Samsung is founding a startup accelerator in its development center in the Yakum industrial park. Yossi Smoler, head of the Open Innovation Group at Samsung Electronics Israel R&D center in Yakum, and formerdirector of the incubators program in the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of the Economy, is in charge of the accelerator. Samsung is currently looking for 6-10 startups for its firstcohort in the accelerator, which will open towards the end of the year. Registration through the accelerator's website, www.runway.samsung.com, is slated toclose on September 12. The focus is on companies in their early stages, before feasibility studies.
Samsung is looking for ventures in mobile communications, information security, wearable computers, big data, cloud computing, mHealth, biometric identification, wireless charging, and autonomousvehicles. "When took up my postin October 2014, I decided to set up an entity that would findIsraeli companies that were not yet mature and help them reach maturity in order to cooperate with Samsung. The first tool for doing this is the accelerator," Smoler explains, "We'll look for startups whose products are synergetic to Samsung's product line, whether telephones, televisions, or any other product we develop, and see later whether there is room for cooperation between the two sides."
The startups that join the accelerator, in which each cyclewilllast six months, will receive a $50,000 grant (without equity), together with a work site, a laboratory, business and professional advice from mentors from within andoutside Samsung, and perhaps most important of all connections to Samsung business units in South Korea. "This is a real catalyzer, because it will enable the Israeli startups to penetrate the global market on a large scale, through connections within Samsung," Smoler adds.
The accelerator in Yakum is the first of its type in the world launched by Samsung. The startup program in the US, although defined as an accelerator, operates more as an incubator with larger investments, and each cycle lasts 18 months, not six.
Samsung founded its development center in Yakum in 2003. It has three main activities: localization of Samsung products, such as smartphones and tablets for the local market; research and development; and innovation, through which the new accelerator will operate.Samsung also has another R&D center in Ramat Gan, which deals in the development of components. Attachedto this R&D center is the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center managed by Rutie Adar, in which the Samsung Catalyst Incubator operates. The incubator advises startups at the seed stage for 6-12 months, and helps them develop technologies with complete financing in exchange for equity. These technologies include sensors, smart machinery, hardware, algorithmics, etc.
Samsung is also active in investing in startups in Israel through two funds. The first is Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), which has already invested in severallocal startups, including StoreDot, which is developing a charger that can recharge a smartphone in 30 seconds; and Rounds, which is developing an app for group video calls; in addition to investments in Anobit, sold to Apple Computers for $390 million, and more.
The second fund is the Samsung Catalyst Fund, which has so far invested in Mantis Vision, a company operating in 3D photography, in three rounds in the last few years.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 5, 2015
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