Samsung Increases Investments in Israel

Article Summary
Two venture capital funds operated by Samsung will expand their presence in Israel, with one of them already acquiring an Israeli startup.

Samsung plans to increase its investments in Israel through three different investment arms — a new seed accelerator designed to support technology startups, and two venture capital funds, which will expand their activity in Israel, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Samsung Ventures. This was reported just a day after The Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung had held secret negotiations on the acquisition of the Israeli startups Rounds and, which ultimately did not come to fruition.

Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Device Solutions at Samsung Electronics, who is visiting Israel these days, has announced the first investment in Israel by Samsung Catalyst Fund, a new fund established earlier this year with the aim of investing in young companies around the world, which is managed by Young himself. For its first investment in Israel, a veteran company has been selected — Mantis Vision Ltd., which develops a 3-D scanner designed for installation on mobile devices.

The Israeli startup was established in 2006, and has already raised millions of dollars from the Chief Scientist, the BIRD Foundation and private investors, among them Managing Director of Shamrock Israel Growth Fund Arie Ovadia. The Israeli business daily Calcalist has learned that Samsung Catalyst Fund invested in two other Israeli startups, whose names are to be made known shortly. The Catalyst Fund is expected to invest in activities that touch on those of Samsung research and development center in Israel, which deals with the development of mobile hardware technology and hardware components for cameras. Samsung R&D center is located in the city of Ramat Gan in the metropolitan Tel Aviv area.

Seed accelerator to be set up in Israel 

Samsung has been active in Israel for years, not only through its R&D center, but also via its venture capital fund Samsung Ventures. According to the IVC-Online database, Samsung Ventures invested in the past in MCL, Radvision, StoreDot and Anobit — the latter eventually sold to Samsung’s competitor, Apple. In addition, Samsung is one of the investors in the new fund of Pitango Venture Capital — its sixth fund, closed at $ 270 million — officially launched today (Oct. 9).

Samsung Ventures is expected to further expand its activity in Israel. Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra, originally from Spain, who leads Samsung Ventures investments in Israel, frequently visits Israel. De Azagra is currently staying in Israel to discuss potential investments with a number of local startups. In July, Samsung also acquired the Israeli startup Boxee for cloud-based digital video recording.

In addition, Samsung is expanding its operations in Israel through a new seed accelerator, to be set up in the company’s local R&D center. The seed accelerator (which is a startup incubator) will examine various technologies submitted by the industry or the academia with the view of promoting their development. Samsung is not limiting itself to hardware and mobile only, and will explore Israeli technologies in the fields of medical equipment and the Internet, as well.

The seed accelerator will be managed by Amit Baruch, CEO of Samsung Semiconductor Israel, along with Ruth Adar, director of business development at Samsung Semiconductor Israel R&D Center. Other Samsung officials on the delegation who arrived in Israel earlier in October are T. S. Zhang, CTO of the company’s Mobile Services Division, and Shankar Shandran, CEO of Samsung Catalyst Fund.

No comment has been received from Samsung in response to the report.

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Found in: israeli technology industries, israeli economy, internet, high tech, computers, business
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