Fukuoka Startup Ecosystem

Fukuoka has long been a gateway to mainland Asia, a hub for exchanges of culture since ancient times. The city has become an attractive startup hub for international and local businesses. The city overperforms in industries like Hardware & IoT, Software & Data, and Social & Leisure.

Some key statistics about Fukuoka:

1. The business opening rate is 6.3%, the highest number in Japan for the last four years (October 2022).

2. More than 540 companies launched in Fukuoka in 10 years, employing approximately 18,000 people (October 2022).

3. Fukuoka ranked as the top city people want to live in Japan for three consecutive years (September 2022).

4. Fukuoka has the second-highest startup visa applications all over in Japan.

5. Fukuoka Business District has the third lowest rental rate for office buildings among the metropolises of Japan (May 2019).

The advancements in Fukuoka grab the attention of global giants like Google. In 2021, Google started preparing to open a new office in Tenjin District. Mitsubishi Chemical Group also has an R&D Center in Fukuoka.

Accenture also has an intelligent operations center in Fukuoka, which helps enterprise clients spur innovation. Another future investment will be Deloitte’s Q Campus to help companies and public agencies to promote digital transformation in Fukuoka. enter image description here

Young Talent Pool

Young Talent

Fukuoka has the third city with the highest ratio of students in Japan, with a rate of 7.05% (2019). Also, it has the highest number of schools (junior colleges, universities, technical colleges, and vocational schools) among Japanese metropolises. The number of international students in the city totaled 13,669 in 2019. It is an attractive location for young people, as 97% of people think it is easy to live in Fukuoka. It is no surprise that the city excels in software & data fields since they have an engineer-friendly initiative. Engineer Cafe is an organization that brings computer engineers from the public and private sectors together. Engineers can attend various events covering technical topics.


Fukuoka is a great place to locate a startup with international goals. Accessing the international airport within 5 minutes is a benefit that will save a lot of time. Internal commuting is also less time-consuming in the city. It takes approximately 38 minutes to commute on weekdays. Moreover, Fukuoka is leading the world cities in the convenience of commuting. Additionally, Shanghai and Seoul are closer to Fukuoka in comparison to Tokyo.

Notable Startups

Nulab, Inc. is a web service provider with four distinct products to increase team productivity. Backlog is a project management tool, Cacoo is a real-time diagramming tool, Typetalk is a tool for team chats, and Nulab pass provides enterprise-grade security. They raised US$ 887,000 from East Ventures in the funding round in 2017.

Kyulux is an R&D and manufacturing company for organic electroluminescence (organic EL) material. In the Series-B round in 2021, the company raised $US 34.3 million.

IQPS is a space engineering company that produces Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to capture near real-time searches of the world.

YAMAP is an app that can track and log outdoor activities to build an outdoor journal. In the Series B round, the company raised $US 11 million with the participation of 14 venture capital firms.

Authentic Japan is the producer of the transmitter, Koko Heli, for the early detection of the missing person.

Gogolook Co, Ltd has a wholly owned subsidiary in Fukuoka. As a mobile app development company, their product Whoscall identifies fraudulent and inconvenient phone calls. Cathay Sustainable Private Equity Fund made an undisclosed investment in the startup in return for a 30% stake in 2019.

Co-working Spaces


WeWork Daimyo is located in the trendy district of Daimyo, offering amenities like meeting rooms, common areas, cleaning services, onsite staff, and professional events.

WeWork Gates is located in the business hub of Fukuoka, Hakata-Ku. Professionals can benefit from Standard WeWork amenities, and additionally, this building has a mothers" room, event space, parking, bicycle storage, and recreational games.

Yoka Lab Tenjin is located near Tenjin station. The space is open between 9:00 AM - 23:00 PM, from Monday to Saturday. Professionals can choose to work in a private office, dedicated desk, or hot desk plan.

Spaces Hakata Ekimae has a selection of office space, meeting rooms, dedicated desks, and virtual office plans. The coworking plan gives an opportunity to work from 3,000 Spaces locations worldwide.

Garraway F is based in Tenjin and has coworking spaces and event venues. It is open to students, entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and office workers via check-in with the mobile app.

SALT is a coworking space with an ocean view. It is in Nishi Ku, where high-tech shopping and leisure areas with waterfront parks and pier-side restaurants are located. You can choose to work from a hot desk, a dedicated desk, or private office space.

Space Q is inside the main station Hakata Station. The space has multilingual staff and a language school operated by a partner. You can choose a plan for private space, a free seat plan, or a learning plan.

Engineer Cafe is a support facility for engineer-friendly city initiative. In addition to classic coworking space facilities, engineers can rent professional equipment and receive consultation from the experts.

Notable Organizations

Global Startup Center is designed for foreign founders. The center provides translation of documents. More importantly, it gives comprehensive startup support and a network to establish a business in Fukuoka.

Fukuoka Detective Council(FDC) is a Think & Do tank that brings together industry, academia, government, and the private sector to formulate and promote regional growth strategies to create a new vision for Fukuoka’s future and to strengthen the region’s international competitiveness. With the Fukuoka metropolitan area as its core, FDC promotes projects with business potential in cooperation with Kyushu and neighboring Asian regions.

JETRO Fukuoka: Since 2013, JETRO has helped thousands of Japanese startups scale globally. We support 700+ Japanese startups per year through our 15 different acceleration programs, and 3,000+ through mentoring.

Robert T.Huang Entrepreneurship center of Kyushu University(QREC) provides both undergraduate and graduate students at Kyushu University with systematic, pragmatic, and interdisciplinary education concerning entrepreneurship, while carrying out R & D activities on entrepreneurship in collaboration with leading national and international universities and research institutes that are highly recognized in terms of entrepreneurship education.

MYOJOWARAKU is the festival for the purpose of “gather tech and creative people“ which start from 2011. We create the environment to produce “technology inspired by creative and which can rock your sense “ not just inorganic technology. It’s is seems that “there is no connection between technology and art or creativity”, but we believe that to people’s touch technology must be attractive.


Fukuoka Growth Next has three different programs to incubate and accelerate startups. The Jump Start program covers pre-seed, seed, and early-stage seminars. The Growth Project program brings entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, and PR people together to unleash future collaboration opportunities. Lastly, the accelerator program assigns mentors to startups and gives them a chance to pitch their ideas.

Startup GoGo is an accelerator based in Fukuoka.In addition to hosting the “StartupGo!Go!” pitch event, which started in 2014, the acceleration program “UPDRAFT”, and the open innovation project “Partner Matching Program”, they also support open innovation programs conducted by business companies, programs for overseas startups to expand into Japan such as Taiwan and Korea, and various startup events.

Digital Garage established “Open Network Lab (Onlab)” in 2010 as Japan’s first accelerator program. In Fukuoka, they are holding Open Network Lab FUKUOKA for major companies and startups to create business through open innovation.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLC is one of the largest audit firms in Japan. The Venture Support Team in Fukuoka aims to build a local innovation ecosystem for the entire Kyushu region and to revitalize the local economy by supporting venture companies.

Main Strengths of the Fukuoka Startup Ecosystem
    • Office rent in Yokohama is around 40% cheaper than in Tokyo.

    • One of the most international cities in Japan with the presence of global companies and startups.

    • High concentration of cutting edge research and development facilities.

    • Convenient location near major economic hubs in Japan and international airports.

    • Yokohama is the fourth-best city in all of Asia in terms of quality of living according to Mercer.

Ecosystem Milestones

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