Back to Contents of Issue: June 2001

The "five hot startups" we picked in September 2000 turned out to be, well, hot. And the high-tech sushi joint we covered in March has added a new touch.

sushiIn March we told you about Osaka-based restaurant chain Kura Sushi's automated billing system (see "High-Tech Sushi," page 7, March 2001). They've recently outdone themselves. One outlet now has computer touch-screens at each table. Touch a fish you want to eat and an order goes to the counter. Don't know what your favorite fish looks like? Not to worry. The screen also offers fish lessons. You get smarter as you eat!

Last year we showed you "Five Hot Startups" (page 36, September 2000). We had confidence in the picks, but couldn't predict what fate had in store for the ventures. Mostly good things, it turns out (at least so far). Wireless/wireline security provider Open Loop went public on Nasdaq Japan in early March; its share price promptly shot up six-fold (in a bear market). Groupware venture Cybozu IPOd (on Mothers), as did wireless Web content play Cybird (on the OTC). XML software developer Infoteria found shelter under the wing of Dream Incubator, which will support Infoteria's operations -- including customer base development -- in exchange for stock. DSL play eAccess is still toughing it out against NTT (see the "Mission Impossible For Broadband Providers?" on page 48). Of course, with over $40 million in backing from the likes of Nippon Insurance, Fuji Bank, Mitsubishi Bank Capital, Sycamore, and Orix, eAccess has plenty of firepower.

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