Samsung opens doors to New York accelerator

The Korean electronics giant hosts an event in its new offices in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood to officially launch its outreach to startups in the city.

Samsung opened a new office in New York's Chelsea neighborhood to house its accelerator program. Shara Tibken/CNET
NEW YORK -- Samsung on Monday opened the doors to its New York City accelerator, marking its latest effort to work with startups and to uncover hot innovations.

The company hosted an event for reporters, startups, and other partners in its new seventh-floor office in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. The area houses various other startups, including recent Samsung acquisition Boxee. David Eun, the executive vice president who heads Samsung's Open Innovation Center, kicked off the event, while Boo-Keun Yoon, the Samsung co-CEO who also oversees the company's electronics business, also made some remarks about Samsung's focus on the startup community.

"We know the future is not just about hardware," Eun said at the event. "It's about the thoughtful integration of hardware and software. The Open Innovation Center is focused on driving innovation in software and services. What that means specifically for my group is we are very focused on startups."

The move comes as Samsung tries to establish an innovation edge over its rivals and as it seeks to boost its software efforts. The company has long been on the forefront of hardware advancements but has struggled with software. It's vital for Samsung to hone its capabilities to differentiate its devices from others on the market, particularly as more companies turn to Android. In addition, more value likely will come from software and services in the future as smartphones and other products become commoditized.

For Samsung, setting up an accelerator in New York is a logical step. The company's North American headquarters are based in nearby Ridgefield Park, N.J., and executives often head to the city for meetings and events.

In addition, New York has turned into a sort of mecca for technology startups. Silicon Alley, as it has become known, has drawn hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and has launched many popular products. Hundreds of startups have emerged in the city over the past several years, including hot names such as Tumblr, Foursquare, and Fab.

David Eun, the head of Samsung's Open Innovation Center, kicks off the company's event to launch a new accelerator Monday in New York. Shara Tibken/CNET
Samsung opened a similar accelerator in Silicon Valley in July, less than a year after it established its Open Innovation Center . Along with operating accelerators in Silicon Valley and New York, the group will make investments in early-stage companies, partner with startups, and acquire companies.

Over the past year, the group has made 15 investments, and the Open Innovation Center drove the Boxee acquisition.

Yoon noted during the event that Samsung's startup partners will have access to its strategies, roadmaps, resources, scale, key decision makers, and distribution. In return, Samsung gets an early glimpse into new technology and can steer the companies to make products for its devices.

"This accelerator...represents Samsung's commitment to continuous innovation across every business, function, and division," Yoon said.

 

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