Samsung Group is continuing to invest in next-generation car battery and software companies to drive its future growth.
According to foreign media reports, including Bloomberg, Solid Power Inc. has attracted an investment worth US$20 million (22.6 billion won) from Samsung Venture Investment Corp., Hyundai CRADLE (the venture capital arm of Hyundai Motor), Sanoh Industrial Co. and Solvay SA.
The Colorado-based maker of solid-state battery cells for cars and aircraft signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with BMW AG at the end of last year to develop solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. A solid-state battery is a battery that uses both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes, instead of the liquid or polymer electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.
Since most liquid electrolytes are considered to be flammable, solid state batteries are believed to be safer from explosions. Only few companies in the world, including Samsung SDI Co., has the solid-state battery technology and are continuously researching and developing the technology for commercialization.
With the investment, Solid Power plans to complete a production plant by the end of this year and start its full operation in 2019.
In addition, Samsung NEXT, the startup investment arm of Samsung Electronics Co., recently made an investment in Beekeeper, the mobile employee management platform, along with Keen Venture Partners LLP. The two companies agreed not to disclose the total amount of investments.
Beekeeper is a digital business-to-business (B2B) workforce application platform that allows employees to manage secure messages and content and communicate via smartphones without desktop computers. Currently, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Hyatt Hotels, Heathrow Airport and Domino's Pizza use the Beekeeper service.
In fact, Samsung is investing in diverse future growth businesses and startups through its subsidiaries, including Samsung Electronics and Samsung Venture Investment. Recently, the group is focusing its investment in artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and future automotive electrical components.