Samsung’s venture capital arm has announced it will use a $150 million global funding round to invest in Europe’s startup scene.
CNBC reported news that Samsung NEXT, with the fund raised in January, will target early stage startups in Europe for investment or acquisition, focusing on tech companies working on artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented reality and virtual reality.
Founded in 2013, NEXT has invested in more than 60 companies and made 15 acquisitions and is now expanding into the European Union with headquarters in Berlin. It plans to open additional locations throughout the continent within the next year.
“I’m excited to lead our expansion into Europe. The combination of deep tech talent and cultural diversity makes this market very attractive,” said Felix Petersen, managing director of Samsung NEXT in Europe. “It also gives us a great opportunity to become the place for European entrepreneurs looking to build and grow their startups and turn them into revolutionary companies.”
VC investment in Europe has reached its highest level since 2007, reaching 6.4 billion euros ($7.35 billion) in 2016, 10 percent of which came from North American investors.
“Global investors are recognizing that European venture capital offers a rich A-to-Z of investment opportunities: trailblazing tech innovation born in cities from Amsterdam to Zurich,” said Nenad Marovac, Invest Europe vice-chair and founder and managing partner of VC firm DN Capital, in a press release. “Anyone who has ever played ‘Angry Birds’ or searched for flights via Skyscanner is benefiting from Europe’s highly talented entrepreneurs.”
The Samsung NEXT funding round announcement comes as the South Korean company is boosting its acquisition rate. It bought eight companies in 2016, mostly in Canada and the U.S. And so far this year, it has acquired four companies, including Swedish headphone manufacturer Melaud and Greek text-to-speech startup Innoetics.
The European Union is an important market for Samsung’s products, with around 19 percent of its revenue generated in the continent.