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 Co. Ltd, 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 types of start-ups are you open to collaborating with?

Our company is open to collaborating with any type of start-ups, in which we will provide our resources to help increase a start-up’s company value.

Our company can contribute to start-ups 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.

An example of one of our collaboration projects, we use our technology to make a scaled-down, low-profile version of the start-up’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 start-ups we are personally interested in, are start-ups that are at the early seed-level, like college ventures and research institutions that only have technology. We believe that start-ups at this level and our method of working together is suitable for collaboration.

We are also interested in start-ups that have established their business to some degree at the B round or C round. This includes start-ups that have established a business base and already have customers. A benefit for these start-ups is that our company can help finalise the technology and make it ready for mass commercialisation.

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

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 start-ups whose strengths lie in the application.

The second category is comprised of brand-new technologies that can contribute to society in the future. We are continuously striving to improve and explore new areas.

The specific market areas that we are eager to collaborate in is automotive (mobility) and health care (medical). Regarding automobiles, we are trying to add value by making electric vehicles lighter and improving the safety of driving. That is, through the developments to improve the comfort of the driver, or applications to prevent accidents.

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

The type of products that we are interested in developing is to combine our sensor technology with the application of technology from start-ups. In order to assist patients in measuring their vital signs without any distress. We are also working on products that can assist doctors and nurses to improve diagnostic efficiency.

4. How does Murata typically structure their partnerships with start-ups?

Our company has three partnership models:

  • A partnership where we invest in the start-up’s expertise and use our company’s existing resources to turn the start-up’s ideas into a product. That is, we help start-ups commercialise their technology.
  • A partnership where we use one of the start-up’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 start-up creates.

It should be noted, however, that it may be difficult for our company to apply our existing sales channels for start-ups 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 utilise our current network. In these situations, our company is willing to spend time with the start-up to develop new strategies to target their desired market.

Before anything is signed, we often have the start-up 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 start-up.

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 start-ups 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 start-ups focusing on technologies that may take many years before results are shown, such as start-ups that focus on technology relating to materials.

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

5. What has Murata accomplished from collaborating with start-ups?

understands the importance of creating value with start-ups as respectful co-creation partners, and not just as a “vendor”.

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

When collaborating with start-ups we have experienced a lot of trial and error. However, the strengths and assets that our company has today, are as a result of those experiences.

An advantage of collaborating with other companies is to acquire advanced technology and reduce our time and costs. Meeting face-to-face with these start-ups has also inspired change with our younger 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 start-ups, we did feel that there was a difference in work culture. 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 start-ups and seeing how important momentum is to them, we realized that our company needs to improve our efficiency in making decisions.

Whereas, when collaborating with foreign start-ups, we also found that there was a language barrier. We found that direct communication by both parties is most effective and we now try to send members of our company to meet with the start-ups in person, even if their English isn’t the best.

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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