Open Innovation

Streamlining industry by utilizing robots and AI, and city infrastructure maintenance by using cyberspace are fast approaching. Automation and streamlining through AI are expected in the near future.
Nikon selected cooperating partners from the observing, measuring and transmitting fields that have a high affinity with existing businesses. As one of the methods of solving social issues, Nikon initiated a dynamic action plan to achieve open innovation by utilizing external resources.

For example, M&A and alliances such as collaboration with affiliates and external companies, establishing private funds to invest in new ventures, co-operating with innovators and recruiting and nurturing intrapreneurs in order to create a brighter future together, as well as collaborating with venture capital partners have been implemented. 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 building various alliances such as business/capital tie-ups outside 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. In recent years, by entering into business alliances in the Material Processing Business, positioned as a core pillar of new business, we are actively promoting the development of new equipment and the expansion of sales opportunities.

Capital and Business Alliance with XTIA Ltd.

Nikon has signed a capital and business alliance agreement with XTIA Ltd. (previous company name: Optical Comb, Inc.). Nikon aims for early launch of a material processing business, and the sales expansion of an optical processing machine deployed since 2019 is one of its essential measures. Combining "optical comb", a light source technology possessed exclusively in the world only by XTIA, with Nikon's technical capabilities, knowhow and more, Nikon aims to develop an unprecedented machine employing a highly accurate shape measurement function.

Business Alliance with DMG MORI CO., LTD.

Nikon and DMG MORI CO., LTD. have concluded a memorandum of understanding for a comprehensive business alliance. This business alliance will boost establishment of Nikon's material processing business by utilizing the knowledge of DMG MORI, a leading manufacturer of machine tools. The two companies will also cooperate to develop more advanced DMG MORI machine tools by applying Nikon's measurement and camera-related technologies. In addition, effectively using the global sales network of DMG MORI, Nikon will conduct sales of its proprietary optical processing machines that perform various kinds of metal processing with high precision using laser technology.
Nikon and DMG MORI will cooperate to provide innovative solutions to their customers through this business alliance.

Nikon has entered 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. The combination of 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 to create new business, promote nurturing of such businesses, and realize business synergies as a mid/long-term plan.
Nikon is deploying this new fund not only to existing businesses but also to pursue fresh business opportunities by investing in venture companies that can possibly play a future role, with a focus on Japan and North America as well as European and Asian countries.

Nikon SBI Innovation Fund

Business areas
Future imaging services business, industrial equipment business, healthcare business, etc.
Fields
  • Material processing
  • Sensing technology
  • AI and image processing
  • IoT
  • Healthcare
  • Optics
  • Vision Systems/Robotics
  • Digital manufacturing
Total share (from July 2016 to the end of August 2020)
  • Investment to startups in Japan, Europe and the U.S.A. (new investment: 12 companies, additional investment: 8 cases, 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 invested in venture companies in Japan, Europe and the United States, each of which 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 have high technical strength, promising business plans and who aim to innovate on a global scale, and calls 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, while transforming their creative ideas into business reality, and adding value to the world. Providing various programs to commercialize their business ideas and support them, Nikon generates new business opportunities.

Nikon Intrapreneur Program

The Nikon Intrapreneur Program is Nikon's first support program for those who would like to generate new business with their ideas. We welcome any ideas from applicants who have a strong will to create business opportunities and succeed with them while also revitalizing our internal offices as well as developing new businesses. Selected people will be given their chance to bring their creative ideas into business reality, thereby adding value to the world as an intrapreneur.
Nikon is continuing to launch businesses more rapidly by collaborating with external venture companies, supporting them intensely with internal/external mentors and catalysts, and nurturing innovators by providing workshops and training. In this way we are greatly increasing the opportunities of discovering themes/talent by triggering a range of activities for willing employees to accelerate the development of innovations.