Samsung Eyes VR and AI Startups With £122m Investment Fund

The fund will focus on innovators in the virtual reality, artificial intelligence and internet of things domains

Samsung NEXT is launching a $150 million (£120m) venture capital investment fund to increase the company’s support of software and services startups.

The Korean manufacturer will also be offering other resources to the early stage companies it invests in, such as access to its experts.

Brendon Kim, managing director of Samsung NEXT Ventures, said that the fund “expands our global reach and capabilities, while increasing Samsung’s access to more great ideas, products and talent.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (10)


Software startups

Samsung NEXT – formerly Samsung Global Innovation Centre – will use the fund to target pre-Seed to Series B investments, with a focus on virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).

“We see software and services becoming a core part of Samsung Electronics’ DNA, and start-ups are key to achieving this vision,” said added, President and founder of Samsung NEXT. “Samsung continues to embrace entrepreneurship at all levels and this Fund shows our unwavering commitment to support great start-ups worldwide.”

Companies that have so far received capital from the fund include AI and digital health startup BioBeats, cloud computing and gaming firm LiquidSky and IoT network provider Filament, all of which are currently on show at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.

Samsung has taken big steps to increase its software focus over the last few months. After selling its printer business to HP for $1 billion towards the end of last year, the company announced its intention to purchase AI specialist Viv in a bid to boost AI in its hardware and catch up with the likes of Apple and Google.

In 2016 it also purchased San Francisco-based cloud provider Joyent for an undisclosed sum and pledged to invest £820 million towards helping to develop IoT technologies in North America.

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