Friday 19 January 2018

Samsung scouts for startups

Samsung Electronics will have a hub in Berlin (AP)
Samsung Electronics will have a hub in Berlin (AP)

Samsung Electronics is opening an office in Berlin that will serve as a hub for scouting start-up investments and acquisitions in Europe.

Samsung NEXT - the South Korean tech giant's $150m venture capital fund - has two investors on the ground in Berlin and is scouting office space for next year, part of a push to invest in and acquire fledgling companies in areas such as connected appliances, AI and augmented reality, said managing director Felix Petersen, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who joined Samsung in April.

"In Europe it's very hard for an entrepreneur to do a $40m, $60m, $80m exit. In the U.S. you can do it as an acqui-hire," Petersen said. "These smaller, deep-tech exits which in Silicon Valley are super-common because the teams already have the relationships with Google and Facebook are harder here. We want to position Samsung as an exit channel here for deep tech."

Samsung, which vies with Apple as the world's top mobile phone maker, has previously acquired start-ups including LoopPay, which became the smartphone payment service Samsung Pay, and home automation startup SmartThings.

Corporate venture capitalists, which typically fund investments from their own treasury instead of seeking outside partners, invested $83.2bn in start-ups globally last year, up from $76.5bn in 2015, according to Global Corporate Venturing Analytics. More than a third of deals between $10m and $99m the past three years have been corporate-backed. SAP's Sapphire Ventures, Google, and are also active in technology investments. (Bloomberg)

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