Israel to Be 1 of 3 Focus Regions for New $100 Million Samsung Seed Fund

New Samsung Catalyst Fund will announce a start-up competition later this year that will distribute $10 million in seed investments to winners.

Orr Hirschauge
Orr Hirschauge
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Orr Hirschauge
Orr Hirschauge

Samsung Electronics announced on Tuesday the launch of a new company-owned seed investment fund that will focus on three geographic areas: California's Silicon Valley, Massachusetts - and Israel.

The $100 million Samsung Catalyst Fund will operate out of Samsung's research and development centers in Israel, the United States and South Korea.

The new fund will nurture early stage start-ups to create new businesses, form strategic partnerships make strategic investments and acquisitions, Samsung said.

The fund will focus its investments on companies in the fields of cloud computing infrastructure, human-machine interface technology, and cyber-security and will work alongside the $1 billion Samsung Ventures America Fund, Samsung's principal investment fund.

"Our role is not to be an incubator," Samsung President Young Sohn told Reuters in an interview. "We are going to be bringing expertise to these companies." Young also serves chief strategy officer of Samsung's device solutions unit, and will be leading the new seed fund.

Samsung intends to provide early stage companies with access to the corporate giant's organizational resources by way of its seed fund, including its R&D, marketing and branding muscle. As its first move, the fund will launch a start-up competition later this year with winners to receive seed investments totaling $10 million. 

Last summer, Samsung opened an innovation center Silicon Valley's Menlo Park for the scientists and entrepreneurs it funds. The company is also expected to launch a start-up accelerator program that will operate in close proximity to the center.  

Young Sohn, president and chief strategy office of device solutions for Samsung Electronics, speaks during a news conference for the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center in CA in Feb., 2013.Credit: Reuters