Samsung to plow $1.1B into venture funding, open Silicon Valley innovation center

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Samsung Electronics said it will invest $1.1 billion in two venture capital funds and open an innovation center in Silicon Valley as part of an effort to boost its U.S. presence even further and invest in areas ranging from cloud computing to mobile privacy.

The electronics conglomerate--the world's largest handset and smartphone maker by volume--said it will launch a Strategy and Innovation Center (SSIC) in Menlo Park, Calif., focused on innovation largely in hardware and components.

Separately, Samsung unveiled a $100 million commitment to a new Samsung Catalyst Fund, which will be used to fund startup companies focused on components and subsystems. The company will also invest $1 billion in its American Ventures America Fund, which will be directed toward companies in mobile, cloud and connected device markets. It is unclear though how much of the $1 billion fund is new commitments since the fund has been investing for a while already.

The innovation center will be led by Samsung's president and chief strategy officer, Young Sohn, who held a press conference Monday to tout the new initiatives. "We are in a very disruptive time," he said, according to AllThingsD, adding that Samsung wants to be on the right side of that change. "We want to be a leader in innovation."

"Much of our innovation in the past was done in Korea, because that's where the company began. That's where a lot of the engineers are," Sohn added in explaining the geographical shift in emphasis for innovation. "Samsung has more than half of our employees worldwide."

The innovation center will also have offices in South Korea and Israel.

Samsung's investment comes a week after Nokia (NYSE:NOK) said it will invest $250 million in a new venture capital fund to give money to promising mobile startups, part of its strategy of investing in future mobile opportunities.

For more:
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this CNET article

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