Samsung pumps in $1.1 billion to find Silicon Valley magic

In a bid to make its presence felt in the heart of the tech world, Silicon Valley, Samsung is expanding its presence in the Bay Area with a new $100 million venture fund. The fund will invest in early-stage startups, particularly those in the fields of remote computing, mobile privacy and security.

The company believes its latest investment offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to use Samsung’s resources, including R&D labs, marketing muscle and brand value. The fund, called Samsung Catalyst Fund, will work alongside the already-existing $1 billion Samsung Venture Fund, which already helps mould and nurture startups.

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Samsung is looking to make a big splash in Silicon Valley

It is important to be in Silicon Valley,” said Young Sohn, the leader of the latest initiative and President and Chief Strategy Officer of Device Solutions in the company. “This is the epicenter of disruptive forces. And we want to make sure we are part of the disruptive forces.

A press communique stated: “The new Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC), new $100 million Samsung Catalyst Fund, $1 billion Samsung Ventures America Fund, and Samsung’s international R&D centres create a powerful platform for igniting global innovation.

As reported by Reuters, Samsung has already identified an investable idea by a professor in Wyoming and the company intends to fund the creation of his company, though what that idea is hasn’t been revealed yet. The new Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center will be based in California and will work in conjunction with offices in Korea and Israel. “We see tremendous opportunities and transformations over the next five years driven by Big Data centered around mobility, cloud, and the internet, and Samsung will be a significant part of this revolution,” said Sohn.

This is an exciting opportunity for us to engage with entrepreneurs and innovators and empower them to leverage Samsung’s technology and global brand presence to bring our collective visions to market. Our role is not to be an incubator,” Sohn said, adding that the new setup would function more like a seed investment fund, rather than just nurturing ideas. “We are going to be bringing expertise to these companies.

To give impetus to the Samsung Catalyst Fund, SSIC will be launching a competition called SamsungCreate Challenge later in the year. The aim of the contest is to encourage artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators to leverage Samsung’s existing infrastructure and resources to create new and innovative products–whether they are art, a new breakthrough in mobile technology or fancy gizmos.

Importantly, Samsung is putting its money where its mouth is. The contest winners will be awarded a total of $10 million in seed investments and will get support from SSIC’s Innovation and Technology Fellows and Samsung R&D technologists at every stage.


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