ZEISS New Venture

ZEISS launches dedicated New Venture operations to invent, develop, and commercialize leading edge technologies for global markets.

© Photo by NASA on Unsplash

ZEISS New Venture

ZEISS New Venture seeks to actively bring together ideas, people, capital, and technologies with the operating capabilities needed to become global market leaders. Supported by megatrends and addressing huge open problems of our time, the Carl Zeiss AG has given a long-term mandate to New Venture to build new businesses, which lie beyond and/or between current core business units of the ZEISS group portfolio.


Early stage | Focus | Active management

ZEISS New Venture typically makes the first investments at early stage with the intent to build lasting new businesses alongside the entrepreneur teams. We fund both, ZEISS internal and external teams and build a venture network among our portfolio companies. Typical ticket sizes are EUR 1 mill – EUR 5 mill and each new investment is accompanied by reserves and commitment for follow-up rounds.  


Early stage | Focus | Active management

The focus are promising stand-alone new businesses with interlinked soft- and hardware components, where the software can enable scaling, digital business models. Our main filter criteria are fit to the ZEISS brand and innovation culture. Current topics of interest are:

  • 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


Early stage | 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:

  • Funding and financing
  • Business strategy
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Recruiting and People Operations
  • R&D and Technology: hard- and software
  • Operations: supply chain & manufacturing  

Mission and Principles

Our New Venture Mission

We strive to actively enable entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions in inventing, developing, and commercializing leading edge technologies for global markets.


Our culture is based on passion and curiosity for technologies. We openly share our excitement about new innovations. Our first identity is that of an innovator. 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. We continuously evolve and broaden these capabilities to push beyond the frontier of what is possible.


We are a purpose-driven venture brand. While we seek to be commercially effective, we will not compromise our brand and the legacy of Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe for financial results, which do not ultimately benefit 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. The backing by the Carl Zeiss Foundation allows us take on more risk than most of our competitors and to sacrifice short-term financial gain for long-term value, when needed. 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 venture operations to maximize the stand-alone value of each venture. We seek to partner with co-investors at all stages of the venture lifecycle. When the time is right, we actively 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 only investor the Carl Zeiss AG.

Portfolio Companies

3D Printing

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

Virtual Reality

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.

Electron Microscope

The world’s fastest multi-beam electron microscope (91 beams).

3D Modelling

DigiBox explores end-to-end digital 3D modelling and visualization of objects in optically realistic quality.
DigiBox explores end-to-end digital 3D modelling and visualization of objects in optically realistic quality.


SmartOptics is exploring and driving the application potential and future of data glasses.
SmartOptics is exploring and driving the application potential and future of data glasses.


Send us your business plan and contact us: busine ssplans @zeiss .com

Dr. Philipp Strack
Head of New Venture



Dr. Danny Krautz
Start-Up Engagement, Events, Innovation Management



Dr. Karl Lamprecht
Senior advisor Finance & Negotiations
Head of Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology


Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke
Senior advisor Business Strategy
President & CEO


Andreas Back
Senior advisor Marketing & Sales
Head of Marketing
Consumer Optics


Dr. Tobias Damm
Senior advisor R&D and Technology: hard- and software


Dr. Marc Wawerla
Senior advisor Operations: supply chain & manufacturing
Chief Operating Officer Vision Care


Dr. Florian Mezger
Senior advisor Recruiting & People Operations
Head of Recruiting


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