South Korea’s SK networks invests in U.S. AI startup

2023.03.10 11:23:01 | 2023.03.10 13:35:51

Investment signing ceremony between SK networks and Humane [Photo provided by SK networks]이미지 확대

Investment signing ceremony between SK networks and Humane [Photo provided by SK networks]

SK networks Co., a major mobile device distributor in South Korea, invested in a U.S. artificial intelligence startup.

SK networks announced on Thursday that it initiated both direct and indirect investments totaling $22 million in the Series C funding round pursued by Humane Inc. through its U.S. investment subsidiary, Hico Capital LLC, for a 2.6 percent stake. Humane was founded in 2018 by engineers from Apple Inc.

“This investment in Humane will enable us to establish a cooperative system with business-to-consumer and business-to-business companies that utilize AI computing solutions,” said Samuel Kim, managing director of Hico Capital. “We will raise corporate value by strategically expanding our investment in technology companies centered in Silicon Valley.”

Humane is looking forward to seeing how the company’s innovation will expand globally, including Korea, through this partnership, said Imran Chaudhri, a co-founder of Humane.

LG Technology Ventures LLC, the venture capital investment arm of LG Group, also participated in the Series C funding round. SK networks will cooperate with Humane through information technology device distribution network, while LG will establish a cooperative relationship in the home tech research and development sector.

SK networks’ investment is part of a $100 million Series C funding round that attracted new investors ahead of the U.S. startup’s reveal of its initial product offering this spring, Humane said in a separate statement. Microsoft Corp. and Volvo Tech Cars Fund also joined the funding, along with existing investors, such as Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI that developed ChatGPT.

By Seong Seung-hoon and Yoon Yeon-hae

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