The word AI (Artificial Intelligence) has become a hot topic in recent years. Although we often hear the names of large IT companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Apple, it is not only large companies that have AI technology. This time, I would like to introduce a business model in which a venture company with AI technology and a large company that makes things cooperate in joint development.

If you want to start an AI-related venture company or if you are interested in open innovation, please read it.

What is open innovation?

Open innovation is an innovation that combines not only your company but also external technologies and knowledge to create innovative things. By linking with outsiders, it is possible to introduce completely new ideas that were not available to the company, and since start-up companies can concentrate on specific fields, many companies and universities are engaged in open innovation, mainly overseas. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also supports open innovation, and in the 2017 supplementary budget, a guideline to support two-thirds of the joint development costs as “AI system joint development support project expenses” was shown.

What are the characteristics of AI venture companies?

The venture companies developing AI systems are specialized in the fields of IT and software, and have the technology and knowledge that large companies involved in manufacturing do not have. In addition, as a strength of being a venture company, it also has an immediate stress that enables quick decision-making.

Japan, which tends to lag overseas in the IT and software fields, has seen an increase in these venture companies in recent years.

What are the characteristics of large companies?

On the other hand, large companies that make things have manufacturing technology, a large amount of data accumulated over many years, and assets, which are very attractive to venture companies. These large Japanese companies that specialize in hardware are highly competitive in the world.

Domestic Venture 1: Preferred Networks (Preferred Networks)

Preferred Networks is a Japanese venture company formed by over 100 engineers in the 20s to 30s. Founded in 2014 and still has a short history, but has received attention in the field of development such as data processing network using deep learning (deep learning), estimated company in the unlisted companies ranking of Nihon Keizai Shimbun in November 2017 Its value exceeded 200 billion yen and was the first. Attention is focused on the development of machine tools and automobile transportation systems that use deep learning processing, and we are promoting partnerships with large Japanese companies such as Toyota Motors, Mitsui & Co., NTT, Hitachi, and others. Toyota Motor, which is attracting attention for its increased investment in the field of autonomous driving, has been jointly developing with Preferred Networks since 2014, and invested ¥ 10.5 billion in August 2017.

Domestic Venture 2: PKSHA Technology

PKSHA Technology is an AI development venture company from the University of Tokyo consisting of dozens of engineers established in 2012. We have developed algorithms related to natural language processing, image recognition, machine learning, deep learning, etc. We provide a combination of several algorithms according to the needs of companies. It specializes in the IT field and has partnerships with companies such as Recruit Holdings, NTT, and LINE. In September 2017, Toyota Motor also decided to invest 1 billion yen in PKSHA Technology.


In the field of AI, it is said that Japanese companies lag behind overseas, but AI’s venture companies like those mentioned above are appearing one after another in Japan. The business model of “AI venture company × large company” as introduced this time may not be one way for Japan to find a way in the field of AI development.

As the field of AI becomes more active, more and more people want to study the mechanism of AI and the programming that is the foundation of AI. We have a variety of programming courses at Internet Academy, so if you are interested, please join us for free trial lessons.


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