Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), the venture capital arm of Samsung, on Wednesday announced its maiden investments in India, totalling $8.5 million (nearly Rs 60 crore) across four Indian startups.
While SVIC did not disclose how much it invested in which start-up, a company spokesperson told IANS that the investment in each of the startups ranges between $1 million to $5 million.
"SVIC is planning to make 100 investments (each amounting $1 million to $5 million) in India in the next three to five years," Aloknath De, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Samsung R&D Institute Bengaluru, told IANS in a telephonic conversation.
The four start-ups in which SVIC has invested so far in the country are system apps company OSLabs (Indus OS), speech technology startup Gnani.ai, IoT solutions provider Silvan Innovation Labs and an early stage computer vision start-up the name of which has not been disclosed.
Mumbai-based OSLabs has developed a curated app store, Indus App Bazaar, which has a collection of over 400,000 mobile apps in multiple Indian languages.
Bangalore-based Gnani.ai works in the space of automatic speech recognition and natural language processing in Indic languages for building voice assistants and for speech analytics.
Speech recognition is today an important part of human to machine interactions and there is a rising need for automated speech recognition (ASR) in the vernacular languages space.
On the other hand, Bengaluru-based Silvan Innovation Labs is a leader in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for homes and enterprises and has pioneered solutions for smart spaces. The startup provides solutions that address safety, security, comfort, convenience and energy management.
"The Indian startup ecosystem has matured over the last few years with early stage companies working on top of the line technology and services, especially in areas like Artificial Intelligence, IoT, cloud and other emerging technology solutions as well as services.
Samsung is committed to work with and invest in promising Indian startups. This will be a win-win for both as it will help startups scale their solutions through this deep engagement while we get an opportunity to enrich our offerings to our consumers," De said.
The four investments by SVIC in Indian startups are strategic in nature.
Samsung had recently partnered with OS Labs to launch the new Galaxy Store, powered by Indus App Bazaar, which brings app discovery and download experience to consumers in 12 local Indian languages in addition to English and offers personalized app recommendations without mandatory sign in.
"As we look to offer the Indus experience to wider audiences, these funds will help us reach our goal of empowering 100 million Indian users with a content and commerce platform in the language of their choice, thus ensuring a truly inclusive digital growth and an enriched user experience for everyone," said Rakesh Deshmukh, Co-founder and CEO, OSLabs.
Similarly, Samsung's investment in Gnani's ASR engine has the potential to power Samsung's Bixby vernacular service in the future.
With an installed base of over 6,000 homes and 12 live communities, Silvan's products and IoT platform is expected to add value to Samsung's efforts to have all its products IoT ready by 2020.