Samsung launches $150M fund for startup collaboration

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Samsung has launched a $150 million venture capital investment fund to expand its partnerships and collaborations with fintech startups.

The Samsung NEXT Fund targets pre-Seed to Series B investments with a focus on virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. The aim is the allow the electronics giant to grow its innovation platform by providing entrepreneurs with funding, resources and expertise.

“We see software and services becoming a core part of Samsung Electronics’ DNA, and startups are key to achieving this vision,” David Eun, president and founder of Samsung NEXT, said in a Jan. 5 news release.

That follows one of the banking industry’s biggest themes of 2016: partnerships. Many of the largest banks have created investment funds and accelerators as a way of acquiring talent they don't have and producing new services more quickly than they could alone, while maintaining a competitive advantage.

“Our investments bring the power of the Samsung platform to startups to accelerate their growth and ultimately their success,” Brendon Kim, managing director of Samsung NEXT Ventures, said in the release. “The Samsung NEXT Fund expands our global reach and capabilities, while increasing Samsung’s access to more great ideas, products and talent.”

In an interview last year, Samsung Pay executives shed light on how their background in banking shapes the company’s payments strategy.

The announcement coincides with a rebranding of the Samsung Global Innovation Center to Samsung NEXT. The group has teams in Mountain View, Calif., San Francisco, New York, Tel Aviv and Korea and plans to continue expanding in 2017.

The fund has already contributed financial support to startups Converge Industries, Dashbot, Entry Point VR, Filament, Intezer, LiquidSky, Otto Radio, 2Sens, SafeDK and Virtru.

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