Samsung to invest $150m into emerging tech startups globally

Samsung has announced its intention to invest from seed to Series B stages within virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and IoT space via a new $150 million venture capital fund.

Samsung will be investing $150 million into emerging tech startups, the company announced on Wednesday.

The Samsung NEXT Fund will be targeting pre-seed to Series B investments, with a focus on virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other "new frontier technologies". In addition to capital, the fund will provide domain expertise and access to other unspecified resources.

Samsung NEXT has not disclosed the amount startups receive at various stages of their lifecycle, however it has invested in 10 companies thus far: Converge Industries, Dashbot, Entry Point VR, Filament, Intezer, LiquidSky, Otto Radio, 2Sens, SafeDK, and Virtru.

David Eun, founder and president of Samsung NEXT, the division leading the fund, said the company envisions software and services becoming "a core part of Samsung Electronics' DNA" and that startups are key to achieving this.

Brendon Kim, VP and managing director of Samsung NEXT, added that the fund increases the company's access to ideas, products, and talent that could add value to Samsung's ecosystem.

In September, Samsung NEXT, which was formerly known as the Samsung Global Innovation Center, launched its fifth office in Tel Aviv, after establishing offices in Mountain View, New York, San Francisco, and Korea. The company will be expanding into additional locations in 2017.

Samsung has also been strengthening its foothold in the automotive industry, announcing its plans to acquire US auto parts maker Harman International Industries for $8 billion in cash in November 2016, marking the biggest deal in the company's history. Harman and Samsung said the former's experience and clout in the automotive industry combined with latter's experience in mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays, and global distribution channels will create significant growth opportunities.

Park Jong-hwan, head of Samsung's automotive business, stressed that the company's purchase of Harman was part of its strategy to become a tier-1 supplier in the smart car age to come, rather than become an automobile maker. The South Korean tech giant built automobiles during the '90s but sold the business due to the Asian Financial Crisis.