Startups Venture

A Few Notes On The Samsung NEXT AI Fund

This is a quick follow-up to our story this morning reporting that Samsung’s NEXT group is putting together an AI-focused investing effort.

The new vehicle, called Q Fund, has already made investments and will deploy capital from the $150 million Samsung NEXT Fund, meaning that we know its maximum scale. During a meeting between Q Fund leaders Vincent TangAjay Singh, and a few members of the press, I learned a few more things about the fund worth sharing.

  1. Q Fund is happy to invest in companies with long time horizons. With a focus on investing in startups that may solve “foundational problems,” per Tang, the group is comfortable putting money to work in companies that may have extended routes to liquidity.
  2. The fund is looking to invest in startups while they are very early. The duo noted that Samsung NEXT’s efforts have focused on the early side of venture work, and Q Fund might deploy capital into even earlier-stage companies.
  3. This willingness to invest early—and here I am paraphrasing notes and our conversation—is predicated on the pair’s belief that applied AI (not, to be clear, what is sometimes hand-waved as AI) is not yet market-ready. So there’s a chance to invest in early-stage companies still solving big questions. If one of those manages a breakthrough, Q, its parent NEXT, and Samsung will probably come out in the black.

Q Fund does not intend to invest in academic-style research. Instead, it will invest in companies that land somewhere between academia and traditional early-stage investments.

This is all chat and the like until Q Fund has made more investments.