Samsung reveals $150m Next Fund for AI, VR and IoT start-ups

5 Jan 201713 Shares

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Punters checking out Samsung Gear VR headsets at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Image: catwalker/Shutterstock

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Korean consumer tech giant Samsung is making a big bet on the future and has revealed a new $150m Next Fund, geared to support emerging and early-stage AI, VR and internet of things start-ups.

Samsung is no slouch when it comes to investing in or acquiring new frontier technology companies.

In 2014, for example, the company acquired former Spark of Genius winner SmartThings for around $200m.

At CES in Las Vegas this week, the Next Fund is showcasing some of Samsung’s latest investments in start-ups.

‘The Samsung Next Fund expands our global reach and capabilities, while increasing Samsung’s access to more great ideas, products and talent’
– BRENDON KIM

But now Samsung wants to go deeper into the start-up ecosystem, by creating a $150m global fund aimed at early-stage companies and emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, internet of things and other frontier technologies.

Investing in the next generation

“We see software and services becoming a core part of Samsung Electronics’ DNA, and start-ups are key to achieving this vision,” said David Eun, president and founder of Samsung Next Ventures.

“Samsung continues to embrace entrepreneurship at all levels and this fund shows our unwavering commitment to support great start-ups worldwide.”

The Samsung Next fund will target investments from pre-seed to Series B.

Companies that have received capital from the fund so far include: Converge Industries, Dashbot, Entry Point VR, Filament, Intezer, LiquidSky, Otto Radio, 2Sens, SafeDK and Virtru.

“Our investments bring the power of the Samsung platform to start-ups to accelerate their growth and ultimately their success,” said Brendon Kim, VP and managing director of Samsung Next.

“The Samsung Next Fund expands our global reach and capabilities, while increasing Samsung’s access to more great ideas, products and talent.”

In September, the fund launched its newest office in Tel Aviv.

The new location is the fifth for the organisation, which currently has teams in Mountain View, New York, San Francisco and Korea.

Samsung Next will open additional locations in 2017.

“We’re very passionate about partnering with start-ups and developing meaningful relationships in start-up ecosystems around the world,” said Emily Becher, managing director of Samsung Next Start and head of Samsung Next’s international expansion.

“We leverage local experts to fuel traction and drive scale for start-ups right where they are.”

Punters checking out Samsung Gear VR headsets at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Image: catwalker/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com