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NTT Data flies to Mars for access to IoT start-ups

Steve Rogerson
December 1, 2016
IoT start-ups in Canada could get access to the Japanese market thanks to a partnership between Mars Discovery District, a Toronto-based innovation hub, and NTT Data, an IT services provider headquartered in Tokyo. The partnership aims to provide a platform for Canadian start-ups seeking to grow their market share in Japan.
NTT Data has named Mars as its first partner in a global initiative to engage technology centres around the world that scout promising new companies. Under this agreement, Mars will facilitate introductions between NTT Data and Mars' roster of ventures seeking export opportunities in Asia.
"This is Japan's first collaboration with Mars, a global centre for technology, and we are confident this initiative will help innovative businesses accelerate sales in our market," said Kotaro Zamma, head of open innovation and business incubation business strategy at NTT Data.
Under the agreement, Canadian entrepreneurs in the fintech, energy and artificial intelligence spaces will be invited to participate in a global business challenge aimed at start-ups that offer solutions to major economic problems such as population decline and aging, environmental destruction, depletion of energy resources, and the rising cost of healthcare.
In addition to partnering on its global innovation business contest – one of nine contests to be held worldwide – NTT Data will support other events throughout the year, including demo days and hackathons.
"We are actively looking to connect Canadian innovators with business opportunities and customers in Japan and other key global markets," said Salim Teja, executive vice president of ventures at Mars. "Our ventures will benefit immensely from the ability to tap into NTT Data's industry and market expertise."
The partnership was announced during a start-up showcase at NTT Data's headquarters in Tokyo, organised for Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne's trade mission to Japan and South Korea.
"Ontario recognises that innovation is the key to thriving in the increasingly competitive global economy," said Wynne. "Mars and NTT Data's work to connect innovators from Ontario and Japan will drive innovation and pave the way for the next generation of technological breakthroughs while also delivering economic growth. I am thrilled this partnership has been forged during my mission to Japan."
As a global innovation hub, Mars facilitates market access for Canadian companies, and its growing list of international partners provides connections and expert knowledge to Canadian entrepreneurs seeking to expand globally.
The Mars Discovery District in Toronto is one of the world's largest urban innovation hubs. Mars supports promising young ventures that are tackling key challenges in the health, cleantech, finance and commerce, as well as work and learning sectors. In addition to helping start-ups launch, grow and scale, the Mars community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration, commercialisation of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.
NTT Data is an IT services provider and innovation partner headquartered in Tokyo, with business operations in more than 40 countries.