Pioneering Growth: Start-Up Success Fueled by Visual AI

Tractable Ltd. is a London-based startup using cutting-edge AI technology to support early recovery from car accidents and natural disasters. Hotta Tsubasa, the company's head of Europe and Asia-Pacific, spoke to us about the company's multinational leadership and business possibilities in Tokyo.
Tractable's Hotta Tsubasa frequently travels between the company's London headquarters and Tokyo.

AI Reduces Property-Claim Waits to a Matter of Days

Tractable, founded in 2014, offers an innovative solution to social issues: the application of visual AI capable of automatically calculating typhoon and storm damage to buildings and other structures.

The company's service is characterized by its speed and accuracy through unparalleled efficiency. All users need to do is photograph the damaged area using their smartphone. The Tokyo office and technical team at the London HQ then work together to perform AI analysis and accelerate the damage assessment process.

"As only limited human resources and minimal time and effort are needed, insurance payments that would previously have taken as long as two to three months can be made as quickly as the same day. Prompt payments mean we can quickly meet the immediate financial needs of disaster victims and support their early recovery," said Hotta.

AI trained on millions of images uses pixel-by-pixel processing to assess damages.

In addition to buildings, Tractable provides an AI solution for automobile damage assessment, which all four major Japanese nonlife insurers have implemented and named as a partner. Tractable further offers AI-powered solutions to expedite claims payments in markets around the world. Such accelerated growth in Japan and global operations have also attracted investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund in 2023.

American Football, an Unexpected Source of Business Strength

Hotta Tsubasa joined Tractable in 2019, having built his career at two US-affiliated companies. Starting Tractable's Tokyo office from scratch, Hotta had the task of building a team of multinational talent. He credits his experience in American football, which he devoted himself to as a student, with allowing him to navigate a team of such diverse nationalities, careers, and values.

"I played quarterback, a supervisor-like position with a bird's eye view of the entire team, setting the game strategy. The skill set I developed playing the game have become my strength in business as well."

Hotta was devoted to American football as a student for eight years.
Photo: courtesy of Hotta Tsubasa

According to Hotta, the hiring process, as the starting point for creating a team, is vital in a rapid-growth organization such as a startup. "We take our time in hiring and try various approaches to determine whether candidates are receptive to different values and able to consider the essence of things." As a result, every new member contributes to the creation of new value through diversity.

Tractable's diverse members place great emphasis on teamwork and mutual respect.

Tokyo's Hidden Potential as a Hub for Global Talent in Asia

Hotta envisions creating a new team of "Asians of various nationalities, collaborating for the good of Asia." London, he explains, abounds with "companies of various Europeans collaborating for the good of Europe." Just as talented people regardless of nationality start businesses in London and develop them in Europe, so does Tokyo have the potential to become the base for a similar path in Asia.

"Tokyo is a regular top-ranked city, on a par with London and New York, in the Global Power City Index. Although Singapore currently boasts the highest concentration of places to work in Asia, Tokyo has rich potential to attract exceptional Asian human resources if it can take advantage of its appeal.

We tend to think of globalization as primarily outward-facing, but it needs to be thought of inversely. That is, Tokyo should first become Asia's hub for global human resources, establishing true diversity, and from there concentrate on globalizing outwardly from Tokyo to Asia."

Hotta is optimistic about this spring's SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024, an event hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to bring together the foremost technologies and ideas from around the world. "I hope to see Tokyo attract attention as a startup hub, and Tokyo's global expansion accelerate together with its developing entrepreneurial environment."

Hotta Tsubasa

Joined Tractable Ltd. in 2019 as the first Asia-Pacific employee; currently VP and General Manager, International (EMEA & APAC). Formerly a member of the Boston Consulting Group and an initial member of iRobot Japan G.K. Tractable Ltd. was winner of a Special Prize by TMG in the City-Tech Challenge at City-Tech. Tokyo, the predecessor of SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024.


SusHi Tech Tokyo, short for Sustainable High City Tech Tokyo, is a Tokyo-based concept that aims to create 'sustainable new value' by overcoming global urban challenges through cutting-edge technology, diverse ideas, and digital expertise.

Interview and writing by Momose Koji
Photography by Ito Tomomi
Images provided by Tractable Ltd.
Translation by Alex G. K. Pulsford