Samsung start-up unit sets up AI venture fund

14 JUN 2018

Electronics giant Samsung announced it set up a venture fund through its US-based innovation unit, Samsung NEXT, to invest in early stage artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups.

In a statement Samsung said the Q Fund will provide seed and series A financing to start-ups solving AI problems, as well as those using AI to solve computer science problems.

Vincent Tang from Samsung NEXT Ventures said: “For the past ten years, we’ve watched software eat the world. Now, it’s AI’s turn to eat software. We’re launching Q Fund to support the next generation of AI start-ups who look to scratch beyond the surface of what we know today.”

The company added the Q Fund represents a departure from how traditional venture capital approaches investments in AI: “with Q Fund, Samsung NEXT Ventures will have the flexibility to invest in non-obvious, forward-thinking approaches to AI instead of the applied AI technologies we see in the market today”.

Samsung said it made several investments in AI from its Samsung NEXT Fund. An initial investment by the Q Fund was recently made in Covariant.AI, which draws on advances in imitation and deep reinforcement learning to teach robots complex skills.

In early June Samsung announced it beefed up its global AI R&D capabilities with the hiring of two prominent experts who teach at universities in the US. The new hires came a week after Samsung announced plans to open three new AI research centres in the UK, Canada and Russia, expanding beyond existing facilities in the US and South Korea.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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