Apical Limited: The Rise of a UK Tech Company

“UKTI and the British Embassy in Tokyo were key to helping us get started here in Japan. Later we teamed up with Business Link Japan to continue our successful run.”

Michael Tusch, CEO, Apical Limited

Founded in 2002 by Michael Tusch, who originally started his career as a researcher in semiconductor quantum theory at Oxford University, Apical Limited has seen the technology they pioneered find its way all over the world in a global expansion.

Tusch attributes the success of his company in Japan to several key factors.

At the time of the company’s establishment digital cameras were just appearing, and Apical had just developed a new technology for cameras based on how the eye works. Japan, widely known for being an early adopter of technology and trends, was the ideal first market.

“Our story is unique because we started out and built our success in Japan first, before breaking into any other markets,” says Tusch. “We knew we had technology that other companies wanted, and the idea of our potential is what gave us the confidence to keep coming back to Japan.”

Apical’s technology was introduced into the DSC and DSLR market by Olympus, Sony and Nikon, and was later adopted by smartphone companies pioneering high-quality cameras including Sony-Ericsson and Sharp.

Tusch highlights the need to have a product that the market wants, and the need for start up companies to persist to gain credibility. “It took a period of about a year for us to develop relationships that led to business,” he stated. “You really have to commit to Japan and have the right attitude for long term business rather than a quick win. We did that with our engineering teams and considering our target customers.”

Reliability is also essential for anyone wanting to do business in Japan. “We showed ourselves to be reliable and trustworthy, and we always did what we said we would do when we said we would it – that is very important.”

“Japan was a good learning experience for us as we learned about how to build good products by working with companies in Japan. We might not have been successful if we had started elsewhere perhaps,” he concludes.

Apical’s current business is in the smartphone market, with research into smart sensors for the next generation of products.


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Apical Limited Case Study