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September 24, 2018

Samsung creates AI startup fund to find what's next

PUBLISHED : June 14, 2018 - 10:34

UPDATED : June 14, 2018 - 16:29

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[THE INVESTOR] Samsung NEXT, a venture investment arm of tech giant Samsung Electronics, has recently set up a new fund dedicated to fostering the growth of fledgling artificial intelligence and software startups.

The early-stage venture fund, named Q Fund, is part of the investment unit’s overall US$150 million investment fund, and will be mainly used to invest in technologies that address challenges, including learning in simulation, scene understanding, intuitive physics and robot control, and human computer interaction. 


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Investments will be made mainly in the US, but could later expand to other areas, including Europe and Asia, according to Samsung.

“The creation of the new fund is part of Samsung’s initiatives to seek innovation in new fields,” a Samsung official said.

The latest announcement came after David Eun, the head of the Silicon-based investment unit, was promoted to chief innovation officer last week.

Samsung heir and Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who has been focusing on seeking new growth engines in the face of neck-and-neck competition in the smartphone sector, is said to be behind the decisions on both the promotion and venture fund.

The tech giant has been stepping up its efforts to take its AI capability to the next level to stay competitive against rivals, including Google, Facebook, and Apple, all of which are pouring a great amount of resources in AI and hiring AI researchers all over the world.

The Korean company took over Korean AI chatbot maker Fluently to buff up its AI solution Bixby in November last year and acquired Egyptian AI startup Kngine in March.

It also recently opened AI research laboratories in five global markets -- the US, UK, Russia, Canada and Korea.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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