• Pirika aims to solve environmental problems with the power of science and technology

    Pirika, Inc. is a start-up created in 2011 in the research facilities of Kyoto University. We aim to solve environmental problems with the power of science and technology. Our first step is to solve the global litter problem -- for which no effective solution has been found and which affects everyone in the world.

  • How You Can Help Us

    Pirika is tackling the global litter problem, which poses a significant threat to our environment. We need your help to eliminate litter from the world.

    Individuals

    You can help by using the free smartphone app Pirika to pick up litter in your neighborhood. Pirika, used in 77 countries, is the most widely-used anti-litter smartphone app in the world.

    Companies

    Our free Pirika program for companies can provide you with data visualization services to evaluate your corporate litter clean-up efforts and help with your PR. We are open to collaboration, including on advertisement, that leverages our technology.

    Government

    We can help you energize your clean-up efforts using the power of SNS and provide you with litter research and other related consulting services. We have worked with Fukui Prefecture, Minato Ward (Tokyo), Meguro Ward (Tokyo), Kawasaki City (Kanagawa) and Maebashi City (Gunma Prefecture).

    Non-profit and other organizations

    Our free program for organizations can provide you with data visualization services to evaluate your litter clean-up efforts. We are also looking for organizations interested in collaborating with us on litter research.

    Researchers

    We are looking for researchers who are researching solutions to eliminate litter using the data we generate. Please visit here for detail.

  • Our Services

    Eliminate litter from the world using the power of SNS

    Pirika is the most widely used anti-litter smartphone app, and has over 40,000 individual users and over 300 corporate, government and other organizational users, across 77 countries. Over 60 million pieces of litter have been picked up through Pirika. Please visit here for detail.

    Design litterless cities using artificial intelligence

    Takanome is an AI-based program that maps and measures litter using visual recognition technology. We aim to contribute to designing litterless cities by evaluating anti-litter efforts with our cutting-edge research and providing other consulting services related to urban development. Please visit here for detail.

  • Support Pirika

    Pirika is supported by a large number of companies, governments and other organizations. You can help us in many ways by advertising through Pirika, collaborating with us on clean-up campaigns, providing training and lecture opportunities to us, and undertaking joint research projects. Please contact us if your organization would like to support us.

  • The Pirika Story (I)

    How traveling around the world made me wake up to the problem of litter

    In 2010, I was a graduate student thinking hard about how to tackle environmental problems, which was something I had been thinking about since I was a child.

     

    I decided to travel around the world to see with my own eyes what environmental problems were affecting the world, rather than just rely on information from books, the TV and the Internet.

     

    Then I saw that litter was a significant threat to the environment at every place I traveled to. I also thought of how I might be able to eliminate litter from the world -- through a cheap technological solution. When I came back to Japan, I teamed up with my fellow graduate school friends to develop Pirika, the anti-litter smartphone app. "Pirika" means clean in the Ainu language.

     

    The Pirika Story (2)

    How the smartphone app Pirika was born

    On May 15, 2011, the smartphone app Pirika was launched, having been developed by Naoya Takahashi, now our Director, and the rest of the development team. The number of litter pieces picked up during the first month after launch was only 100. Even so, I was moved by the fact that people I did not know at all were picking up litter using the app.

     

    I moved out of my then house to save on rent, and traveled between Tokyo and Kyoto in search of investors. We continued to make improvements to Pirika, and the amount of litter picked up through the app gradually increased.

     

    We incorporated Pirika, Inc. in November 2011.

    The Prika Story (3)

    How we expanded into the litter research business

    When the cumulative number of litter pieces picked up through Pirika reached 3 million in 2014, we began to have doubts about our mission. We started asking ourselves whether Pirika was actually contributing to litter reduction over the long run in a sustainable manner. We realized that we did not have an answer to that question. This is because there were no reliable quantitative litter data, and there was no established method of litter research.

     

    We believed that there was no point in sacrificing ourselves to try to solve the litter problem when our approach might not be effective. We also did not want our approach to be proven to be ineffective by someone else. That is when embarked on a new mission.

     

    The Pirika Story (4)

    How Takanome, the litter research program, was developed

    Despite our conviction, we struggled to develop a sustainable and scalable litter research method. Our initial research methods required more manpower. The downside of relying on manpower was not only the cost and time involved, but also the inconsistency and human error that arose in conducting research.

     

    One day, Naoya had a thought -- What if we recorded on video litter on streets and used the latest machine learning technology to analyze the litter. He took this inspiration to develop a program on his own. We called the program Takanome, which means hawk eye. Once the program was developed, we first hired 20 people to categorize litter captured on videos, in order to teach the program's artificial intelligence.

     

    Immediately after we launched the program, we began to receive requests for our Takanome-based services from governments. Thus began our mission to gather information necessary to identify the root cause of litter.

    The Pirika Story (5)

    Where we are headed

    Four years have passed since our incorporation. The cumulative number of litter pieces picked up through Pirika has exceeded 25 million. Our research business is expanding, and our revenue and profit are growing.

     

    However, we have not solved a single environmental problem. Litter continues to grow at an alarming rate, and we still do not have a complete picture of how bad the problem is. And there are many other environmental problems that need to be tackled.

     

    We remain passionate about our mission, just as we were when we first started out. We are working hard to do our part in helping humanity overcome what we believe is a growing environmental crisis.

     

  • Media

    AOL News / TechWave / CNETJapan / Tech Crunch / lifehacker / PennOlson / StartupDating / greenz.jp / Social Enterprise Buzz / DailyGreen / WiWoGreen / others

    Awards

    Asia Smartphone App Contest 2014 Creative Lifetyle Certificate of Merit / Eco Summit Berlin Eco Summit Award 2013 1st Prize / eco japan cup 2012 / Infinity Ventures Summit 2011 Fall Launch Pad 4th / SF New Tech Japan Night 2nd Prize / Open Network Lab 3rd Best Team Award / others