Shuji Nakamura’s invention to save energy corresponding to about 60 nuclear power stations by 2020
2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting
For Shuji Nakamura’s invention of high-efficiency GaN double-heterostructure LEDs he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014, while his employer sued him in the USA for leaking intellectual property – Shuji Nakamura won this court case, and his employer lost the case. To defend himself and his family, Shuji Nakamura countersued in Japan, and the Japanese court awarded Shuji a substantial award in a settlement. Shuji shared some insights into the comparison of IP lawsuits in US vs Japan with us at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum.
Shuji moved to the University of California Santa Barbara, and is now building the company Soraa in Silicon Valley with investments from major US VC funds. Soraa may already be or is likely to be soon much bigger in value than Shuji’s previous Japanese employer. Soraa develops 2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting products.
Energy savings corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020
The global lighting revolution triggered by Shuji Nakamura’s inventions leads to energy savings corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020 – 60 nuclear power stations less will need to be built than without Shuji Nakamura’s inventions.
2nd Generation and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting
With his venture company Soraa, Shuji is now working on 2nd Generation Solid State Lighting (GaN on GaN substrates) and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting (laser lighting, which allows much higher light density), and which is already in use for car headlights.
Why squeeze Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura into a top-down narrative?
Shuji Nakamura asks why he is being squeezed retrospectively into a top-down innovation narrative.
The truth is that most real innovation is bottom-up and disruptive, not government planned and top-down.
At the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum we had intense discussions between Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, Professor Makoto Suematsu, Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, Professor Nomura, JST-President Michinari Hamaguchi, and several other Japanese technology and R&D leaders.
Shuji Nakamura’s invention of high efficiency LEDs enable us to reduce global energy consumption by an amount corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020, for which he was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Still, a poster child for bottom-up innovation, Shuji Nakamura was sued by his employer, left for the USA, and is now building a company in Silicon Valley which might soon become bigger than his former Japanese employer.
Why does Shuji Nakamura’s bottom-up innovation not fit into top-down innovation narratives?
Why does Shuji Nakamura’s bottom-up innovation not fit into top-down innovation narratives? Would Japan be a better and faster growing place with a better balance between bottom-up and top-down innovation? Does top-down innovation work at all?
Shuji Nakamura came specially from the USA to address many of Japan’s science and technology R&D leaders at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum, and explain why it makes no sense to try squeezing his bottom-up inventions into a top-down narrative and why its better to overcome established top-down narratives.
The 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum brought together Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, the leaders of Japan’s two major research and technology R&D funding organizations, Professor Nomura, who is working to overcome gender inequality for Japan’s (too few) medical doctors, and several of Japan’s technology leaders to discuss how to accelerate innovation in Japan.
Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado honored us by taking a very active part, and asking thoughtful questions to Nobel Winner Shuji Nakamura and other speakers.
Start-up Nation Israel 2014 – Israel Japan Investment Funds meeting on March 4, 2014 at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo
Israeli Venture funds introduce Israeli ventures to Japanese investors
Acquisition of Viber by Rakuten draws attention in Japan to Israeli ventures
The recent acquisition of the Israel-based OTT (over the top) communications company Viber by Rakuten for US$ 900 Million has drawn attention in Japan to Israel’s innovative power, however many Japanese companies are already cautiously investing in Israel while keeping a low profile, we learnt at the “Start-up Nation Israel 2014” Israel Japan Investment Funds meeting on March 4, 2014 at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo.
Most of the companies presented at the conference were highly sophisticated computer security, medical equipment, and similar “mono zukuri” type ventures, but also included a “selfie” app for auto-portrait or group photos using iPad or iPhone.
By the way: our company is currently working to sell an Israeli venture company to Japan as an exit for investors, and to accelerate business development in Japan for this company.
Her Excellency, Ambassador of Israel to Japan, Ms Ruth Kahanoff opened the conference:
Economic Minister of Israel to Japan, Mr Eitan Kuperstoch explained that while there is substantial investment in Israel’s ventures by many major Japanese corporations, there is much scope for increases. Japan’s investment added together are on the order of 1% of foreign direct investments to Israel:
Pitches by Israeli Venture Funds
BRM Group: actually a privately held fund, strictly speaking not venture capital
CHIMA Ventures: medical devices, minimal invasive surgery tools.
TERRA Venture Partners: Terra invests in about 16-20 (4-5 per year) for a 1-2 year incubation period, followed by a “cherry picking” process. Terra VP invests in companies surviving the “cherry picking”. Veolia, GE, EDP, Clearweb, Enel are partners.
Giza Venture Capital: 5 funds, US$ 600 million under management, 102 investments, 20 active, 38 exits. Examples are: XtremIO, Actimize, Telegate, Precise, Plus, msystems, cyota, Olibit, Zoran, XTechnology. A particular success story is XtremIO: the team of 21 people (including secretary) turned US$ 6 million investment into a US$ 435 million cash sale to EMC.
StageOne Ventures: Early stage US$ 75 million fund, 17 investments.
Gillot Capital Partners: seed and early stage. Focus: cyber security.
SCP Vitalife Partners: 2 funds, US$ 230 capital under management.
Magma Venture Partners: focus on information and communications sector. Created over US$ 2 billion in acquired company value. Biggest success story: waze (crowd sourced location based services), return on capital investment: 171-times.
OrbiMed Healthcare Fund Management: largest global healthcare dedicated investment firm.
Presentations and Panel discussion
Arik Klienstein: Driving innovation in Israel – the 8200 impact
8200 is a unit within the Israeli Defence Forces similar to the US NSA – technology based intelligence collection. 8200 veterans lead many Israeli start-ups including NICE, Verint, Check Point, paloalto.
8200 and the start up culture:
Select the best people out of high school or college
Short first formal training. Most of training done on the job
Flexible dynamic organizational structure
Direct and constant relationship with the end user
“Think out the box” mentality – no assumptions. Hierarchy-less flat structure
Must win attitude!
Tal Slobodkin (Talpiot 18 Graduate): The Talpiot program
Talpiot is Israel’s elite Israel Defense Forces training program, dedicated to create leading research and development officers for the various branches of the Israeli Defence Forces. Program was created in 1979, about 1000 graduates today.
starts with 15,000++ high school seniors
100-150 attend next level of leadership assessment
50-75 reach final selection committee
30-40 enter the program
Training and assignment:
three full academic years
full dual degree in Maths and Physics, most graduate additionally in Computer Science or other subjects
significant exposure to all cutting edge military and non-military innovation
develop management skills
graduates pick own final assignment
minimum assignment is additional 6 years, average tenure in Israeli Defense Forces is 10 years
Yoaf Freund: Professor at UC San Diego, Goedel Prize winner
Elon Lindenstrauss, Professor of Mathematics at the Hebrew University and winner or 2010 Fields Medal
Marius Nacht, co-founder of Check Point Software
Eli Mintz, Simchon Faigler, Amir Natan, founders of Compugen Ltd
Founders of XIV, sold to IBM for US$ 400 million
Eviatar Metanya, head of National Cyber Bureau
Ophier Shoham, head of Israel’s Defence R&D Agency (Israel’s DARPA)
Elchana Harel (Harel-Hertz Investment House): Japanese investments in Israel
94 Japanese investments in Israeli High-tech during 2000-2014:
ICT: 41 investments
Semiconductors: 25 investments
Life sciences: 11 investments
VC funds: 17 investments
Most investments are strategic, not financial, not exit driven
Most investments are direct into target companies, and relatively small by global standards: up to US$ 3 million
In many cases “silent investments”: e.g a Japanese electronics company does not want their Japanese competitors to know that they invest in Israel
Japanese investors mostly follow Israeli or US lead investors. Japanese investors seldom lead.
Japanese acquisitions in Israel:
Nikken Sohonsha: NBT
Yasukawa Robotoics: Yasukawa Israel (Eshed), Argo Medical Robotics
David Heller: cooperation of Israeli investment funds with Japan
Israel’s venture capital fund industry was created by Israel’s Government creating the Yozma Fund of Funds: Israel’s Government invested a total of US$ 100 million in 10 VC funds (US$ 10 million per fund) under the condition that these funds had to attract much larger non-Government investment. In total the Yozma Fund of Funds invested US$ 100 million and resulted in a VC fund industry with a total of US$ 17 Billion of VC funds raised since 1993.
There is a relatively large number of Japanese investments in Israeli funds, however, the combined total investment is rather low, approximately 1% of all foreign investments in such funds. Thus there is much scope for increased Japanese investments in Israeli funds and ventures.