What Samsung NEXT is looking for in startups
This was translated from an article originally published by Época NEGÓCIOS.
Big companies have already understood that investing, acquiring and accelerating startups is a card well played for their business. Whether due to the smaller structure or greater flexibility, they are often more capable of innovating than companies already well established. Samsung has been using these strategies for quite a while now. In 2013, Samsung NEXT was created with a goal of investing in or acquiring startups.
Samsung NEXT principal Amit Garg attended a Corporate Venture event in Brazil conducted by Apex on October 4, 2017, and briefly shared what the company is looking for.
“What did Samsung do when it was created more than 60 years ago? It sold Noodles and sugar. Nowadays, it’s a technology company with a market value of billions of dollars. It was able to reinvent itself, and transform itself multiple times”, said Garg. And that movement has not ended. If Samsung is known by its hardware, the main focus of this [Samsung NEXT] arm is the software. Until today, 60 investments, 15 acquisitions and 8 exits have been made.
According to Garg, the company is currently looking for innovative companies in the augmented reality, virtual reality, internet of things, security, digital health, data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain fields.
Samsung NEXT has two fronts: investments and acquisitions, which, in accordance with Garg, act separately. With acquisitions, the challenge is to maintain the startups’ autonomy and ability to innovate, even if they are part of a new company.
In this regard, a “one-size-fits-all” model is not the right way to approach it. “In some cases, the startups are incorporated with us [Samsung NEXT] instead of Samsung. In other instances, they continue to function at the original office, ” states Garg.
The executive shared that he’s still in Sao Paulo to evaluate the possibility of setting up an office here. Today, there are units in New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Berlin and Korea.
“Realistically, I think we still have a few years to go. It won’t happen next year”, says Garg.