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And in May, SSIC introduced new open software and reference design hardware to better measure certain health characteristics of wearables users, including heart rate and blood pressure. Its Simband fitness band reference design incorporates a new sensor module that can be used in future wearables, while a cloud-based software platform called Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions, or SAMI, can collect sensor data from the devices for analysis. "The mandate was really very simple," Sohn said. "Can we look at things we cannot do in Korea?"The Korean electronics giant has been making a big push in the Bay Area. CNET lays out some of the key businesses and players.
So the Samsung Electronics president and chief strategy officer put together a proposal during a long flight back to company headquarters in Korea in January 2013, Less than a day later, he won approval from Oh-Hyun Kwon, Samsung Electronics' CEO iphone case kickstand and vice chairman, for a new $100 million fund to invest in early-stage startups in the US, Sohn announced the plans for the Samsung Catalyst Fund at a press event the following month and since then has invested in 24 companies, Samsung has a reputation for moving fast, But approving a large US investment in less than 24 hours is rapid-fire even by its standards, Sohn called it "the fastest $100 million decision ever."There's a reason for that urgency -- and the bet, Even though Samsung is the world's biggest maker of TVs and mobile devices (nearly one in four smartphones sold today is made by the company), it largely remains a mystery, Most people can't tell you the businesses it's in (it makes everything from toasters to tablets), and its executive team doesn't have any household names like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs or Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Walk down any street in the US and ask a tech worker to name the CEO of Samsung and you'll get a blank stare..
And in Silicon Valley, where spontaneous meetings and random encounters on the street, at restaurants and on hiking trails are a part of daily dealmaking, Samsung has been seen as missing in action. Meanwhile Apple, its fiercest rival in the market for smartphones and tablets, is building a 2.8 million-square-foot circular campus in its hometown of Cupertino, Calif., so it can gather employees and partners under one roof and increase the odds they'll have the "serendipitous personal encounters" Jobs believed was key to success.
That's why investing in Silicon Valley isn't a nicety for Samsung, It's a necessity, Being here means Samsung can tap into local talent and have chance encounters with iphone case kickstand venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, partners and startups looking to innovate in areas where the company has struggled, such as software and services, For Sohn and the other executives in Silicon Valley, it's also part of a bigger effort to change the company's mindset, Setting up shop where there isn't a stigma over failure and where there's more willingness to experiment runs counter to the corporate culture in Korea..
"The mandate was really very simple," Sohn said in an interview at his office on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley's equivalent of Wall Street for venture capitalists. "Can we look at things we cannot do in Korea?"Samsung will be touting the success of some of its efforts so far at its developers conference, which kicks off Tuesday in San Francisco. The three-day confab returns to the city for the second year in a row and takes place at the same venue where Apple and Google host their annual developers conferences. The aim is to rally support among app makers and get them excited about building software specifically for Samsung's devices.
The company's not saying how many developers will attend, but last year's event hosted 1,300 people, Some partners are eager to talk about the work they've been doing with Samsung, praising many of the new hardware offerings and the number of users they gain by being featured on those devices, Others, meanwhile, say Samsung is still figuring out how to mesh with the Valley as they describe the difficulties of working with the Korean mothership, "To do a significant partnership," said Marc Andreessen of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, "you have to go to Korea."Talk about Samsung and Silicon Valley and the surprise is actually how long it's been here, For more than 30 years, Samsung has run research and development iphone case kickstand and sales operations for displays and actual silicon -- the semiconductors that store data and serve as the brains of a device -- out of offices in the San Francisco Bay Area..
Over the last few years, Samsung has stepped it up. The components business next summer will move into new 1.1 million square foot headquarters in San Jose, about 12 miles from Apple's headquarters. Samsung Research America, which focuses on software, user experience and services, is slated to occupy a new 385,000-square-foot R&D facility in Mountain View, about three miles down the road from Google's headquarters, this year. Samsung has also been on a hiring spree, adding hardware, software and services expertise. It now has about 4,000 employees in the Valley, up about 30 percent over the past two years, said Sohn. While that's a small percentage of the 286,000 total Samsung employees in 80 countries around the world, it surpasses the global headcount for hot startups AirBNB, Dropbox, Pinterest and Uber -- combined.
Samsung, Sohn predicted, may be one of the largest 10 -- or even five -- employers in Silicon Valley within the next five years, That would put it in the ranks of top Bay Area tech employers including Apple, Cisco, Google, Oracle and Lockheed Martin, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Many of Samsung's new hires are for four businesses created to iphone case kickstand tap into the Valley's expertise, They include Sohn's Strategy & Innovation Center (SSIC), which seeks out new technology, partnerships and investments in hardware, generally with a longer-term view, There's also Samsung Design America (SDA), which built some of Samsung's flashier new gadgets, including the Gear Fit fitness band and curved Gear S smartwatch, The Open Innovation Center (OIC), runs an accelerator, forms partnerships and makes acquisitions and investments in startups focused on software and services, And the Media Solutions Center America (MSCA) creates its own software and services for Samsung devices, and works with developers making apps for the company's products..