Building Solutions-Based Business Models

Message from the General Manager of the New Business Incubation Center

We will accelerate our initiatives to create solutions businesses that leverage the strengths of the Mitsui Chemicals Group by enhancing our business design capabilities and promoting the creation of new businesses by pursuing cross-organizational ties and deepening cross-company partnerships.

We will accelerate our initiatives to create solutions businesses that leverage the strengths of the Mitsui Chemicals Group by enhancing our business design capabilities and promoting the creation of new businesses by pursuing cross-organizational ties and deepening cross-company partnerships.

The New Business Incubation Center has been creating new businesses through collaboration with external partners such as startups and academia that have a high affinity with the Mitsui Chemicals Group, and building and developing solutions-based business models, one of the Basic Strategies of VISION 2030. Launched as a new organizational structure in April 2022, it actively seeks to strengthen internal collaboration by participating in Group-wide strategy meetings in order to further accelerate the creation of new business.
In July 2022, we established a corporate venture capital (CVC) as a new initiative. This CVC, which is called 321FORCE™, will promote not only collaboration with internal and domestic partners, but also strengthen ties with external partners with an eye to the global market. In addition, by utilizing this CVC, we will model an intelligence platform across the entire Group to strengthen our business design capabilities, and through the sharing of entrepreneurial spirit among all employees, the New Business Incubation Center will become the driving force for business portfolio transformation in the VISION 2030 strategy. In this way, we will aim to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society through chemistry.

SAIMOTO Yoshihisa
General Manager, New Business Incubation Center

New Business Incubation Center Organization

New Business Incubation Center Organization

Principal responsibilities of the New Business Incubation Center

  • (1) Exploring and creating new businesses
  • (2) Exploration of new business ideas and early-stage development in all fields, including our four business segments
  • (3) Building and operating an intelligence platform for cross-organizational ties and cross-company partnerships

Methodology for exploring and creating new businesses

The New Business Incubation Center is responsible for new business development in all fields, including the Group’s four business segments. As part of its activities, it actively engages in open innovation, in which we seek external partners, mainly startups, to co-create new businesses with technologies and business models that are not available in-house.
When it comes to new business, we often face technical and business challenges with which we have no experience, in processes of development, manufacturing, and sales. On the other hand, startups aim to create new markets and customers by solving social challenges based on their proprietary technologies and business models. The Mitsui Chemicals Group is actively promoting the “inside-out open innovation,” which refers to initiatives to co-create business while providing missing assets to and mutually complementing external partners such as startups that are approaching new markets and customers with these cutting- edge technologies and business models. In these initiatives, we believe that the key to new business development is to formulate business hypotheses together with our partners and implement Proof of Concept (PoC) as fast as possible.

Outside In: Strengthening existing businesses
Inside Out: Creating new business

New Business Incubation Center initiatives

Solar power generation diagnostic solutions

Using the Mitsui Chemicals Group’s assets, which are knowledge, experience, and data related to solar power generation as described below, we have been providing services for forecasting solar panel degradation and expected power output calculation as a third-party institution in the financing of solar power generation plant.

  • Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello, Inc. offers solar panel encapsulants, which it has manufactured and sold for more than 30 years, and technology for predicting solar panel degradation
  • Experience in the development and operation of solar power generation plant as an operator in Tahara City, Aichi Prefecture since 2014
  • Accumulation of power generation and weather data using demonstration solar power generation plant in Mobara City and Sodegaura City, Chiba Prefecture

As of June 2022, we have contributed to the financing of a cumulative total of approximately 2,000 solar power generation plants (5 GW in capacity). For small-scale solar power generation plants, which are expected to grow in the future, there has been no simple way to accurately forecast power generation. As a result, we were unable to forecast power generation in our portfolio of more than 100 small-scale solar power generation plants. To solve this issue, in August 2021, we began offering a service that enables any user to easily obtain expected power output calculations and reports online, using the latest AI and other technologies. As of June 2022, it has been utilized for acquisitions and financing of over 500 power plants.

Solar power generation diagnostic solutions

Robot solutions

The Robot Solution Department contributes to the robot industry by providing one-stop solutions for functions such as material selection, design, mold fabrication, molding and processing, prototyping, mass production, and evaluation, leveraging the Mitsui Chemicals Group’s knowledge as a comprehensive chemical manufacturer to address social challenges such as resolving labor shortages due to the declining birthrate and aging population, and improving the quality of life of the elderly.

Social contribution case 1

Jointly developed assist suit with Power Assist International Corp. Achieved weight reduction by replacing metal parts with plastic parts. Demonstration test underway at own works.

Outstanding weight reduction by using plastic for structural materials and reducing the number of parts

Social contribution case 2

Developed a model eyeball for glaucoma surgery training (Bionic-EyE™) that faithfully reproduces the feel of the human sclera in partnership with Nagoya University and Tokyo University as part of the Cabinet Office’s ImPACT Program. Helped young physicians gain proficiency at an early stage.

Realized layered structure of human collagen fibers in a model eyeball for glaucoma surgery training

Innovations in cell culture technology

The Marketing & Innovation Department has developed InnoCell™ (oxygen-permeable cell culture vessels) using TPX™ (4-polymethyl- 1-pentene polymer, PMP), which has the highest level of oxygen permeability among plastic materials. Making the base of the cell culture vessels from TPX™ enables about 200 times more oxygen supply capability than when conventional culture plates are used. TPX™ also offers superior releasability, in addition to which precision processing technology prevents the leaching of cytotoxic chemical substances and inhibits drug adsorption. As a result, InnoCell™ products are expected to be suitable not only for research applications but also as a drug discovery assay tool. InnoCell™ creates a way for a new in vitro culture method in which oxygen can be readily supplied. Hopes are high that this method will be used for regenerative medicine research and as a drug discovery support tool, specifically in toxicity testing, pharmacokinetic studies, and efficacy testing.
The high-density, large-scale stem cell culture device developed by startup FullStem Co. Ltd. optimizes the shape and material of nonwovens as scaffolding to enable the large-scale culture of stem cells.
In the next-generation business domain, we are strengthening our solutions business by leveraging our research and development capabilities and assets. We will contribute to the reduction of animal testing and the use of animal raw materials by developing a solutions business that solves customer issues in the medical and drug discovery fields, including testing and drug discovery applications such as culture plates and microfluidic devices, and the synthesis of high-quality stem cells using nonwoven materials.

Innovations in cell culture technology

TopicsEstablished CVC fund 321FORCE™

On July 4, 2022, the Mitsui Chemicals Group established the CVC fund 321FORCE™ together with Global Brain Corporation, one of the leading independent venture capital firms in Japan. The logo represents the idea of raising a flag toward the future and powerfully counting down.
321FORCE™ was established to more actively promote the search for startups globally and to accelerate the creation of new businesses as a Group-wide initiative through investment and information gathering activities from CVC. The New Business Incubation Center will connect 321FORCE™ to the Mitsui Chemicals Group to promote new business development. We plan to invest in all industry sectors—including Life & Healthcare, Mobility, ICT, carbon neutrality, digital transformation, smart cities, and space—and form a broad investment portfolio that includes the startup business stage. We will seek to solve social challenges by combining the chemical expertise that we have cultivated for over 100 years with the innovative technologies, services, and business models of startups.

321FORCE™
At the establishment signing ceremony, with CEO YURIMOTO Yasuhiko of Global Brain on the left
At the establishment signing ceremony, with CEO YURIMOTO Yasuhiko of Global Brain on the left

All employees have an entrepreneurial spirit and communicate ideas to create new businesses
through the concerted efforts of the entire Group.

Building a Group-wide intelligence platform

Building a Group-wide intelligence platform

Access to advanced information across the whole Group
Globally open discussion

Access to advanced information across the whole Group
Globally open discussion