[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics announced on March 6 that its affiliate has acquired a 100-percent stake in artificial intelligence search engine startup Kngine.
Kngine develops mobile solutions, based on AI including deep learning, which understands and answers questions. The startup, which initially started operations in Egypt in 2013, says its engine is designed to function like a human brain, continuously reading the web, understands its contents and accordingly updates and expands its knowledge base.
“Our research arm Samsung Research America acquired the entire stake in October last year,” said a Samsung official, declining to unveil financial details of the takeover.
He noted that Samsung Next, an unlisted US venture capital unit of its research affiliate, had invested jointly with Vodafone Ventures Egypt in the startup in 2014, and then acquired the entire stake last year.
The acquisition is considered to be in line with Samsung’s efforts to advance its AI mobile solutions, including Bixby, fitted in smartphones. It took over US AI firm Viv Labs for 238.9 billion won (US$222.10 million) in 2016, and hired Larry Heck last hear, who played a crucial role in developing Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana.
The other AI companies in which Samsung has invested include Reactor Labs, Expect Labs and Vicarious.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)