Samsung joins growing club of corporate VCs in India; begins with backing 4 startups

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Updated: Jul 10, 2019 10:03 PM

Samsung venture capital arm -- Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC) has joined a large number of foreign and domestic corporate such as SoftBank Group, Alibaba, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, etc., in backing Indian startups.

SVIC has more than 2.2 billion dollars in assets under management as of March 2019.

Samsung, which runs its corporate venture capital arm — Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC) has joined a large number of the foreign and domestic corporate in India backing startups through their venture capital fund. SoftBank Group, Alibaba, Tencent, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Reliance, Times Group, Qualcomm, Intel, Naspers, Target etc., are among the leading conglomerates that have actively backed Indian startups. Flipkart had also earlier this year set up its own fund to back startups.

Large businesses have been investing in Indian startups from a long time either through their own venture capital arms, family office, incubator/accelerator vertical or investing on a standalone basis.

SVIC has started with investing in four Indian startups — smartphone operating system Indus OS, speech analytics company, home automation company Silvan Innovation Labs and an undisclosed computer vision startup. The total funding in four startups stood at $8.5 million.

The investment will be a “win-win for both (Samsung and startups) as it will help startups scale their solutions through this deep engagement while we get an opportunity to enrich our offerings to our consumers,” said Dr. Aloknath De, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Samsung R&D Institute Bengaluru in a statement. 

However, Dr De wasn’t available for additional comments on SVIC.

The four investments have been strategic for Samsung. The company had recently tied-up with Indus OS to launch Samsung’s app store — Galaxy Store powered by Indus App Bazaar. Samsung’s investment in Gnani’s automated speech recognition engine “has the potential to power Samsung’s Bixby vernacular service in the future,” Samsung said in a statement.

Moreover, Silvan’s products and IoT platform that is already installed in more than 6,000 homes and 12 live communities can boost “Samsung’s efforts to have all its products IoT ready by 2020.”

SVIC has more than $2.2 billion in assets under management as of March 2019 even as the company has it will invest $22 billion in areas including AI, 5G, automotive electronics components and biopharmaceuticals in coming three years.

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