Innovation Challenge for Carbon Management | Startup Challenge

Help companies achieving Net Zero through Carbon management solutions!


(the “Challenge”)
(the “Rules”)
This Challenge is sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Systems, Ltd. (the “Sponsor”).
The aim of these Rules is to set out the terms and conditions governing your participation in the Challenge. By registering for this Challenge, you fully and unconditionally agree to comply with these Rules. If you do not agree with any of these Rules, do not register for this Challenge and do not submit an entry.
This Challenge begins on Monday, December 27, 2021 at 12:00pm [JST] and ends on Wednesday, March 23 2022[JST]. The Challenge will be accessible 24 hours a day on the dedicated Challenge website operated by Agorize at [] (“the Challenge website”), subject to possible IT maintenance operations and malfunctions. Dates and times in these Rules refer to Japan Standard Time (JST).
Any eligible person who is registered on the Challenge website and enrolls to participate in the Challenge (“Participant” or “You”), is required to review and accept these Rules. By accessing and accepting these Rules, You: 
(i) enter into a valid and enforceable contractual relationship with Sponsor regarding participation in the Challenge. The registration and enrollment in the Challenge do not set up any subordination relationship between the Sponsor and the Participant, and
(ii) fully and unconditionally agree to comply with these Rules. Participants express their agreement by checking an online box while enrolling for the Challenge.
In case of non-respect of these Rules, the Participant will be immediately disqualified from the Challenge and no prize will be awarded.
To take part in the Challenge, we must have received your completed registration by February 6, 2022 at 11:59pm [JST] .
To register, the Participant must first have created a user account on the Challenge website, and must have truthfully and accurately completed required information, such as full name, email address, etc.
Any registration based on inaccurate, false or incomplete information will result in the Participant’s disqualification. Refusing collection, recording and use of their personal data that is strictly necessary to performing the Challenge will result in the Participant’s disqualification. The participant is solely responsible for the information he/she provides while its registration. Any intentional or non-intentional mistake, anomaly or inconsistency, regarding this information, may result in the Participant’s disqualification. Sponsor reserves the right to proceed all necessary verifications regarding the Participant’s identity, postal and/or email address.
Deletion of a Participant’s user account on the Challenge website will be deemed as a withdrawal from the Challenge. In this case, the Participant, regardless of whether the deletion results from the Participant’s personal act or not, will not participate in the Challenge, and will not obtain any compensation.
You must also have accepted the Rules as well as the Terms and Conditions of Use and the Privacy Policy, during the creation of your user account and your registration to the Challenge.
Registration for and participation in the Challenge is free, with no purchase or payment obligation.
This Challenge is open and offered solely to:
  • Startup. A business entity, regardless of its business area. Startups may be required, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, to provide proof of (i) company registration by submitting a registration certificate issued within the last three (3) months, or ongoing company registration, or any trade registry and proof ensuring the registration of the entity in the relevant country, and (ii) a valid professional insurance policy subscription. 
All the documents that may confirm the Participant’s eligibility will be required prior to awarding any prizes (e.g. identity document, student card, etc.).
This Challenge is not open to: employees and representatives of the Sponsor, Agorize employees and members of their families.
This Challenge is void in countries where it is prohibited or restricted by law.
Participation in the Challenge is Startup.
Startups. Startup Participants enter the Contest on behalf of their legal business organizations. During the registration process, Startup Participant must designate one individual who is part of the company for contact purposes with the Sponsor. This person will be responsible for registering the Startup at the Challenge and participate in the Challenge on behalf of the Startup. As a Startup participating in this Challenge, you represent and warrant to the Sponsor that such person (i) is an authorized representative of Startup and is participating in the Challenge on behalf of such company, and (ii) has obtained all necessary approvals to enter the Challenge, including all persons qualified to grant any intellectual property rights to Sponsor.
The goal of the Challenge is for Participants to submit contributions (or projects) meeting the requirements determined by the Sponsor in the Challenge brief, and that are formalized by deliverables. The brief includes information regarding various deadlines, details of the prizes, Sponsor requirements, etc. (the “Brief”). The Brief is accessible through the Challenge website.
During the Challenge, Participants may upload any documents or other materials (such as texts, presentations, videos, etc.) relating to their project to the Challenge website in response and as a solution to the Sponsor’s Challenge (the “Deliverable”).
To be eligible, Deliverables must (i) address the specific issue set out in the Brief, (ii) be in a common digital format, such as, DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPT, PPTX, ODT, MP3, MPEG, MOV, MP4, and (iii) be in English and in general terms must to comply with these Rules.

If a Deliverable cannot be downloaded, is not in the right format or is incompatible, illegible, or unintelligible, the Deliverable will be disqualified.
By submitting a Deliverable, Participants represent and warrant that:
  • The Deliverable exclusively includes contributions from a Startup
  • Otherwise, if any content from a third party has been used in the development of the Deliverable, all rights, authorizations, and agreements necessary to submit the Deliverable and grant the rights mentioned herein have been obtained. The existence of uncredited third-party contributions in the Deliverable will result in the disqualification of the Deliverable and the related Participants;
  • No other individual and/or entity is entitled to claim any rights from the use of the Deliverable; and
  • The content of the Deliverable does not and will not infringe or violate any rights of any third party or entity, including, without limitation, intellectual property rights, privacy, competition law, confidentiality, or any contractual or extracontractual right. All deliverables suspected of any law(s) and/or any third party’s right will be ineligible.
Participants are responsible for and shall bear any costs or expenses associated with preparing and submitting Deliverables. Participants assume all risk of damaged, lost, late, incomplete, invalid, incorrect or misdirected Deliverables.
Challenge Rounds. The Challenge consists of several rounds:
  • Round One. Deliverables will be accepted from Monday, December 27, 2021 at 12:00pm [JST] and end on Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 11:59pm [JST]. At the end of this Round, up to 30 Deliverables (the number may be changed at the sole discretion of Sponsor) will be selected to proceed to Round Two.
  • Round Two. Deliverables will be accepted from Monday, February 14, 2022 at 12:00pm [JST] and ends on Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 11:59pm [JST]. At the end of this Round, up to 20 winning Deliverables will be selected to proceed to the Final Round.
  • Final Round. The finalists will have to submit their Deliverable by March 20, 2022 at 11:59pm [JST].
Deliverable. If a Participant does not upload a Deliverable on the Challenge website before the deadline, this will be considered as a withdrawal from the Challenge. The Participant may not join the Challenge, and may not obtain any compensation from the Sponsor.
Selection Criteria. Deliverables will be judged according to the Selection Criteria, described below. You agree and acknowledge that the Challenge relies on your creativity, capacity, ability, and ingenuity to solve difficult problems. The Challenge does not depend, even partially, on chance or luck, and therefore should not be considered as a lottery. Under no circumstances are factors such as appearance, religion, membership in a trade union, political opinions or sexual orientation considered.
Notification to Participants. Once the selection has been completed, Participants will be notified by email, phone, or by other means, at Sponsor’s discretion, of the results of each Round. The Sponsor will be free to alter the dates on which results are released should this become necessary due to the number of projects to be assessed. The ranking decided by the final jury will be announced on the day that presentations are made and will identify the Participants that are finalists.
A. Round One
All Round One Deliverables must be received by Sponsor on or before Sunday, February 6 at 11:59pm [JST]. Deliverables must meet the specifications set out in Section 6, above, and include: 
  • Issue addressed by your project and value of the solution
  • Overview of the project and technology used
  • Addressed market (target area, market size)
  • Business model
  • Obstacles to implementation and required resources
  • Nice to have: ecosystem and stakeholders involved in the project
While the Round One, voting will proceed as follow:
“Criteria based” voting will take place from Monday, February 7, 2022 at 12:00pm [JST] to Friday, February 11, 2022 at 12:00pm [JST].
The voters Sponsor members (the “Voters”) may evaluate and select the Deliverables based on their content and the following criteria:
  • Value of the addressed issues: Is there a real need in the market to address this issue? How many people are impacted by it?
  • Potential to create a strong customer base: How big is the market you are targeting? Who (companies/individuals) make up the target segment?
  • Innovativeness of the technology and business model: How innovative is the technology used and the business model? How are they different from others?
  • Feasibility: How feasible is the solution to put into practice? Does the solution make sense financially? Will the solution be sustainable over the long term?
  • Impact: What is the scale of potential social impact? How broad is the impact? How many people will your solution reach? How significant is the impact?
Except as otherwise provided below, the up to 30 Participants (the number may be changed at the sole discretion of Sponsor) with the highest score at the end of this vote will proceed to the next round.
Any attempt to cheat, use fake profiles, use third-party applications that enable false voting linked to cheating, or engage in duplicate voting of which the Sponsor becomes aware will entitle the Sponsor to disqualify the project that received these votes, and that Project’s Participants will not receive any prize or award. The Sponsor’s decision regarding disqualification is final and its decision may not be contested by Participants involved in the project in question or by any other Participants.
Participants will be informed of the results of Round One by Friday, February 11, 2022 at 11:59pm [JST].
B. Round Two
All Round Two Deliverables must be received by Sponsor on or before Sunday, March 6 2022 at 11:59pm [JST]. Round Two Deliverables must meet the specifications set out in Section 6, above. Participants will be asked to submit a PPT/PDF presentation deck of about 20 slides or less, which should follow the same structure as Round 1. The submission should reflect the improvements based on the inputs from the mentoring phase and go into more depth.
“Criteria based” voting will take place from Monday, March 7 2022 at 12:00pm [JST] and end on Tuesday, March 15 2022 at 11:59pm [JST].
The voters, Sponsor members, (the “Voters”) may evaluate and select the Deliverables based on their content and the following criteria:
  • Value of the addressed issues: Is there a real need in the market to address this issue? How many people are impacted by it?
  • Potential to create a strong customer base: How big is the market you are targeting? Who (companies/individuals) make up the target segment?
  • Innovativeness of the technology and business model: How innovative is the technology used and the business model? How are they different from others?
  • Feasibility: How feasible is the solution to put into practice? Does the solution make sense financially? Will the solution be sustainable over the long term?
  • Impact: What is the scale of potential social impact? How broad is the impact? How many people will your solution reach? How significant is the impact?
  • Synergy with Hitachi: To what extent is your solution in line with Hitachi’s values of social innovation?
Except as otherwise provided below, the up to 20 Participants with the highest score at the end of this vote will win this vote and proceed to the next round. The results will be announced on Wednesday, March 16 2022.
C. Final Round
Participants who have been selected to participate in the Final Round will be directly notified by the Sponsor. In the event a Participant does not answer after the Sponsor has tried to contact him/her by email and by phone, the Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify this Participant. This disqualification shall not entitle the Participant to claim any kind of compensation from the Sponsor.
The Final Round consists of an oral presentation of the selected projects by the Participants. Participants must prepare a Deliverable which meets the specifications set out in Section 6 and submit it on the Challenge website by Sunday, March 20 2022 at 23:59 [JST]. If any further instructions are given by the Sponsor after the Second Round, Participants will be required to follow these instructions, including but not limited to, the number of slides and length of presentation.
At the end of the Final Round, the jury will choose the winning projects.
The prizes to be awarded to Challenge winners are subject to all of the following. They are awarded to the winners of the Challenge and are subject to compliance with the following cumulative conditions:
  • The Deliverables comply with Section 6 (“Deliverables”);
  • Each Participant of a winning project complies with Sections 9 and 11;
  • It can be proven that the winning Participants fulfil the conditions of eligibility of Section 4.
No prize will be awarded to winners who do not fulfill the above.
Subject to these Terms and Conditions, once confirmed by Sponsor, the winner(s) will receive the following:
  • Pitch to Hitachi top executives during the Final Event
  • Possibility for collaboration with Hitachi incubation representatives
  • Connection to related business units in Hitachi
  • Possibility to discuss of Proof of Concept
No assignment or transfer of prizes is allowed by a winner. If a potential winner cannot be reached, is unable to accept the prize or any portion of the prize for any reason, Sponsor shall have no further obligation to such potential winner. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes after being awarded to winners. Winners will accept the prize “as it is”. Sponsor disclaims any warranty regarding the Prizes.
In the event a Participant (a winner) cannot be reached, by email or by phone, for more than three (3) months after the first attempt to reach them was made, he/she will be deemed as having waived their right to claim the prize and will not be entitled to any prize or any kind of compensation.
If the prize as initially planned is unavailable, Sponsor will be free to substitute another prize of similar value. Any such decision is at Sponsor’s sole discretion.
Any Participant who does not fulfil the conditions of Participation as provided in the Rules during their registration and/or at any time during the Challenge will be summarily disqualified from the Challenge without prior notice and will not be entitled to any prize. In the assumption that a prize is awarded to a Participant who does not meet the conditions of Participation when registering or throughout the duration of the Challenge, Sponsor reserves the right to require the Participant to return the awarded prize.
The Participant acknowledges and consents that the Sponsor may communicate, throughout the world and for the duration of the Challenge and for a period of one (1) year following the Final Round, using the Challenge for publicity, including for the Sponsor’s advertising or other marketing purposes, by any means and through any format (website, advertising banners, social networks, newsletter, press release) now known or unknown to date, free of charge or for a consideration.
In particular, you consent to the usage, by the Sponsor, of your name and surname of your representative and management team, name of your corporation, logo, location of the corporation and other information of the corporation that you submit with your Deliverables as well as the content of your Deliverables relating to the Challenge.
As an example, each Participant authorizes the Sponsor to use the photographs taken during the Final to disseminate them via any communication medium.
Such use does not entitle the winner to any other payment than the Prize he/she received. The Sponsor agrees to cease using the aforementioned elements in connection with the Participant at the end of the aforementioned period.
Sponsor has no obligation to keep the information contained in the Deliverables confidential. In general terms, when submitting any Deliverables, the Participants understand, agree and accept that any information contained therein may be publicly disclosed by the Sponsor.
If you are a prize winner, Sponsor may request that you execute a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement for the purpose of entering into negotiations regarding the further development of your project, as described in your Deliverable. Such confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement will be directed to your Deliverable and all intellectual property that it may contain.

Furthermore, Participants acknowledge that Sponsor may currently or in the future be developing information internally, or receiving information from other parties, that is similar to the information contained in any of the projects. Accordingly, nothing herein shall prohibit Sponsor from independently acquiring, developing, or having developed for it, products, concepts, systems, services, or techniques that are similar to or compete with the products, concepts, systems or techniques contemplated by or embodied in any Deliverable.
The Participants recognize that other Participants, individuals or entities may have provided Sponsor or others, or made public, or may in the future submit, or make public, content that is the same or similar to any piece of information contained in any of the projects. Hence, the Participants acknowledge, agree and accept that Sponsor shall have the right to use such same or similar materials, and that the Participants will not be entitled to any compensation arising from Sponsor’s use of such materials.
Definitions. For the purposes of this section,
- "Intellectual Property Rights" refers to any copyright or other rights over a brand, a design or a model, a patent and, more generally, any element, (including trade secrets and know-how), that may be protected by national and/or international laws or conventions on intellectual property (“Intellectual Property Rights”)
- “Previous Rights” refer to any Intellectual Property Rights and/or any associated know-how held by the Participants before the start date of the Challenge
- “Creations” refer to any software (including source and object code software), database, technical specifications, text, design, model, information, method, process or product, as well as any resulting elements and/or processes to be protected according to national and/or international laws or conventions on intellectual property developed by any Participant as a part of any submitted deliverable throughout the Challenge (“Creations”).
Warranty of non-infringement. When submitting any Deliverable, at any stage of the Challenge, each Participant guarantees to Sponsor that he/she is the co/owner and/or co/holder of the Intellectual Property Rights regarding all or part of the Creations contained in the Deliverables submitted at any stage of the Challenge, and that he/she has obtained all rights and permissions regarding all pre-existing Creations and any elements of the Deliverables for which he/she does not hold the relevant rights.
Each Participant guarantees (i) that his/her contribution is original and unprecedented; (ii) that it do not infringe upon the copyright or any Intellectual Property Rights of any third party; (iii) that all the elements of which his/her submissions are formed, as well as all pieces of contributions and information communicated in the submission presentation documents are accurate, reliable and complete; and (iv) that the submission of the relevant Deliverables does not constitute an act of unfair competition of any kind.
It is compulsory for Participants to indicate the source of Previous Rights or any pre-existing Creations of whichever nature and on whichever support that are included in any submitted deliverable.
Liability. Sponsor cannot be held liable for any infringement of the above provisions by Participants. Each Participant shall indemnify Sponsor against any disturbance, action, claim, opposition and demand or eviction attempt from any third party in connection with any Creation in the Deliverables (Intellectual Property Rights included).
Reservation of Rights. By submitting a Deliverable and participating in this Challenge, Participants are not granting the Sponsor any rights to any Intellectual Property Rights which are included in, or constitute all or part of the Deliverable. Participants acknowledge and confirm that by submitting a Deliverable, any information contained therein shall be regarded as publicly disclosed, and Participants are not eligible to obtain any Intellectual Property Rights which require secrecy (including patent, trade secret and know-how) over such information.
Tentative License for Evaluation and Promotion. By taking part in the Challenge, Participants accept to grant Sponsor a license regarding the Creations as a component of the Deliverable and the Deliverable itself (including copyright) for a period of six (6) months following the Final Round of the Challenge for the purpose of evaluation, promotion and advertisement.
The license is non-exclusive, worldwide, transferable within the Sponsor’s group of enterprises and royalty free. This licence shall include the right to reproduce (wholly or in part), display (wholly or in part), modify, disseminate, translate and any other use (within the purpose stipulated herein) any elements which are part of the Creations, as well as any Previous Rights which reveals necessary for the appropriate enjoyment of the described licence.
Exclusive Option. By accepting these Rules, Participants understand that there is the possibility for winners of the Challenge to enter in negotiation with the Sponsor regarding the creation of an exclusive license after the Challenge to ensure their smooth collaboration. If both parties agree, the Sponsor will be granted an exclusive license on all or part of the Intellectual Property rights included in any of the Deliverables and to the Creations submitted during the Challenge.
Thus, Participants agree that the Sponsor may enter into this good faith discussion with the Participant, and the Participant confirms intention to enter into this discussion regarding amicable license for the collaboration if the Sponsor wishes to do so (this option to initiating the discussion shall called “Option.“)
This Option is subject to the following and cumulative conditions: 
  • the Sponsor will benefit from an Option for a duration of six (6) months from the date of the announcement of Challenge winners;
  • it is understood that any affiliates and/or subsidiaries of the Sponsor may exercise this Option;
  • the Sponsor shall notify the Participant in writing of its intention to exercise the Option;
  • negotiations will be exercised based on good faith between the involved parties.;
Update of the Rules. The Sponsor reserves the right to amend these Rules at any time, including the Challenge duration in case of operational imperatives, without prior notice to Participants regarding the enforcement or the validity of these amendments. Participants are encouraged to consult these Rules regularly. Participants expressly waive all claims or disputes related to any amendment to these Rules by the Sponsor.
Should any paragraph of these Rules be declared or judged illegal, unenforceable or void by a court decision, the paragraph in question will be considered null and void, but all other unaffected paragraphs will be enforced within the limits of the law.
Challenge Cancellation or Suspension. The Sponsor reserves the right in its discretion, to (i) cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Challenge and these Rules, for any reason, at any time and without any liability, and (ii) to limit or restrict participation in the Challenge. The Sponsor will not be held liable for the modification, cancellation or suspension of the Challenge and no compensation or remuneration will be due to the Participants.
The Sponsor will in no way be held liable in the event of breakdown or failure, regardless of the cause, of any telecommunications network used that causes Participants difficulty in or prevents Participants from identifying themselves on or gaining access to the Challenge website.
Participants agree that company, its affiliates and all of their respective officers, directors, employees, contractors, representatives and agents (“released parties”) will have no liability whatsoever for, and will be released and held harmless by participants for any claims, liabilities, or causes of action of any kind or nature for any injury, loss or damages of any kind including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential or punitive damages to persons, including without limitation disability or death. Without limiting the foregoing, everything on the challenge website and in connection with the challenge is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Some jurisdictions may not allow the limitations or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages or exclusion of implied warranties, in which case such limitation or exclusion shall apply only to the extent permitted by the law in the relevant jurisdiction.
Participation in the Challenge implies acknowledgment and acceptance of the characteristics, limits, and risks of the internet and related technologies, particularly with regards to performance, response time, security of software and computer equipment against various potential attacks, such as viruses, logic bombs or Trojans, and loss or misuse of data. As a result, the Sponsor will not be held liable in any way for any damage incurred by Participants arising from these characteristics, limits and risks, which Participants accept by registering and taking part in the Challenge.
The Sponsor will not, in any case, be held liable for damages resulting from faults with or delays in the submission of deliverables by Participants, including refusal to accept these deliverables as a consequence of their submission outside the deadlines set out in the Rules, from faults with or delays to the sending of any emails by the Participant sent as part of the Challenge, or from any alterations made to the deliverables independently of the Sponsor.
The Sponsor will not, in any case, be held liable for damages resulting from services provided by a third party relating to the prizes.
The Sponsor will not be held liable for the consequences of a Participant’s disqualification from the Challenge as a result of their violation of these Rules.
Participation in the Challenge requires the communication of the Participant's personal data ("Personal Data").
Participant’s personal data is subject to processing within the meaning of the regulations on the protection of personal data (The EU 2016/679 General Data Protection Regulation and the Council of 27 April 2016, known as GDPR) for which the Sponsor defines the purposes and means and is, as such, “Data controller” within the meaning of the GDPR.
The purposes of the processing are:
  • To meet the organization of the challenge needs
  • To organize the intermediation between the Participant and the Sponsor, to ensure identification, communication and preservation of the exchanges with the Participant
In accordance with the provisions of the GDPR, the Sponsor undertakes to implement organizational and technical security measures in order to protect all Participant’s Personal Data. The Sponsor undertakes to allow the exercise of their rights from GDPR.
Any Participant’s claims arising from the Challenge should be addressed no later than thirty (30) days following the Challenge end date to hideaki.wakabayashi.fp(@) All claims must include: (i) the Participant’s complete contact details (name, address, email address and phone); (ii) the name of the Challenge; and (iii) a clear and detailed explanation for the claim.
The Challenge and any action related thereto shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Japan.
In case of persistent litigation beyond a period of fifteen (15) days after the Participant has filed a claim, the Sponsor and the Participant undertake to submit their dispute to an amicable conciliation prior to any legal proceedings. The party wishing to initiate conciliation shall inform the other party by means of a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt in which it will inform of its intentions and will explain the cause. If no agreement is reached between the parties within thirty (30) days after receipt of the registered letter, the parties regain their freedom of action.
In case of persistent disagreement on the application or interpretation of the Rules, and in the absence of an amicable settlement, any dispute that may arise between the parties, will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tokyo District Court of Japan to which the parties expressly grant jurisdiction, even in the case of multiple defendants, in summary proceedings, appeal by guarantee or by motion.