Success Story: Simune / SME / already international and seeking to grow
Simune Atomistics S.L. – from ES
SIMUNE is a company expert in atomistic simulations offering advanced atomic-scale simulation solutions.
SME Activities: Computational Materials Design (consultancy), Professional Support for SIESTA and TranSIESTA (and other DFT codes), SIESTA PRO: solutions for the professional use of SIESTA
Size: 6 people
Interests in Japan: Business Development
SIMUNE is a company expert in ATOMISTIC SIMULATIONS offering advanced atomic-scale simulation solutions for leading industrial, academic and research customers working with materials (semiconductors, energy storage, chemicals, etc.).
SIMUNE was launched as a joint venture of a group of scientific experts and the Nanoscience Cooperative Research Center CIC nanoGUNE (www.nanogune.eu). SIMUNE is based at the nanoGUNE facilities in Donostia - San Sebastián (Spain).
When asked why he chose Japan as a target country, Mr de Bustos explained that Japan is one of the key markets for SIMUNE because Japanese companies are highly technological and are aware that the atomic-scale simulation technologies (mainly DFT) save them cost and time in the early stages of the development of new materials. Hence, for SIMUNE it was evident to consider Japan as one of the key target markets.
WHY Nanotech MISSION?
Before the Nanotech Cluster/SME mission, they had very limited interaction with Japanese companies. Mr de Bustos explained that when you are in Europe, on the other side of the world, working for a newly created spin-off company, without a long track-record in the industry, and with very few means to stand out from the crowd, it is very difficult to get in touch with the right partners in Japan and ask them to spend a bit of their time with you. According to him, it is even more difficult to find the right partner that is interested in your business model, technology and find a match to make business together. However before going to Nanotech mission, SIMUNE initiated a contact with a few Japanese companies and despite all the odds, not only got to meet several Japanese companies whilst staying in Japan, but also signed a partnership agreement with one of them shortly after the programme.
The first agreement they have achieved is to offer SIMUNE's solutions in Japan. In other words, the Spanish entity is now providing professional support and other technological solutions to their Japanese clients for the professional use of SIESTA and TranSIESTA (a computer program to perform efficient electronic structure calculations and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of molecules and solids). According to Mr De Bustos, their technology is really intensive in both scientific and IT know-how, so it requires a relatively long time to achieve the target customers, demonstrate their abilities and to be able to help Japanese customers to solve the materials-design-related problems they are facing. By signing this partnership agreement, the two sides can benefit from a long-term relationship and to get to know each other better, while already interacting with real customers.
As Mr de Bustos puts it, ‘Our experience is really good. We understand each other very well and we feel very comfortable doing business with Japanese companies. Naturally, both sides have their own interest and the timing of the decision-making is sometimes a bit longer than what they would expect, but once the issues are cleared, all things move forward fast.’
Mr de Bustos added that a big advantage of dealing in such a technological-scientific environment is that English is the common language for both the business and the technical side, and this makes it easier to communicate.
CURRENT STATUS – NEXT STEPS
SIMUNE has received funds to develop the project: SIESTA -PRO - Spanish Initiative for Electronic Simulations with Thousands of Atoms: Open Source code with professional support and warranty. The project (RTC-2016-5681-7) has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and has been co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds with the objective to promote the technological development, innovation and quality research. In the foreseeable future, they are planning to grow internationally and would like to be more present in Japan, launching new and innovative products and offering new services.
Interview made with Ander de Bustos, Business Development Manager at SIMUNE (August 2017).