Samsung Eyes Engineering Hotspot Of Israel

Samsung and Apple are both pursuing startups and a lead in the artificial intelligence technology innovation race. Samsung has opened an early-stage technology investment program in Tel Aviv and plans to invest $1 million per company.

Not to be outdone by Apple, which recently acquired Tuplejump to advance its artificial intelligence work, Samsung Electronics has subsumed some of the engineering activity in Israel. The company has opened an arm of its early-stage technology investment program in Tel Aviv and plans to pursue R&D in artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and cybersecurity.

Israel is a Silicon Valley of innovative engineering, and according to Kai Bond, general manager and CEO of the New York Samsung Global Innovation Center, “Tel Aviv has more talented engineers per square foot than anywhere in the world.”

This latest move by Samsung shows the race for innovation between the two rivals. Apple’s purchase of India’s Tuplejump earlier this year was Apple’s third acquisition in the technology space of artificial intelligence and augmented and virtual reality, according to Bloomberg.

“Everyone is trying to leapfrog the competition … But for us to continue to innovate three, five, seven years out, we want to play with individuals who are very, very early on, at a concept phase with a vision, as opposed to something that is fully established,” said Bond.

Investments made by the Samsung program will be around $1 million per startup with no limit on the number of beneficiaries or the funding amount.

Israel has been trying to expand its trade with Asian countries to offset losses from declining exports to Europe and the U.S. Discussions on free trade and the $1.7 billion eCommerce industry between Israel and South Korea were announced in May.

Samsung’s Global Innovation Center, initiated in 2013, has acquired 11 technology companies and invested in more than 40. The Tel Aviv division will team up with those in California, New York and South Korea. Samsung has long been interested in Israel’s innovative engineers and has been investing and acquiring companies there for the past 10 years.


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