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July 01, 2015

Sony Further Accelerates its New Business Creation Efforts:
Launches the "First Flight™" Platform for Crowdfunding and E-Commerce

Tokyo, Japan, July 1, 2015 - Sony Corporation ("Sony") has been proactively developing and launching businesses and products based on unique concepts, with the aim of generating new customer value. At the same time, in order to continue delivering experiences that move customers emotionally through innovation, Sony has been establishing an internal framework for supporting and fostering new business and product creation that goes beyond existing organizational boundaries. Sony's Seed Acceleration Program, which seeks to fast-track promising new business ideas proposed by Sony employees into full-fledged businesses, is an important part of this effort.

Sony today announced "First Flight," the latest initiative from the Seed Acceleration Program. First Flight is a new online platform providing an extensive suite of services from crowdfunding to e-commerce in Japan. First Flight is intended to deliver experiences that move people emotionally through innovation. It will enable each start-up and their customers to share their ideas and inspiration ("co-vision"), and then jointly bring those ideas to fruition ("co-creation") through direct and interactive communication.
Outline of First Flight's vision:
  • Establish a platform for both crowdfunding and e-commerce
  • Preview new business proposals still in the planning phases
  • Facilitate ongoing dialogue with customers from initial development through to market introduction, by seamlessly connecting each phase from previewing and crowd funding, to e-commerce
  • Provide a key touch-point between early adopters keen to utilize new products or services and support new business projects

Through the First Flight platform, Sony will support the launch and growth of new business ventures. The platform will give nascent projects the opportunity to ascertain the actual needs of the market; realize a co-creation model of product development and improvement through direct dialogue with customers; and ensure timely sales operations that are also optimal for their business size.
  • First Flight's vision

Comment from Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO, Sony Corporation

"Sony's innovation is ingrained in the company's founding spirit of `doing what has never been done before.' Nothing embodies this spirit more than passionate entrepreneurs who give shape to their ground-breaking ideas and introduce them to the world, without fear of failure. The First Flight platform and other Seed Acceleration Program initiatives accelerate and optimize this process. Sony itself originated as a start-up, and through the Seed Acceleration Program we are challenging ourselves to return to our entrepreneurial roots. At Sony we will continue to explore ways of delivering new, emotionally compelling experiences and enhanced customer value."

Products available on First Flight

On July 1st, two new business projects nurtured within Sony will officially launch in the Japanese market via First Flight: firstly sales of MESH™ initial line-up, a smart DIY kit that "turns anyone into an inventor," and also pre-orders for "FES Watch," the inaugural product from Fashion Entertainments™, a project that merges technology with fashion. July 1st will also mark the unveiling of the "HUIS™ REMOTE CONTROLLER," on First Flight. This project, which features an e-paper based remote controller that "adapts to your needs," has passed the first round of Seed Acceleration Program auditions and is currently in the launch preparation stage. Its crowdfunding campaign is scheduled to run for approximately six weeks on First Flight.
MESH: Smart DIY kit
Enables users to bring their ideas to life and digitally customize their surrounding environment via MESH's intuitive control interface and the various functions of the electronic "tags."
FES Watch: A watch that changes style
A flat, stylish wrist watch whose entire surface is composed of e-paper. Its customizable design allows users to choose among 24 different patterns to fit their attire and mood.
HUIS REMOTE CONTROLLER: Remote controller that adapts to your needs
An e-paper based remote controller. Enables easy control of a multitude of household electronic devices, and can be customized to display only the buttons of the user's choice.
* First Flight's E-commerce and payment systems utilizes Yahoo Japan Corporation's Yahoo! JAPAN ID, Yahoo! Wallet FastPay and Yahoo! Shopping.
* First Flight was created with cooperation from Yahoo Japan Corporation, who resonated with Sony's vision for the platform.
* Sony, First Flight, MESH, Fashion Entertainments, and HUIS, as well as their logos, are trademarks of Sony Corporation.
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