The company has committed $100m to the Catalyst Fund for early-stage start-ups, which may be available to university startups.
Samsung Electronics, a South Korea-based conglomerate, has added a $100m corporate venturing fund backing US early-stage entrepreneurs to support its memory chips and electronics parts business. The company has committed $100m to the Catalyst Fund for early-stage start-ups. Samsung has also set up a Strategy and Innovation centre in Menlo Park, California, to complement an accelerator on content run by David Eun in Palo Alto. The fund is aimed at developing unproven technologies for components and subsystems used in Samsung products. According to news provider MIT Technology Review, the company is already considering making an investment in a Wisconsin-based academic. Young Sohn (pictured), president and chief strategy officer of device solutions for Samsung, will head up the innovation centre in the US, as well as peers in Korea and Israel and with potential launches in Boston and Austin in the US and Cambridge in the UK, according to a press briefing attended by New York Times. Sohn joined Samsung in September after being chief executive at chip maker Inphi, which had been a Samsung portfolio company, and his LinkedIn profile says he remains a board member at UK-listed chip company Arm. At an event to launch the funds, Sohn told newswire Bloomberg: “We must reach out to global hot spots and global talent. This [Menlo Park] is the epicentre of disruptive forces.” Traditional venture capital investors aren’t investing in basic science and technology startups, creating a gap that Samsung intends to help fill, Sohn reportedly added. Its corporate venturing unit completed 20 deals last year and invested $160m, Bloomberg said. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC) has $1bn under management and is led by Woi Hong Choi, chief executive and a member of the Powerlist 100. From its website, SVIC said its portfolio included 39 companies in semiconductors; 32 in IT; 17 in software; six in internet services; one in contents; eight in biotech; and 15 others, such as electric car maker Tesla. Article originally from our sister site Global Corporate Venturing. Additional editing by Gregg Bayes-Brown.