ZEISS Ventures

Enabling tech startup companies to become market-shapers

Our mission

Enable and accelerate the development and commercialization of market-shaping innovations which are between, beyond, or disruptive to the current ZEISS Strategic Business Units

ZEISS Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the ZEISS Group, makes investments and actively manages a portfolio of startup companies. Our goal is to invest in and partner with startup companies to build lasting and sustainable businesses.

Investment strategy

  • We primarily invest in technology-driven startups with interlinked software and hardware systems and potential of scalable business models for global B2B markets.
  • We target investments in startups with a demonstrated product market fit (e.g., pre-Series A / Series A) or at least a market-validated technology. We are open to make investments with other investors via joint ventures or venture capital rounds.
  • Typical deal sizes vary between 500k – 5 million Euro. In terms of criteria, we apply a healthy mix of criteria whether a venture is unique, compelling, scalable and relevant for ZEISS.

Our search clusters

We focus on opportunities that are between, beyond, or disruptive to the core strategic business units of the ZEISS Group.

Advanced sensor and data solutions

Advanced sensor and data solutions

Business topics
Integrated solutions of sensors, application specific analysis as well as data acquisition capabilities

Application focus
Sensors & data solutions in industry automation and digitized healthcare applications, primarily in surgery & ophthalmology

Example applications
Surgical Robots
Microsurgery
Ophthalmology
Organ-on-a-chip
Vision Care
Additive Manufacturing

 AI applications for image data & workflows

AI applications for image data & workflows

Business topics
Business model innovation based on data & workflows analytics, disrupting existing business processes and workflows to create embedded solutions increasing revenues and loyalty of our customers

Application focus
Data processing and workflow improvements in health and industry

Example applications
Image analysis tools
Medical images diagnostics
Machine vision
Vision Care
Predictive maintenance and production

Devices and diagnostics in life science

Devices and diagnostics in life science

Business topics
Combined hardware / software topics as well as platform plays, innovative business models especially with recurring revenues

Application focus
Life Sciences industry, healthcare, direct-to-consumer where applicable, primarily in surgery and ophthalmology

Example applications
In-vitro diagnostics
Personalized medicine
Tissue engineering
Remote monitoring & diagnostics
Food processing
Automated farming

Logo Vibrosonic

Vibrosonic

MEMS-based hearing contact lens

Vibrosonic is specialized in developing hearing aid technology that offer superior sound quality and enables people with hearing loss to participate in their daily life without limitations. This is made possible by the world's first MEMS-based loudspeaker that is placed directly on the eardrum - without surgery - transmitting sound straight and uninterrupted to the middle and inner ear.

Past ZEISS ventures

  • Bridger Photonics LiDAR Solutions
  • MultiSEM Electron Microscope

    MultiSEM

    Electron microscope

    ZEISS MultiSEM revolutionizes the speed of electron microscopy. MultiSEM allows you to unleash an acquisition speed of up to 91 parallel electron beams. Now you can image samples in the centimeter scale at nanometer resolution. This unique scanning electron microscope (SEM) is designed for continuous, reliable 24/7 operation. Simply set up your high-throughput data acquisition workflow and your MultiSEM will capture high-contrast images automatically, all by itself.

  • ZEISS RealScan Technologies

    ZEISS RealScan Technologies

    3D photorealistic digital twins

    ZEISS Virtual Media  explores end-to-end digital modelling and visualization of objects in realistic    quality. In the future, where physical reality increasingly blends with digital  content, Realscan aims to provide high-quality content for augmented, virtual and mixed-reality applications.     

  • iTrap Real time process control for semiconductor processes

    iTrap

    Real time process control for semiconductor processes

    The venture develops and sells precise concentration measurement solutions for business applications in the semiconductor industry. The iTrap is a highly sensitive process analyzer based on a Fourier Transform mass spectrometer. It monitors reaction products and chamber health in real time.

  • Nanoscribe 3D printing

    Nanoscribe

    3D printing

    Nanoscribe offers high-precision 3D printing solutions in microfabrication by drawing on a disruptive 3D printing technology with user-friendly software and innovative materials that enable research and industry to innovate through additive manufacturing.

  • Opteyes Individualized Eyecare Solutions

    Opteyes

    Individualized eyecare solutions

    Opteyes aims to provide a  compelling and individualized  end-to-end digital eyecare  journey for spectacle wearers  in China.

  • Bridger Photonics LiDAR Solutions

    Bridger Photonics

    LiDAR Solutions

    Bridger Photonics  provides  precision LiDAR solutions  to enable new capabilities  and improved effi ciency for  industrial metrology and oil  and gas applications.

Venture principles

We manage our ventures according to 10 principles

  • We can start building a business from as early as the first validated market-product fit. Our goal is to manage and invest across the entire venture life cycle until we have established a resilient business operation.

  • We focus on ventures which are relevant for ZEISS. Our relevance criteria are a healthy mix of whether the venture is a great stand-alone business (unique, compelling, and scalable) complemented with a set of potential benefits for the ZEISS Group, such as whether it might generate options for future business development, drive a disruption to a current ZEISS strategic business unit, and/or build/access new capabilities for ZEISS.

  • We run our ventures with the goal of maximizing their value. We want to join forces with entrepreneurs, co-investors, and other partners with the same goal. Once the venture has become a resilient business, we are open to passing on our venture to the best natural owner, no matter whether the buyer is a ZEISS business or not.

  • We assign dedicated owners to each venture, who (i) bring in skills and experience to drive the value of the venture and (ii) provide access to the ZEISS world, including the supporting functions and the international network of assets and people.

  • We strive to be a highly determined and informed investor and look for the non-obvious secrets underlying the investment thesis of each venture. We do not engage in “spray-and-pray” statistical investing.

  • Success for us is generally independent of whether the idea was invented at ZEISS or not. We want to acquire the best ideas and the best people for ZEISS regardless of where they come from.

  • While ZEISS Ventures seeks to be commercially effective, we will not compromise our brand and the ZEISS culture of thinking long-term for short-term financial motivations alone.

  • We act as a team. Our best ventures have been global team efforts in which the joint goal of the team is put first and individual interests come second. We commit to our entrepreneurs and build long-term relationships based on open and candid dialogue and mutual trust.

  • We strive to make decisions based on judgement in the face of great uncertainty and incomplete facts, recognizing that new businesses need to move fast to succeed.

  • ZEISS Ventures consistently follows the annual strategy process of the ZEISS Group. Investments are made by adhering to a set of search clusters and investment hypotheses. Two Executive Board members are members of the Venture Board, supported by the ZEISS Ventures Management team that actively enables the internal and external ventures organized as a portfolio of startup business units in order to realize their mission.

Our team

A diverse, international team with a great mix of backgrounds to cope with the different matters across our portfolio

Dr. Karl Lamprecht

President & CEO ZEISS Group and Chairman ZEISS Ventures

Gerrit Schulte

Head of ZEISS Ventures