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Israel technologies at the heart of Samsung’s innovation drive

Source: Jerusalem Post

Israeli start-ups are of key importance to South Korean technology giant Samsung’s innovation push, senior officials said on Sunday, as the company held its fifth annual Samsung Innovation Summit in Tel Aviv.

 “I think the Israeli start-up ecosystem is extremely important and that’s why we do this event every year, bringing together Israeli entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and talking about the issues that are really important to us,” Shankar Chandran, senior vice president and managing director of the Samsung Catalyst Fund, told The Jerusalem Post.

 “In the last 60 years, we have had about six different waves of technologies. Today, I think is the biggest wave. It’s about data and artificial intelligence, and I think Israel is one of the most interesting countries when it comes to thinking about data and artificial intelligence.”

 Recognizing that much of the game-changing innovation emerges from the global start-up scene, Samsung has invested in excess of $2 billion in start-ups through its Samsung Catalyst Fund. Approximately one-quarter of the investments Samsung made last year, Chandran said, have been in Israeli companies.

 In January, Samsung reportedly secured a deal to acquire Israeli camera developer Corephotonics for $155 million. Investment portfolio companies showcased at the summit included smart car company Autotalks, data science platform Iguazio and autonomous driving technology developer Innoviz Technologies.

 In August, Samsung unveiled plans to invest approximately $161 billion over three years into developing emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, 5G networking, automotive electronics and biopharmaceuticals. The company expects the investment to create up to 40,000 jobs in South Korea.

 Rutie Adar, head of Samsung’s Herzliya-based Strategy and Innovation Center, told the Post that the company’s interest in Israeli innovation is always a two-way, mutually-beneficial relationship.

 “For Samsung, it is clear that we cannot develop innovation alone, especially when it’s about tackling huge or complex challenges, like healthcare and mobility. We need to work with companies, whether it’s investments or acquisitions,” Adar said.

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