Tuesday, February 05, 2013

(BN) Samsung Boosting Venture-Capital Funding to $1.1 Billion

(Bloomberg ) Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world's largest maker of mobile phones, said it was boosting venture- capital funding by $100 million to help create new businesses for its unit making memory chips and electronics parts.

The company unveiled the Catalyst Fund for early stage startups, as well as a strategy and innovation center in Menlo Park, California, at an event near the site on Sand Hill Road. The company and affiliates also run the $1 billion Samsung Ventures America Fund.

"We must reach out to global hot spots and global talent," Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of device solutions for Samsung, said at the event. "This is the epicenter of disruptive forces."

Like other companies such as Intel Corp. (INTC), Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., Samsung is trying to use its cash to encourage the development of technology that will benefit its business in the future. Traditional venture-capital investors aren't investing in basic science and technology startups, creating a gap that Samsung intends to help fill, Sohn said.

Samsung's venture arm, now headquartered in Seoul, has more than $1 billion in assets under management and did 20 deals worth $160 million last year, Sohn said. Investments by the new funds will be in the areas of Internet-connected devices, mobile health, computer-human interface, cloud-data centers and mobile privacy, he said.

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