Samsung kicks off Israeli tech startup program for its mobile devices products

Selected Israeli startups will receive a $50,000 grant for a six-month period; tech will be integrated into Samsung products

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Samsung Director of Open Innovation Lior Yekoutieli (left) with the Israel research team. (Courtesy)
Samsung Director of Open Innovation Lior Yekoutieli (left) with the Israel research team. (Courtesy)

Korean tech giant Samsung is seeking to integrate innovative technologies developed by Israeli startups and tech companies into its mobile devices products and software.

As part of a tech program, Samsung will be funding selected Israeli startups with a $50,000 grant each and providing them with technical support from the tech giant’s R&D units over a six-month period.

Israeli startups applying for the Samsung Mobile Advance (SMA) program will need to build a pilot showcasing their innovative and mature technology and how it can complement and differentiate the tech giant’s mobile device products and software.

Samsung is looking for startups and tech companies in the following areas: camera (optics, algorithms, electronics), power, audio, on-device AI, metaverse/augmented reality (XR), sensors, foldables, wearables, health, connectivity, environment and sustainability (ESG), and advanced materials.

The program will run from July 2023 to February 2024, with the winning startups announced in June following a pitch of their proof of concept (POC) proposal to Samsung’s Korean development team and the Israeli mobile team.

The program is in its second year in Israel. It is also taking place in the US, Europe, Canada, China, Japan and India.

Samsung Group operates an R&D center in Israel established in 2007, after the acquisition of the Israeli company TransChip Israel Ltd. which developed chips for cellular cameras.

Samsung Research Israel director of Open Innovation Lior Yekoutieli explained that “one of the challenges faced by startups and high-tech companies is testing the feasibility of their technology, product or service.”

“Our process begins by identifying companies with suitable technologies and helping them execute a POC with our R&D units in Korea. The funding from the program and the work with Korean labs will help companies tailor their existing product and technology for integration into Samsung’s products and to exhibit cutting-edge results,” said Yekoutieli. “If the POC results are good, then we can proceed to a technological partnership agreement, a licensing agreement, investment through Samsung’s investment fund, and more, based on the needs of both companies.”

“We encourage qualified Israeli companies to apply to the program, as it is a wonderful opportunity for them to enter one of the world’s leading tech companies through the front door,” he added.

The program in Israel is led by Samsung Research Israel (SRIL), which was set up to find advanced and innovative technologies within the Israeli ecosystem. SRIL is looking for Israeli solutions suitable for the electronics divisions at Samsung and is exploring options for integrating such technologies into the tech giant’s products. SRIL is also involved in investments in Israeli companies through the Samsung group’s investment fund.

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