ZEISS New Venture seeks to actively bring together ideas, people, capital, and technologies with the operating capabilities of the ZEISS Group to build new businesses.
The ZEISS Group seeks to be a technology and innovation leader in the fields of optics, optoelectronics and precision engineering and in their respective applications. Its core portfolio businesses operate in attractive target markets with long-term growth prospects supported by megatrends.
These megatrends open up huge, new opportunities, which lie beyond and/or between the current core businesses of the ZEISS Group portfolio. ZEISS has given a long-term mandate to its New Venture arm to build new businesses, which address these opportunities.
Focus | Active Management
The focus of our New Venture operations are promising stand-alone new businesses with interlinked soft- and hardware systems, where the software can enable scaling digital business models. We remain opportunity driven and do not limit ourselves to specific topics, but we place a high priority on ventures with a good overall fit to the ZEISS brand and innovation. Current topics of interest include:
- Digital- and augmented reality
- Additive manufacturing quality solutions
- Digital and personal health
- Remote and mobile health diagnostics and solutions
- Eye as a diagnostic window to the body
In most cases, ZEISS New Venture makes the first investments at an early stage with the intent to provide an environment to build lasting new businesses alongside the entrepreneur teams. We fund both, ZEISS internal and external teams and build a network among our ventures. Typical ticket sizes are EUR 1 mill – EUR 5 mill and each new investment is accompanied by reserves and commitment for follow-up rounds.
Focus | Active Management
We manage our ventures actively. We typically assign one responsible Operating Partner with a Board seat to the venture, who actively co-operates with a top management team. Additionally, the Operating Partner provides regular access to a network of Senior Advisors to hands-on support the top management of the venture on their most critical challenges in six functional areas:
- Business strategy
- Finance and negotiations
- Marketing and Sales
- R&D and Technology: hard- and software
- Operations: supply chain & manufacturing
- Recruiting and People Operations
The culture of ZEISS’ New Venture arm is based on passion and curiosity for technologies. ZEISS New Venture looks further, thinks broader and drills deeper than others would. This helps us to anticipate the future and understand complex links impacting the present.
We openly share our excitement about new innovations. We see the investment process as means-to-an end to achieve superior operative performance of our ventures.
We are insight-driven. We develop and apply scientific methods to invent and judge new technologies and future businesses. Many of our people have advanced degrees in the sciences and we seek to continuously evolve and broaden these capabilities to turn them into a competitive advantage for our ventures.
While ZEISS’ New Venture arm seeks to be commercially effective, we will not compromise our brand and the legacy of our founder Carl Zeiss for short-term financial results, which do not ultimately serve a purpose for society at large.
We are in it for the long run. Some of our most successful ventures have required more stamina and dedication of both, entrepreneurs and investor, than most institutions would be able to tolerate. We have no fixed holding times and have the stamina to fund and manage new ventures through economic downturns.
We act as one team. Our best ventures have been global team efforts, in which the joint purpose of the team is put first and the individual interests come second.
We are a reliable and transparent partner for our entrepreneurs. We recognize that building a new business can be as stressful as it can be exciting. We commit to our entrepreneurs and build long-term relationships based on open and candid dialogue and mutual trust.
We pledge to not slow down our entrepreneurs. We make decisions in the face of great uncertainty, recognizing that new businesses need to move fast to succeed.
We run our ventures with the goal to maximize the stand-alone value of each venture. We want to join forces with co-investors, entrepreneur teams, and other partners sharing this goal. When the time is right, we seek those exit opportunities, which maximize the stand-alone of the venture, oblivious to whether the buyer is a ZEISS business or not.
We put the best of ZEISS behind our ventures. We do not make any compromises on people and capabilities, which interface and support our ventures. The ZEISS Group technology portfolio, its global customer and infrastructure base can accelerate our ventures. However, if it ever comes to conflict, we will let the market decide between the venture and the core business. We believe this best serves the interest of our sole investor the Carl Zeiss AG.
A virtual reality headset designed for comfort and simplicity of use, combining premium optics and appealing design. Simply slot in your smartphone and you are ready to go – no adjustments needed.
MultiSEM revolutionizes the speed of electron microscopy. With MultiSEM you unleash the 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 acquire high contrast images automatically, all by itself.
SmartOptics is exploring and driving the application potential and future of data glasses. Building on three unique selling propositions: superior optics, design, and mass manufacturability, the data glass venture seeks to enable premium user experiences for everyday use.
DigiBox explores end-to-end digital 3D modelling and visualization of objects in optically realistic quality. In a future world, where the physical reality increasingly blends in with digital content, DigiBox wants to provide high-quality content for augmented, virtual, and mixed reality applications.
Dr. Philipp Strack
Head of New Venture
Dr. Danny Krautz
Active Sourcing, Events
Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke
President & CEO ZEISS Group
New Venture: Business Strategy
Dr. Karl Lamprecht
Head of Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology
New Venture: Finance & Negotiations
Marketing Consumer Optics
New Venture: Marketing & Sales
Dr. Tobias Damm
New Venture: R&D and Technology: hard- & software
Dr. Marc Wawerla
Chief Operating Officer
New Venture: Operations — Supply Chain & Manufacturing
Dr. Florian Mezger
Head of Recruiting ZEISS Group
New Venture: Recruiting & People Operations