Yoshitaka Tanino

General Manager
New Business Development Dept.
Corporate Technology & Business Development Unit

Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd
- New business Development Dept. Corporate Technology & Business Development Unit

Trusted Corporation began as a platform for companies of all sizes, from any industry worldwide to connect and collaborate online. We are proud to welcome Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd onboard as a Trusted Member. Murata is a global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of advanced electronic materials and components. Founded in 1944, Murata aims to contribute to the advancement of society through their development of innovative and value-add technologies. The company is based in Kyoto, Japan, but their innovative products can be found in mobile phones, healthcare devices and home appliances worldwide.

Let us introduce to you Mr. Yoshitaka Tanino from Murata’s New business Development Dept. Corporate Technology & Business Development Unit.
(Interview: May 8th, 2019)

Mr. Yoshitaka Tanino
General Manager
New Business Development Dept. Corporate Technology & Business Development Unit

1. Tell us a bit about Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd

At Murata Manufacturing, our mission is to deliver value by not only creating convenience for society, but also making people happy and helping those in need. Our corporate mission is to contribute to society’s happiness by continuously challenging ourselves to develop evermore innovative technologies and by improving our manufacturing process. We believe that these goals can create sustainable growth and benefits for both our company and society.

2. What has Murata accomplished from collaborating with startups?

Basically, our company understands the importance of creating value with these startups as respectful co-creation partners, and not just as a “vendor”.

We’ve worked with many different types of startups; most of them were in their early stages. In the past, our company has collaborated with startups from many different countries, including the United States, Israel, Japan, and France. We have also worked with startups in India through affiliated companies.

We experienced a lot of trial and error when collaborating with startups, both domestically and abroad. But the strengths and assets that our company has today, have been a result of those experiences.

A huge advantage from collaborating with other companies is that we could acquire advanced technology, and reduce our time and costs. Meeting face-to-face with these startups has also inspired change within our young members’ mindsets. From these experiences, our company has learned to not be limited to in-house development or linger on past successes.

During our time working with these startups, we did feel a difference in work culture between us. We like to think that our company’s decision making process is on the faster side in comparison to other major domestic companies. However, after interacting with the startups and seeing how important momentum is to them, we realized that our company needs to improve our efficiency in making decisions.

On another note, when collaborating with foreign startups, we also found language to be a barrier. In particular, we found that direct communication by both parties is the most effective. So we try to send members of our company to meet with the startups in person, even if their English isn’t the best.

3. Are there any technological areas that you’re thinking of collaborating in, with startups?

The technological areas that our R&D department is focusing on can be roughly divided into two categories.

The first category is applying foundational technology. Our company’s biggest strength is in the foundational technologies required to manufacture small, light and thin components. Therefore, we’re working to combine our strength with the expertise of startups whose strengths lie in the application.

The second category is comprised of brand-new technologies that can contribute to society in the future. Without overlooking any taboo aspects, we’re exploring new areas with a challenge mindset.

If we were to mention any specific market areas, it would be automobiles (mobility) and health care (medical). In regards to automobiles, we are thinking of providing added value, such as making electric vehicles lighter or improving driving safety. That is, we want to make developments that improve the comfort of the driver, or applications that prevent accident.

Regarding health care, we believe that there is a lot of room for technological improvements. Currently, we are working on creating small, non-invasive vital sign sensors, that are not harmful to the body nor painful.

We’re also looking to combine our sensor technology with the application of technology from startups, so patients will be able to get their vital signs measured without any distress. Additionally, we’re working on products that can assist doctors and nurses to improve diagnostic efficiency. These are just a few examples of the types of products that we want to develop.

4. What types of startups are you open to collaborating with?

Essentially, our company is open to collaborating with startups of any type. We try to contribute by providing our resources to help increase a startup company’s value.

Our company can contribute to startups by offering our world-leading technology to mass produce small, cheap and high-quality products. For example, we produce 1 trillion ceramic condensers every year, as one of our manufacturing products.

As an example of a collaboration project, we use our technology to make a scaled-down, low-profile version of the startup’s winning sample (i.e. the sample that has shown the most promising results), and create a design suited for mass production.

The types of startups I’m personally interested in, are startups that are at the early seed-level, these are similar to college ventures and research institutions that only have technology. We believe that startups at this level and our method of working together is suitable for collaboration.

I’m also interested in startups that have established their business to some degree at the B round or C round. This includes startups that have established a business base and already have customers. A benefit for these startups is that our company can help to harden the technology and make it ready for mass commercialization.

5. How does Murata typically structure their partnerships with startups?

As an example, our company has three partnership models:

  • A partnership where we invest in the startup’s expertise and use our company’s existing resources to turn the startup’s ideas into a product. That is, we help startups commercialize their technology.
  • A partnership where we use one of the startup’s technologies and combine it with our company’s resources to create a new product that can be introduced into the market; or
  • A joint venture where we use our company’s sales channels to help sell what the startup creates.

It should be noted, however, that it may be difficult for our company to apply our existing sales channels for startups that want to target a new market, to attract new customers. Generally, this is because our existing market and customers may not be aligned to the new technology - so we are often unable to utilize our current network. In these situations, our company is willing to spend time with the startup to develop new strategies to target their desired market.

Before anything is signed, we often have the startup come to participate in our planning meetings with our company’s planning and R&D departments, to get a consensus on the provision of our resources. We’ve implemented this process to establish a smooth, productive and mutually creative relationship with the startup.

When planning the partnership, our company maps out a mid-to-long term roadmap. Because of this, we are not limited to forming partnerships with startups that focus on areas that are currently receiving lots of attention, like AI or self-driving cars. We can also form long-term partnerships with startups focusing on technologies that may take many years before results are shown, such as startups that focus on technology relating to materials.

With our company’s highly positive mindset on collaborating with startups to create new things, we hope to push innovation forward while displaying our confidence in startups.

Trusted Corporation is a B2B platform and search engine that proudly supports cross-border and cross-industry collaboration between companies around the world. If your company is a startup, and you are interested in collaborating with Murata, please get in touch via contact@trusted-inc.com.

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