In order to contribute to and improve the quality of people's lives around the world, now and in the future, we plan to continuously create beneficial new products and services which are essential to humankind. However, the pace of technological innovation is increasing day by day, and the needs of users constantly diversify. Therefore Nikon has initiated a dynamic action plan to achieve open innovation; initially by utilizing external resources. This includes strategic alliances, M&A, establishing private funds to invest in new ventures, recruiting and co-operating with innovators in order to create a brighter future together, and collaborating with venture capital partners. Through these various actions, Nikon is sowing the seeds of future businesses, accelerating the speed of product development and nurturing the establishment of new businesses.
Further, through various alliances such as business/capital tie-ups with other companies, cooperative research, and M&A, Nikon is leveraging its strengths to expand the scale and scope of its businesses, including extending its interests to peripheral fields in order to create new business opportunities.
Nikon and Verily Life Sciences LLC have established a strategic alliance to develop machine learning-enabled solutions for diabetes-related eye diseases.
Nikon and its subsidiary Optos Plc have entered a strategic alliance with Verily Life Sciences LLC (hereinafter "Verily", formerly known as Google Life Sciences) in the field of machine learning-enabled retinal imaging. This partnership combines Nikon's leadership in optical engineering and precision manufacturing, its proprietary ultra-widefield technology and strong commercial presence among eyecare specialists, and Verily's machine learning technology.
Providing simple medical solutions to eyecare specialists and diabetes specialists, Nikon and Verily are working together to create effective solutions that facilitate the early diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, while also achieving prognostic control for the benefit of many patients.
Subsidiary acquisition of Mark Roberts Motion Control Limited
There is a growing demand within the imaging industry for automated solutions that provide unique perspectives and increased production efficiency. Nikon has acquired Mark Roberts Motion Control Limited (hereinafter "MRMC"), a manufacturer of robotic motion control solutions that has established a strong reputation for engineering excellence within the motion control industry. Nikon will continue to strengthen MRMC's leading market position within the film and broadcast sectors. Nikon and MRMC aim to develop products and services for this new market by utilizing MRMC's robotic motion control solutions together with Nikon's imaging-related technologies and broad sales channels.
Other major examples
- Feb. 4, 2016 Announcement of Strategic Investment in Tribogenics Inc.
- Sep. 16, 2016 Announcement of Strategic Investment in Carbon3D, Inc.
- Sep. 19, 2016 Announcement of acquisition of Mark Roberts Motion Control
- Dec. 27, 2016 Nikon and Verily Establish Strategic Alliance to Develop Machine Learning-enabled Solutions for Diabetes-related Eye Disease
Nikon and SBI Investment Co. Ltd. jointly established a private fund, the "Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund," in July, 2016. This fund will make investments in Nikon's current business areas, as well as investments in the latest technologies and new service areas (e.g. IT, AI and robots).
Outline of Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund
A private fund co-established by Nikon and SBI Investment Co. Ltd. as part of Nikon's CVC (Corporate Venture Capital) program. The objective of this program is to expand investments in new business areas, and Nikon's current business areas. Using SBI Investment's comprehensive expertise and experience in growing sector investments, Nikon will deploy this fund to pursue fresh business opportunities by making synergistic investments in venture companies.
The maximum size of the Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund is expected to be 10 billion yen, and it is projected to operate for a period of eight years.
Major fields of investment
- Business areas
- Future imaging services business, industrial equipment business, healthcare business, etc.
- IoT, AI, VR/AR, robotics, healthcare, etc.
- Successful results
- Invested in four venture companies and one venture capital business in FY2016. Invested in one venture company in FY2017 (as of June 2017).
- 1.Future imaging business (communication robots, etc.)
- 2.Business related to high accuracy, high-output X-ray equipment
- 3.Business related to ophthalmic diagnosis
- 4.Robotics and control technology (automatic operation platform)
Cooperation with venture capital partners
To expand new business operations, Nikon has implemented a plan to invest approximately 30 billion yen in a CVC (Corporate Venture Capital) Program, and has already started to invest globally in venture companies through multiple VC (Venture Capital) firms including SBI Investment, Geodesic Capital, Beyond Next Venture and 500 Startups Japan. Each VC company provides Nikon with valuable transaction data and trend information as well as exchanging diverse information at regular meetings. Nikon benefits from its venture business partners' research, comparisons, target company information and future value estimations.
Corporate Accelerator Program
Nikon started a Corporate Accelerator Program (hereinafter CAP) on October 3, 2016. Nikon recruits entrepreneurs and venture companies who intend to innovate on a global scale, and supports their ideas. Nikon and 01Booster collaborated for CAP2016.
Nikon provided versatile mentoring (advice and various other support) to venture companies selected from many entries, using Nikon’s internal and external experts. Selected venture companies are as follows;
- 4D Sensor Inc.
- AssistMotion Inc.
- Fm Inc.
- BLINCAM, Inc.
- Vacan, Inc.
- O: Co., Ltd.
- Borderless Inc.
In July 2017, Demo Day was held where venture companies and Nikon’s internal mentoring team presented five-month activity results. We continue to work together with promising venture companies for open innovation.
Collaboration with universities, companies and external organizations
Through these alliances, the private fund, cooperation with venture capital firms, and Corporate Accelerator Programs, Nikon is proactively seeking to collaborate with others. For example, in a joint development program with the IPS cell laboratory at Kyoto University in the field of regenerative medicine, a business and capital alliance with HEALIOS K.K. , Nikon is participating in the "Smart Cell Processing Project", along with several other companies.