japan and Latvia.

This event was held as a part of “DeepTech Atelier“, a Baltics’ largest deep tech industry event organized by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and Commercialization Reactor. It is a two-day conference on various deeptech topics including quantum, optical fiber, sensors, etc.


  1. Welcome Remarks from Plug and Play Japan & Commercialization Reactor
  2. Keynote Speech #1 : Startups as growth enablers for established companies – Best practices from INAM’s ecosystem
  3. Startup pitch session: Latvia
  4. Keynote Speech #2 : Open Innovation Activities of Asahi Kasei and Expectations for Startups
  5. Startup pitch session: Japan
  6. Closing

Keynote Speech #1: “Startups as growth enablers for established companies - Best practices from INAM’s ecosystem”

Ferdinand Bartels, Head of the Executive Board of INAM, General Manager at SPECS Surface Nano Analysis GmbH


Let me take us through this journey by starting with what is actually the typical reason for startups to fail. Here is a list of what our team has come up with the most reasons for companies to fail. I’d like to put your attention to the bottom three items here, “not the right team” 23%, “ran out of cash” 29%, “No market need” with almost 30% on it. Is it the right team? What are the financial needs? Do the expectations meet reality? Is there a good business plan in place that addresses the financial needs? Because at the very end, acceleration of any innovative ideas depends on money very often.

(Image by INAM)

What does it take to be successful for a startup? It takes a technology and IP base, which has to be rock solid, proven and safe. Also, It takes a well rounded team, it takes an entrepreneurial spirit, and it takes a willingness to learn. So teams have to accept that people are in the field that have more experience and they need to accept advice. For the many years I’ve been doing this, there’s a significant portion of companies who are slower and less successful than they could be simply because they haven’t put enough attention into the team issues of their startup. Also, it needs a market and investors that are investing in it.

(Image by INAM)

That will be my part. You can find the website of INAM and feel free to contact me anytime, thank you so much.

Keynote Speech #2: “Open Innovation Activities of Asahi Kasei and Expectations for Startups”

Masa Morizumi, Mobility & Industrial SBU, Innovation Leader from Asahi Kasei


Our CVC started in 2008, in Menlo Park, which is located in California, Silicon Valley, and we expanded our office to Boston, Düsseldorf and Shanghai. This month, we opened a new office in Tokyo. We have a 95 million US dollar budget for three years from 2022 to 2024. Our CVC mission is to create a new business with startups and focus areas for materials, healthcare, and homes.

(Image by Asahi Kasei)

I would like to announce that we have opened a new fund from this April. This fund is focused on carbon neutrality such as hydrogen, energy storage, carbon management and Bio-based chemicals and so on. This fund’s budget is 100 million US dollars for the next five years.

(Image by Asahi Kasei)

Lastly, I would like to share a unique activity — a concept car project called AKXY. In the AKXY project, we have collaborated with several startups to expand our automotive business.

(Image by Asahi Kasei)

This is a concept car we released last year. We installed 17 products and technologies including two startup technologies, increasing the value of mobility related to sustainability, satisfaction and society. One of the startups we collaborate is called Loomia based in the US and developing flexible heating textiles. Sage in the middle is our group company which we acquired in 2017 and produces car seat fabric. We combine technology from Sage and Lumia together to develop a high design seat in this concept car. The second startup is from one of our CVC portfolio — ultrasense, which is based in the US and develops touch sensors. We installed their sense technology to control doors. All of these concept cars we developed will be brought to global exhibitions, such as CES for promoting and marketing.

We have a lot of touchpoints to collaborate with startups such as corporate venture capital investment, R&D, mass production, sales marketing, and experts in broad technologies. If you are interested in our company, please feel free to contact us.

Highlight: Startup Pitch Session

Eight Deeptech startups from Latvia and Japan pitched at this event.


Adianano is operating in the field of nanomaterials manufacturing and inventing a new approach to developing high-quality nanosilicon and low-layer graphene. This technology can significantly increase the energy density of lithium-ion batteries by increasing the capacity of the negative electrode from 650 to 1000 mAh with the help of nanosilicon and graphene composite materials.

Location: Latvia

(Image by Adianano)

3D Strong LLC 

3D Strong offers carbon nanotube (CNT) 3D printing materials, producing CNT-based additives that significantly increase the mechanical strength and durability of 3D printed materials, add conductivity, remove static properties, and give the final product unique properties. They have 25 years of experience and patented technology to produce all types of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with extremely high purity (99.5%) and stable properties.

Location: Latvia

(Image by 3D Strong)

Conelum Biotech 

Conelum Biotech develops rapid microbial diagnostic tests for food and beverage manufacturers. The molecular biological method, based on proprietary EloKIT technology, eliminates the culture process from microbiological diagnosis. For food companies, this provides an opportunity to minimize production risks and avoid economic losses by reducing the time required for microbiological diagnosis.


(Image by Conelum Biotech)


Eloguim offers probiotic solutions for the broiler business. As the developer of a probiotic platform for the poultry broiler industry, we enable our customers to increase their revenue by providing probiotic feed additives that significantly increase broiler weight and eliminate pathogens without the use of antibiotics.


(Image by Eloguim)

3DC Inc.

3DC is a startup from Tohoku University offering Graphene Mesosponge (GMS), a new carbon material that will accelerate the evolution of batteries. GMS has a sponge-like three-dimensional structure with a thickness of almost one atom of carbon. It is similar to graphene, and is the first in the world to solve durability issues. It is also more flexible than ordinary graphene, which not only allows structural changes in battery electrodes, but also enables a wide range of potential applications.

Location: Japan

(Image by 3DC)

Microwave Chemical Co., Ltd.

Microwave Chemical is developing plastic chemical recycling technologies such as pyrolysis and depolymerization using microwaves. The company has developed a unique technology that utilizes microwave. Based on its proprietary platform, the company builds and provides optimal solutions through joint development and engineering of tailor-made microwave reactions and facilities that meet the challenges of a wide range of industries.

Location: Japan

(Image by Microwave Chemical)

Mebiol Inc.

Mebiol grows crops on a film with nano-sized holes that allow only the water and nutrients necessary for crop growth to pass through. As a fabless company focused on research and development, it has applied its membrane and hydrogel technologies developed for medical use to agriculture and has patented a sustainable agriculture technology “Imec® ( Film Farming )” that produces safe and nutritious agricultural products in over 120 countries.

Location: Japan

(Image by Mebiol)

PtBio Inc. 

 PtBio aims to realize a bioeconomy society through genome editing and bioinformatics technology. Their platform constructs three keys, “to obtain genome information on all living organisms, including non-model organisms whose genome information has not yet been revealed,” “to identify genes related to biological functions that contribute to solving social needs,” and “to improve functions through genome editing”. They are working in partnership with business partners in various industries to become a platform that can design biofunctions for specific needs.

Location: Japan

(Image by PtBio)

Future Initiatives

Plug and Play Japan plans to hold regular Next Level Deeptech pitch events as a new initiative to promote global collaboration in DeepTech. We plan to expand the event to Taiwan and Hong Kong in the future. Stay tuned!

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