Along with building the Bixby voice assistant, Samsung also plans to invest in AI startups. The company on Wednesday said its Silicon Valley-based Samsung NEXT business has launched a new fund to invest in early-stage startups "solving AI problems, as well as those using AI to solve computer science problems." The Q Fund doesn't have a cap, but it falls under Samsung NEXT's overall $150 million investment fund. The new AI fund will invest only in seed and series A investments, the earliest stages of a startup's operations. Such investments typically are up to $1 million, though the Samsung NEXT fund managers can invest more, as well.
A man walks at the Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul January 7, 2015. Samsung wants to use some of its US 61 billion (RM246 billion) in cash and equivalents to help it morph into more of a software-driven company, executive vice president Rhee In Jong said in an interview. The South Korean consumer-electronics giant also is spending more to develop its own services because the global market for gadgets is saturated and can't be counted on for significant revenue growth, he said. "We are actively looking for M&A targets of all sorts in the software area," said Rhee, who runs the mobile division's research-and-development business. "We are open to all possibilities, including artificial intelligence.
Samsung Electronics Co. is "actively looking" to acquire developers of artificial intelligence and other software as the world's biggest smartphone maker tries to overcome flat-lining sales for its devices. Samsung, which has 61 billion in cash and equivalents, wants to morph into more of a software-driven company, Executive Vice President Rhee In Jong said in an interview. The South Korean consumer-electronics giant also is spending more to develop its own services because the global market for gadgets is saturated and can't be counted on for significant revenue growth, he said. "We are actively looking for M&A targets of all sorts in the software area," said Rhee, who runs the mobile division's software research-and-development business. "We are open to all possibilities, including artificial intelligence.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. Earlier this month, Samsung announced a $150 million fund dedicated to startups, providing more ammo for its business development program Samsung NEXT (previously named the Global Innovation Center). In true do-it-all Samsung fashion, the Korean tech giant uses NEXT for involvement from incubation, mentoring and investment to partnerships and acquisitions for game-changing new technologies.
Related: Samsung's Lee Jae-yong returns from Hong Kong, Japan David Eun as new Chief Innovation Officer at Samsung NEXT 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.