Open Innovation

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 M&A, alliances such as collaboration with affiliates, establishing private funds to invest in new ventures, recruiting and co-operating with innovators and intrapreneurs 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.

Alliances

Nikon is conducting business/capital tie-ups outside of the company including universities, other companies and affiliates, cooperative research, and M&A. Through these various alliances, 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 enters a strategic business cooperation for cell-related fields with Berkeley Lights, Inc. of the United States

Nikon Corporation and its subsidiary, Nikon Instech Co., Ltd., have entered into a strategic business cooperation contract for cell-related fields with Berkeley Lights, Inc. (hereinafter “BLI”). Established in 2011, BLI is an American corporation that provides products and services for biomedicines, genome analysis and cell treatment using its unique OptoSelect* technology. Nikon has also entered into an exclusive sales agency contract with BLI for sales in Japan of the Beacon® platform, a multipurpose cell research and development platform, and Nikon Instech began exclusive domestic distribution in Japan from January, 2018. The combination of the BLI’s Beacon®, employing the OptoSelect technology, with the live cell imaging technology of Nikon will expand the solutions already provided by Nikon in cell-related fields such as the development of antibody drugs and regenerative medicines.

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.

Collaboration with universities, companies and external organizations

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.
Also, Nikon has established the Nikon Chair of Imaging Science in the University of Tokyo, providing optical education that is directly connected to the industry. This contributes to nurturing engineers who will be able to lead the next-generation optical industry.

Private fund

Nikon and SBI Investment Co., Ltd. have jointly established a private fund to invest in venture companies as a part of CVC (Corporate Venture Capital) programs. This fund’s objective is to increase investments in new business areas, as well as Nikon’s current business fields. Nikon uses SBI Investment’s valuable expertise and experience in investment in growing sectors.
Nikon deploys this new fund to pursue fresh business opportunities by investing in venture companies that can possibly play a future role, with the focus on Japan and North America as well as in European and Asian countries. Following this investments, we will make additional investments according to business synergy assessment and intentions.
The maximum size of the Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund is expected to be 10 billion yen, and it is expected to operate over a period of eight years.

Nikon SBI Innovation Fund

Business areas
Future imaging services business, industrial equipment business, healthcare business, etc.
Fields
  • VR/AR/MR services and systems
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Communication technology/cloud computing/broadcasting services
  • Healthcare
  • Optics
  • Imaging
  • Sensing technology/applications and solutions
Total share (from July 2016 to April 2018)
  • Investment to startups in Japan and the U.S.A. (new investment: 8 companies, additional investment: 4 companies, under consideration: several other companies)
  • Investment in 500 Startups Japan, an organization which searches widely for ventures that are eager to succeed internationally and nurtures them.
  • The receiving division takes on an initiative role, examining next-round additional investments and business development while considering and assessing investment companies and business synergy.

Portfolio

Cooperation with venture capital partners

To expand new business operations, Nikon 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.

Accelerator Program

Nikon recruits venture companies who intend to innovate on a global scale, and call for intrapreneurs (employees who are taking the initiative to create something new and innovative within their companies of their own volition) who are attempting to commercialize by themselves, then provides programs to support them in order to create new business opportunities.

CAP 2016

Nikon started its Corporate Accelerator Program (referred to as CAP) from 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;

Nikon Intrapreneur Program 2017

The Nikon Intrapreneur Program is a support program for those who are aiming for commercialization by transforming ideas into reality. We welcome any ideas from applicants who have a strong will to create business opportunities and succeed with them, rather than merely proposing them to the company. Selected employees will be given their chance to bring their creative ideas into business reality, thereby adding value to the world as an intrapreneur.
During this program, a mentoring system is available and any necessary support can be provided anytime. We nurture the creative mindset and behavior patterns of creating something from nothing and fully support employees’ challenges. This program has even generated an inter-division community. Thus, the Nikon Intrapreneur Program triggers a range of activities for willing employees and also provides the support system to accelerate the development of the innovations.

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