Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), Samsung's investment arm that actively invests in future-oriented businesses announced its maiden investments in India, totaling USD 8.5 million across four Indian startups.
Being a leader in innovation, Samsung closely works with a host of startups committed towards building innovative and purposeful technologies across the globe and in India. The company's investment arm has decided to make its investments in a system apps company OSLabs (Indus OS), speech technology startup Gnani.ai, IoT solutions provider Silvan Innovation Labs and an early stage computer vision startup.
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, Silvan Innovation Labs is a leader in 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," said Dr. Aloknath De, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Samsung R&D Institute Bengaluru.
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. 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 will add value to Samsung's efforts to have all its products IoT ready by 2020.
"It is a moment of great pride for us, to have Samsung Venture, the VC arm of the biggest smartphone brand in the world, show faith and invest in our company. 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, CEO, OSLabs.
"We would like to thank Samsung Ventures for reposing confidence in our capabilities. This investment is a reaffirmation of our expertise in speech recognition technologies. We stay committed to our goal to continue being the leading speech recognition engine in Indic languages for voice assistant, call automation and speech analytics applications for multiple customers," said Ganesh Gopalan, Founder and CEO, Gnani.ai.
"IoT is a big and complex market and strategic partnerships are needed for companies to leverage each other's strengths to address market needs. Towards that, we are extremely pleased to partner with Samsung Venture, given their deep understanding and reach of various markets," said Avinash K Gautam, CEO, Silvan Innovation Labs.
SVIC is actively investing in future-oriented businesses based on new and innovative technologies that are expected to serve as new growth engines. It was established to promote promising companies engaging in the development of new technologies. As of March 2019, SVIC has over USD 2.2 billion in assets under management.
Samsung Electronics is committed to innovating today with its technology to create a better tomorrow based on a deep understanding of what people need and want. In 2018, Samsung invested over USD 15 billion on R&D through its 36 R&D centres globally and also announced it will invest USD 22 billion over the next three years in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, automotive electronics components and biopharmaceuticals that will drive its future growth.