GURUGRAM, India – July 10, 2019 – Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), the investment arm of South Korea-based electronics giant Samsung Group, today announced its maiden investments in India, totaling USD 8.5 million across four Indian startups, marking its first foray into India.
Samsung Venture, which co-invests with other venture funds, has over $2.2 billion in assets under management, as mentioned in a statement on Wednesday.
The company’s investment arm has invested in a system apps company OSLabs (Indus OS), speech technology startup Gnani.ai, along with IoT solutions provider Silvan Innovation Labs and an early stage computer vision startup, whose name it did not divulge.
OSLabs has developed a curated app store, Indus App Bazaar, which has a collection of over 400,000 mobile apps in multiple Indian languages, whereas 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.
Reacting on the Samsung investment, Rakesh Deshmukh, co-founder and CEO at OSLabs said-
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.”
As a part of Samsung, SVIC is actively investing in future-oriented businesses based on new and innovative technologies that are expected to serve as new growth engines.