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Six innovation models
for creating new businesses

NEC's new business development

Build & Acquisition

Building new businesses within a scalable industry ecosystem

Build & Acquisition is an innovation model that enables the creation of new businesses through strategic mergers and acquisitions in a scalable industry ecosystem. 

A prime example of a new business that emerged from the Build & Acquisition model is the drug development business. In June 2019, NEC made amendments to its articles of incorporation, signaling its full entry into the field of drug development with a focus on utilizing AI technologies to discover cancer treatment drugs. Through the adoption of the Build & Acquisition approach, we are able to effectively harness our exceptional AI capabilities in the realm of drug development.

NEC partnered with Transgene, a French biotech, to jointly develop an individualized neoantigen cancer vaccine, which is currently in the clinical trial phase. Furthermore, we have made strategic investments in BostonGene in the U.S. and acquired OncoImmunity in Norway, which is now operating as NEC OncoImmunity. These ventures have further strengthened our world-class neoantigen prediction technology. Building upon these achievements, in March 2022, NEC OncoImmunity acquired VAXIMM's neoantigen vaccine development assets, and in March 2023, we established NEC Bio B.V. in Europe. Under this reorganized structure, we aim to drive global growth and strengthen our AI drug development business through open innovation. Our goal is to achieve a business value of 500 billion yen in 2030 for our entire healthcare and life science business that includes the AI drug development business.

Learn more about NEC's AI Drug Development Business

Joint Venture

Co-creating value by pooling strengths

Joint Venture is an innovation model that enables the creation of new value through strategic partnerships with external companies.  NEC actively embraces this model to foster the development of new businesses.

A notable example of a Joint Venture is a new business that NEC developed through a strategic partnership with Kagome in the field of AgriTech that applies ICT to agriculture. In March 2020, the two companies signed a strategic partnership agreement to jointly launch AI-enabled farming management support services for tomato farmers in Europe, Australia, and North America. We provided a service using NEC’s agricultural ICT platform, CropScope, to visualize tomato growth and soil conditions based on sensor data and satellite images,  as well as a service to offer advice on farming management using AI.

The new business was expanded in June 2021 with the enhancement of CropScope. Additionally, in September 2022, a joint venture company called DXAS Agricultural Technology was established in Portugal to provide farming management support to tomato processors. By accelerating the technological advancement and adoption of CropScope and enabling environmentally sustainable and financially lucrative farming practices, we will continue to contribute to the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

Learn more about CropScope

Strategic Carve-out

Empowering new businesses to drive innovation

NEC adopts the carve-out method as an innovation model, wherein a company separates a division to establish it as an independent venture. This approach, known as Strategic Carve-out, plays a vital role in driving innovation and ensuring the creation of competitive products and services in the global market. By strategically carving out NEC's core technologies, we facilitate accelerated business development while securing external capital, including venture capital.

There are several reasons for adopting the Strategic Carve-out approach. Firstly, it maximizes the growth potential of the business. Secondly, by refining new businesses in highly competitive markets, it fosters the development of a strong vision and products. Lastly, it provides an avenue for acquiring exceptional talent from around the world.

A concrete example of this approach is the establishment of dotData, a company focused on delivering end-to-end data science automation. This start-up was established in Silicon Valley, with a leader in NEC's cutting-edge development activities being among the founders. In a short span of just a year and a half since its commercial launch, dotData attracted over 50 companies as users. NEC has obtained a license to offer dotData products in Japan and is actively expanding its range of data-driven services in the domain of digital transformation (DX).

Learn more about dotData

Venture Studio

New Value Creation in Silicon Valley Ecosystem

NEC X, established as a Venture Studio in Silicon Valley in 2018, has played a pivotal role in fostering new businesses. Capitalizing on the local startup ecosystem, NEC X promotes open innovation, leveraging NEC's talent and technology.

NEC X matches business ideas from entrepreneurs with a deep understanding of customers and the market with NEC's cutting-edge technology. The goal is to bring new value to society by launching a new business within six to twelve months by acquiring paid customers or external funding. NEC has intentionally taken NEC's technology to the outside world and accelerated the new business development in an outbound manner.
To date, NEC X has partnered with accelerators such as Alchemist Accelerator, academic institutions, angel investors, and venture capitalists, among others, and has carried out the Venture Studio Program nine times. Through these NEC X’s programs, 10 businesses comprising nine startups and one internal business have been launched.

Learn more about NEC X

R&D Ecosystem

Multi-industry alliance tackles business development challenges through R&D efforts

NEC actively pursues new business development through an approach called R&D Ecosystem. With the rapid advancements in digital technology, the complexity of social issues has increased, demanding swift and effective solutions. Recognizing the significance of research and development in this context, NEC has embraced a new research and development method called co-creative R&D. By bringing together experts from industry, government, and academia, we aim to collectively address a wide range of challenges and technologies.

A concrete example of co-creative R&D is the establishment of BIRD INITIATIVE (BIRD) in September 2020. BIRD is an unprecedented co-creative R&D initiative co-funded by seven companies from different industries, including NEC and other business firms, financial companies, and academic institutions. By actively leveraging external resources, BIRD drives business innovation to swiftly address social issues.

BIRD offers business development consulting services and operates a startup studio. The business development consulting service is designed to address a wide range of complex issues faced by our customers at different stages of their business development. In FY2022, we successfully received 34 orders for use of the service. Additionally, in the startup studio business, two projects previously advanced by BIRD, "Automated Negotiation × Drones" and "Discrete-event Simulator 'assimee'", have successfully been carved out as separate entities, new windowIntent Exchange Inc.(Japanese) and new windowBitQuark Inc.(Japanese), as originally planned from April 1, 2023.

Going forward, BIRD will maintain its carve-out support platform, which assists large enterprises in capitalizing on their cutting-edge technologies, talented personnel, and other valuable assets to establish new businesses and attract external funding at startup speed.

Learn more about BIRD INITIATIVE
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Ecosystem Corporate Venture Capital

Co-creating new value with cutting-edge startups and business firms

Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) is an approach to open innovation that leverages innovative technologies and business models from startups to rapidly generate new value. Many companies, both in Japan and abroad, are actively adopting this method.

NEC's ecosystem-based CVC, NEC Orchestrating Future Fund (NOFF), founded in December 2021, is actively pursuing the forefront. Through co-creation with business companies and start-ups that share NEC 2030 Vision, we are dedicated to delivering greater social value with unmatched speed.

NOFF focuses mainly on the areas of 5G/6G, DX, Digital Government and Digital Finance, Smart Cities, Healthcare and Life sciences, and Carbon Neutrality. Discussions on business collaborations with promising startups, primarily in Europe and the United States, are already underway.

Learn more about NEC Orchestrating Future Fund (NOFF) (Japanese)