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Samsung takes wraps off $150 million fund for early startups

The electronic giant's venture arm reveals a new name and says it's investing in young companies targeting VR, AI and the internet of things.

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David Ramos, Getty Images

Are you building the next big thing in virtual reality, artificial intelligence or the internet of things? If so, you probably would be interested in the $150 million fund announced Wednesday by Samsung Next, formerly known as the Samsung Global Innovation Center.

The latest fund targets pre-seed (typically used to build a core team and initial prototypes) to series B investments, David Eun, president and founder of Samsung Next, said in a statement from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Samsung's venture arm on Wednesday also announced its rebranded name and new website.

Samsung Next has had a Silicon Valley presence since 2013, when it was initially called the Open Innovation Center. The group runs an accelerator, forms partnerships and makes acquisitions and investments in startups focused on software and services. It also helps span the gap between the Valley's startup culture and the massive conglomerate. That's a necessary bridge because -- despite being the world's biggest maker of TVs and mobile devices -- Samsung largely remains a mystery. Most people can't tell you the businesses it's in (it makes everything from toasters to tablets) or the names of its executive.

CES attendees can meet the founders and watch demos from some of Samsung's portfolio companies at Eureka Park booth: No. 50231, the company said. These include VR animation company Baobab Studios, cloud gaming and company LiquidSky and IoT services company Filament.

Samsung Next has offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Tel Aviv and in Korea.

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