Young Sohn, President of Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, announced yesterday a $100 million catalyst fund aimed at start ups to inspire them to develop new technologies and devices for 21st century consumers. Unlike other investments the company has made to support its burgeoning list of successful consumer electronics devices used for communications, this new fund is about investing in basic science and technology to find the next great gadget.
Sohn’s company spent $10 billion dollars on research and development in 2012. Much of the effort was focused on improving the performance of telecommunications networks and the devices that are at the receiving end – the smartphones. Samsung hopes the incremental $100 million going to outside firms will help entrepreneurs, inventors and academic research institutions turn unproven technologies into successful commercial devices, sub-components and applications.
Does Samsung expect immediate returns from the $100 million. Not so says Sohn. The focus of this investment will be on fundamental research in science and technology that he states “takes a long time to incubate and develop……we want to step in.”
Samsung is the world’s leader in mobile device technology. Last year the company generated $188 billion in revenue and hopes to see that number double by 2020.