Starting in Nagoya, Crystal aims to be in the top 10 global market capitalization ranking

February 20th, 2024

Fabio Souza, president of Crystal, MaaS startup, says, “Our goal since inception has been to become one of the top 10 companies in the world by market capitalization.” Crystal is a Nagoya-based startup founded in 2019, and its main service is Su_i, a mobility sharing service platform. The company began first using this platform to operate its own electric kickboard sharing service, and in the future, will link up with a wide variety of mobility sharing services, not only in Japan, but also abroad, aiming to create a sharing platform that can be used anytime, anywhere across the board. The electric kickboard sharing service was launched in July 2023, and the number of users has been growing rapidly, with more than 3,500 members (as of December 2023). Most members are in their 20s to 40s, but surprisingly, the service is also being used by people over 80 years old.


Fabio’s decision to start his own business was greatly influenced by his childhood experience. “In Brazil, where I was born and raised, I remember the gap between the rich and poor, so I felt a deep desire to do something about poverty and contribute to society, but to realize this, I first needed funds, so I began thinking about starting my own company,” he says and added, “I had worked in the automotive industry since I graduated, so I had knowledge of car mechanisms. I got advice from a board member of a major company, which inspired me to start my current business.”

However Fabio’s path to entrepreneurship was not smooth sailing. “I started out in a 45-year-old, one-room, four-and-a-half-tatami mat apartment that I had lived in by myself. There were many difficulties, but the most difficult was fundraising. Considering the next step of product development from the current phase of technology conversion, we needed to secure personnel with expertise, and for this we needed funds. We currently have a staff of over 50, but this is still not enough for further expansion.”

He also explained why he chose to start Crystal in Nagoya, rather than Tokyo or Osaka. “I don’t think it matters so much where you work – some of Crystal’s employees not only work from Japan but overseas, and I think it’s important to have a strong presence in the city where the mobility industry thrives. With this in mind, Nagoya is a place where the mobility industry is flourishing – there are many large companies with strong financial resources, and they are actively engaged in open innovation. I think Nagoya is the perfect place to create new business,” he said.

In addition, support from the Central Japan Startup Ecosystem has also helped Fabio. The provision of office space is especially helpful,” he says. “We currently have two offices at PRE-STATION Ai and Nagono Campus, which are well located and cost about one third the average cost. Since there are many startups here, we also have opportunities to exchange information and collaborate with them, as well as receive other kinds of support such as introductions to companies and opportunities to speak at events. For example, Su_i has started a partnership with Toyota Financial Service’s “my route” MaaS demonstration project in Aichi.”

Crystal’s goal for the future is to become one of the world’s top companies representing Japan. “The presence of Japan is decreasing rapidly, and GDP will also decrease in the future,” Fabio said. “As a representative of Nagoya, I want to contribute to raising Japan’s presence and make Crystal a company that supports the Japanese economy,” he said.

Finally, Fabio would like to point out to those considering starting a business in Nagoya. “There are many concerns when starting a business. This area is great for startups because Nagoya is close to large companies and is full of opportunities. You can be introduced to and get to know a variety of people.”

The startup ecosystem in Nagoya City has been steadily growing in recent years, but compared to other metropolitan areas, it may be said to be still in its infancy. Nevertheless, there are a variety of support programs, facilities, and networks are in place to help entrepreneurs succeed and here are some features about Nagoya’s startup ecosystem that Fabio thinks are important.

(1) Industrial diversity
While Nagoya has a strong automotive industry, more and more startups are taking on challenges in new fields these days. Entrepreneurial activity can be seen in a variety of fields, including electronics, robotics, logistics, blockchain, and health-related technologies.

(2) Support Programs and Facilities
Nagoya City has an increasing number of facilities and programs that support startups. Accelerators and incubators provide advice and funding for entrepreneurs, and communal spaces are available.

(3) Collaboration with local companies
There are examples of partnerships with major local companies, which have become important resources for startups. Mutually beneficial relationships have been established by providing innovations that meet the needs of major companies.

(4) Collaboration with educational institutions
Efforts are underway to link research results to business in cooperation with local universities and research institutions. This has promoted technological innovation and the creation of new business models.

Fabio believes Nagoya’s startup ecosystem is growing rapidly and has promising prospects for the future.

Interviewee profile

Fabio Souza

Crystal CO.,LTD, President & Chief Executive Officer


Fabio was born in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil. He joined a major Japanese automobile sales company as a mechanical engineer and worked as an advisor and then in sales. In 2017, he joined the engineering industry and worked on various issues in the automotive industry in areas such as embedded software development, 1D and 3D analysis, mainly promoting Model Base Development among others. Based on these experiences, he started his own business in June 2019 and founded Crystal. He mainly provides in-vehicle system development support, from detailed design to verification. As a new business venture, he is working on optimization, generative AI, and LLM among AI, as well as MaaS platform development.

To me, Nagoya

is an important domestic manufacturing center, an economically and culturally significant area of Japan, and the center of the Chubu region. Economically, the automotive industry is particularly important, and the city is the headquarters of companies such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Denso, Aisin, Toyota Auto Body, Toyota Boshoku, Toyoda Gosei, and Toyota Industries Corporation in Aichi Prefecture. For this reason, Nagoya is known as the center of automobile manufacturers and related industries. Nagoya also has a thriving manufacturing and commercial sector, and many companies have their headquarters or offices in the city. Culturally, the city has many historical sites, museums, shopping areas, and tourist attractions. The city blends traditional culture with modern elements and hosts a wide variety of events and festivals, making it an extremely livable city without being boring.

Personal motto

“Do what you have to do the best you can and wait for the right moment, destiny.” Do everything you can for now until there is nothing more we can do. God alone knows what to do. Don't just pray but take action yourself. Even if you make a detailed plan, it rarely goes according to the plan, so, after you have made a certain amount of plans, take action immediately. Taking action first is what I think is important.