Samsung Group has set out to invest in fostering Korean system semiconductor startups. The group is expected to ramp up investment in this area as the Korean government recently announced that it will support small and medium-sized system semiconductor materials and parts companies in cooperation with Samsung Electronics.
IVworks, a company that produces core materials for power semiconductors and semiconductors for 5th generation telecommunications, announced on Dec. 12 that it attracted Series B investment amounting to 8 billion won from Samsung Venture Investment, an investment arm of Samsung Group.
The company said Samsung Venture Investment, which participated in a seed round, made a follow-up investment. Besides, KB Investment, Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Dt&Investment participated in Series B financing as new investors.
The company added that cumulative investment it has received has reached 10.9 billion won. IVworks localized 8-inch gallium nitride (GaN)-silicon (Si) epiwafers and 4-inch gallium nitride-silicon carbide (SiC) epiwafers for the first time in Korea. It developed technology that maximizes productivity through AI-based molecular synthesis control technology.
Samsung is investing in various Korean and foreign technological startups through Samsung Venture Investment, Samsung Next Fund and Catalyst Fund. Samsung Next Fund and Catalyst Fund were established by Samsung Electronics. Samsung Next Fund was established in the second half of 2016 with an initial capital of US$150 million and started operation in January 2017. Catalyst Fund collected US$100 million in 2013 and has been investing in innovative technologies and providing support for venture startups for new business development.
In addition, Samsung Electronics recently announced that it will start the C-Lab Outside Program to foster 300 outside startups by 2023. Earlier this year, the company laid out a plan to invest 133 trillion won to attain the goal of becoming No. 1 in the global system semiconductor market by 2030. It has been seeking to create an ecosystem through open innovation.
Samsung Electronics also put forward a plan to hire 15,000 specialists in system semiconductor R&D and manufacturing to sharpen its technological competitiveness.
Semiconductor industry observers believe that Samsung's support for system semiconductor startups will become even more active with support from the government. The government said that it will give support to Samsung Electronics for its foundry business while drawing up a plan to select a total of 250 promising companies in the fields of bio technology, health and future cars as well as 50 companies in the system semiconductor field at the 27th Economic Vitalization Meeting on Dec. 11.