How Samsung NEXT is celebrating the holidays
The holidays are upon us, and all around the world, Samsung NEXT has been making merry with our portfolio companies and the broader tech ecosystem. In New York, Silicon Valley, Europe, and Tel Aviv, we’ve hosted events and partnered with other venture firms and tech leaders to share some holiday spirit.
Making merry and giving back
In Europe and Silicon Valley, we gave back to our community by offering holiday parties for startups too small to throw their own. These events enable us to show early-stage founders what their holiday parties may look like in a few years.
Our Berlin team decided to share some seasonal goodwill by hosting the first-ever “Make a Merry” holiday event. Guided by the mantra that “no startup should be alone for the holidays,” the intimate festive gathering targeted Berlin’s hard-working early-stage startups. The event brought together over 100 startups from across the ecosystem, including members of accelerator programs like APX and Google for Startups.
Guests were invited to take part in an evening of activities centered around building community and connections. That included a gingerbread house-building challenge, helping chefs prepare and serve dishes to fellow guests, as well as sharing and supporting one another as they took to the mic with Berlin’s renowned “Bear Pit Karaoke.”
Meanwhile in Silicon Valley, for the third consecutive year Samsung NEXT sponsored Startup Festivus, a holiday party organized by early-stage VC firm Bloomberg Beta. This year was one of the biggest Festivus gatherings to date, with more than 430 early-stage founders, venture capitalists, and operators attending the party at Github in the heart of San Francisco.
There were 5 different food stations, and activities such as DYI Xmas Card, DYI Snow Globe, as well as DYI Xmas Decorations. The cocktails were creative and VERY tasty, and as always the energy was amazing!
We have long been supporters of All Raise and love how they started a movement of women to empower other women. That’s why we hosted the All Raise East Coast Holiday gathering in New York as a way to help match women founders to funders.
Union Square Ventures general partner Rebecca Kaden, who is one of the founding members of All Raise, gave a moving speech about the inception of All Raise as a grassroots movement, and the event brought together badass women founders and investors from Boston, DC, and New York.
According to data from Pitchbook, startups founded by women received just 2.8 percent of all VC investments in 2019 — which is actually up from 2.2 percent in 2018. There is still a lot of work for us to do with organizations like All Raise to close the fundraising gap for women founders, which is why we’re proud to support the organization with events like this.
Office parties and holiday cheer
Also in New York, we hosted a holiday party for NEXTers and friends on December 18th at The W Loft in Brooklyn, which had awesome views of the NY skyline. Everyone in the office wore their finest cocktail attire to take a load off and celebrate an amazing 2019. We were fortunate to be joined by everyone in our office including SmartThings, SamsungXR, portfolio and guest company employees, and our president, David Eun. We danced the night away to tunes by DJ 8PM while enjoying raffles, a photo booth, and a magician.
Back in San Francisco, we brought together one hundred members of the team and community to celebrate another year of growth fueled by some big bets and hard work. We hosted a party at the Midway where we asked guests to arrive in Great Gatsby attire and enjoy a live DJ, a festive photo booth, a hosted bar, and many delicious small bites.
Last but not least, our Tel Aviv office celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with a menorah-lighting ceremony over the weekend. The eight-day holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C.
According to the Talmud, the Jews who took part in the rededication of the Second Temple witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply.
Members of the Tel Aviv team gathered to witness the menorah lighting, share snacks, and enjoy an evening together at the start of the holiday.
On behalf of NEXT team members everywhere, we want to thank everyone who was able to join us at these events. In whatever way you celebrate with your loved ones, we hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.