South Korea’s tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. has launched a fund that will mainly invest in artificial intelligence (AI) startups to secure promising technologies and skilled manpower in the AI sector, the company’s next growth engine.
According to industry sources on Thursday, Samsung NEXT, Samsung Electronics’ internal organization in charge of unearthing innovative technologies, recently orchestrated to launch NEXT Q Fund to invest in startups and talents with latest AI technologies.
The company through the fund will not only provide financial support to startups in the AI sector but also connect AI researchers with those startups. The company is expected to dedicate its funding and resources to grooming fledging companies and talents in the field of learning in simulation, scene understanding, intuitive physics, program learning programs, robot control, human computer interaction and meta learning.
The startup incubating program will be led by Samsung NEXT’s new Chief Innovation Officer David Eun. The fund is known to have hired world-renowned deep learning expert David Duvenaud, an assistant professor in computer science and statistics at the University of Toronto and founding and faculty member of the Vector Institute, and Olga Russakovsky, an assistant professor in computer science at the University of Princeton, as advisers in running it.
Industry experts said the new venture fund was launched under the direction of its Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, also apparent heir to the country’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group, to secure new growth engines by bolstering research in new industries, investing in startups and seeking mergers and acquisitions.
The tech giant has recently beefed up its effort to reinforce its AI power. It had hired a number of world-renowned AI talents and established five AI research centers at home and abroad including the U.S., the UK, Canada and Russia. It is planning to add one more in France soon.
By Chun Gyung-woon and Lee Ha-yeon
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