• Amanogi
  • ARIN Technologies
  • Atmoph Inc.
  • Bonbouton
  • C-INK
  • CleanRobotics
  • EASEL Inc.
  • Hava Health Inc.
  • HiberSense, Inc.
  • Hoplite Power, Inc.
  • Iterate Labs Inc.
  • KAKAXI, Inc.
  • Load & Road Inc.
  • no new folk studio Inc.
  • PlayDate, Inc.
  • Proteus Motion Inc.
  • SmartShopping, Inc.
  • Space Power Technologies
  • VELDT Inc.
  • OhmniLabs, Inc.
  • mui Lab, Inc.
  • Y’s Global Vision Inc.

Customer Story

Bonbouton (New York)

We help to Iterate your hardware product at any stage, from prototype to mass production.


Bonbouton is a New York-based medical technology startup that has developed a smart insole to detect foot ulcers, a common cause of diabetes-related amputations. The smart insole with proprietary embedded graphene sensors monitors the skin’s temperature, pressure, and foot health-related data to prevent diabetic foot issues. The insole connects to a mobile app so users can continuously check the status of their foot health. If something looks off, they can connect to a doctor or caregiver immediately to pursue proper treatment.


Like many early-stage startups, Bonbouton CEO and founder Dr. Linh Le, (PhD in Chemistry), had to devote a substantial part of his time fundraising while iterating his own company. Although there were many investment opportunities available, it was difficult for him to find an investor with the right fit that would support his early entrepreneur journey while still developing his hardware product. His target was an investor providing hands-on prototyping expertise to help his startup scale faster. Working with Japanese partners, Le sees Japan as one of the top markets in health care and high precision, both relevant for his startup business.

How We Helped Bonbouton

For Le’s medtech product, prototyping was an essential tool not only to test how diabetic patients with limited mobility could interact with the insoles connected to a smartphone app, but also to come up with incentives for potential partners: doctors, clinics, and insurance companies. After meeting our managing director Nobuhiro “Nob” Seki at NY Designs (New York), Le decided to join our program in Kyoto that is focused on Japanese expertise in hardware and manufacturing supply chain. In the summer of 2016, Le spent two months in Japan with his co-workers, working alongside our team, and received valuable business experiences that have helped his company pivot its previous business concept.

In addition to the initial prototyping support, Bonbouton became one of the first portfolio companies funded by us.

What’s Next?

Backed by American, Japanese, and Vietnamese capital, Le and his team at Bonbouton are looking to continue to push their industry forward. In 2018, Bonbouton signed a technical development agreement with Gore, the leading manufacturer for innovative fabrics, with a purpose to enhance disease management, athletic performance, and everyday use. Their team is also working with global insurance company MetLife to reduce healthcare costs for diabetic foot amputations.

SmartShopping (Japan)

Bringing software and hardware together made our business grow fivefold.


SmartShopping, Inc. is a startup focused on the automation solutions for shopping and stock management. Their main services include online shopping support, such as price comparison and data-driven product recommendations for consumers. Specializing in stock management, their “SmartMat” is an IoT weight scale that provides an automation system for the management of stock and new stock orders.


We started out as a software company with the aim to develop a purchase automation service for households. Soon we discovered that the data we collected through our software solution was not sufficient for analysis and the intended automation solution. We realized that real-time used stock should be measured, and moved to tackle the challenge to develop an IoT weight scale specializing in stock management. However, our team, coming from a computer science background, had no knowledge of hardware. In the first place, we did not even know how to proceed with the product development, and how to find a company to manufacture our product. We struggled to create a prototype with another company, but the cost per unit turned out to be so high that it was not suited for mass production.

WHY Darma Tech Labs?

Our first contact with Darma Tech Labs was when we had the opportunity to meet its CEO Narimasa Makino, who became our mentor. The most memorable advice we received was: “In order to succeed as a business, you need to create a hardware prototype for mass manufacturing”. We were delighted to find that Darma Tech Labs knows the tasks and challenges of a startup well and can support us through the process. We got confident in making a prototype suited for mass manufacturing with Darma Tech Labs.


To make the optimal prototype for mass manufacturing, Darma Tech Labs found and introduced us to companies which helped to create the different parts of the prototype, such as companies manufacturing circuit boards, or product design companies. As we did not know how to find these suppliers by ourselves, this was a great help to us. In the end, we were happy with the outcome of the 3-4 companies we work with. Apart from the cost, technical aspects, functional aspects, and the professional advice from the suppliers, we were able to manufacture a prototype that not only took less time than the previous prototype, but also was of a higher quality.


After testing out the prototype, we found that besides a B2C purpose, the “SmartMat” can also be utilized for B2B. Bringing software and hardware together made our business grow fivefold. The quality of the service we offered increased and we gained a competitive advantage to software startups.
From now on, we plan to expand to make the “SmartMat” more user-friendly and increase its functionality by analysing current customer data. We have had requests from outside of Japan, so we are thinking of expanding abroad. Additionally, we look to reduce cost and improve design for daily use in households. We aim to further develop our product to aid the elderly in their troubles with shopping.


Kyoto Research Park – 93 Chudoji Awata-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8815


2910 Thomson Avenue, NYDesigns C760, Suite #19, Long Island City, NY 11101