|No.74 March 1, 2004|
|The Role of Venture Businesses in Supporting the Commercialization of Nanotechnology|
We have made a comparative analysis between Japan and the United State based on a list of nanotech ventures that have made their appearance in major conferences and the media in the United States and Japan. Although the number of the newly created business ventures is still larger in the United States, the difference between the two countries is small--actually coming down to fewer than 10 companies.
However, a comparison of the characteristics of newly inaugurated ventures reveals some major differences in the United States and Japan. These gaps essentially involve differences in terms of the innovative aspects of the core technologies underlying the business, the technological fields of their activities, and the format of business creation, i.e., whether spun off from a private corporate or established from university basis.
As the United States is some 15 to 20 years ahead of Japan with respect to the various policies targeted at encouraging venture start-ups, considerable progress has been made in accumulating know-how and fostering human resources related to the creation of venture firms. Moreover, a phenomenon in which venture businesses themselves lead to the creation of even newer ventures has also started to emerge.
As there are a number of differences in the environment surrounding business creation between Japan and the United States, cases developed along the US model should not necessarily be viewed as precedents to be followed. However, a further vitalization of venture creation (start-ups) is necessary in order for Japan to prevent nanotech developments from ending up as mere technology. Furthermore, the goal should be to commercialize and create businesses out of nanotechnology by overcoming the Valley of Death and the Darwinian Sea syndromes that typically must be crossed in the course of high-tech business creation.