Samsung NEXT, the company’s worldwide startup investment initiative, will be heading to Europe. Samsung has reportedly set up shop in Berlin, Germany, with plans to erect offices across Europe. Samsung NEXT is now officially open to companies all over Europe, though for the time being, funding for these companies will continue to draw on the $150 million in funding announced along with the creation of Samsung NEXT back in January. Felix Petersen, a recent hire who will be in charge of the subsidiary’s European operations, called Europe an “attractive” market because of the diversity of talent available, both in the types of technologies specialized in and the unique perspectives of the people who hold those specialties and run local startups.
Felix Petersen is no stranger to the startup funding market. He recently served as a venture capital partner at Faber Ventures out of Portugal. He also has a history of being on the receiving end of funding and exit buyouts, rather than being in charge of dishing out the funds. His geographically-based social network called Plazes was bought up by Nokia back in 2008, and he even managed to secure funding for a more unique offering called Amen, which was started by him and later sold off. At Samsung NEXT, he will have the final word in any funding or acquisitions, as well as how to manage relations with companies that the initiative is investing in.
Samsung started up Samsung NEXT back in January, and the initiative even made an appearance at CES 2017. The initial funding round of $150 million was meant to be the first centralized, dedicated fund. Samsung had been involved in the world of venture capital before, but previous activity in the field had never had a centralized source of funding; many parts of Samsung have their own individual wallets, and this ended up meaning, for the most part, that the division of the company interested in the startup being funded or bought up would have to pay for that activity without any financial or administrative assistance from other divisions or the higher-ups that ran Samsung as a whole. Thus far, the program has invested in 60 different startups and made 15 buyouts, while 12 companies that were invested in have exited.