Applied Ventures, LLC, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials, Inc., has formed an investment fund with the Korea Venture Investment Corporation (KVIC). According to an SEC filing, the initial corpus of funds amounts to $40 million for the new fund, Applied Ventures Innovation Fund I.
The joint Applied Ventures Innovation Fund will invest in promising Korean startups across a broad range of established and emerging industries including semiconductor, display, robotics, healthcare, energy storage and more. The fund was launched on 23 June with a workshop for startup companies and the venture capital community.
“Applied Materials has been a part of the Korean technology industry for 30 years and we share a long history of enabling technology innovation with our customers,” said Om Nalamasu, president of Applied Ventures and Chief Technology Officer of Applied Materials.
“With this new Innovation Fund, we are partnering with the Korean government to invest in the next wave of entrepreneurs to spur new breakthroughs that can advance technology throughout the world.”
According to a media release, South Korea currently accounts for the highest number of Applied Ventures’ investments outside of the US. Launching the Innovation Fund together with KVIC is intended to help further advance the capabilities of high-tech startups and early-stage companies.
“Our goal at Applied Ventures is to seek out innovative technologies and new ideas that can enable advances in semiconductors and displays, as well as open up new markets,” said Tony Chao, general manager and senior investment director of Applied Ventures.
“Korea’s outstanding talent, R&D intensity and manufacturing capability provide a fertile ground for startups. Applied Ventures has been actively investing in Korea for several years and we are excited to build on this foundation by establishing the Innovation Fund with KVIC.”
Its startup sector is said to be on the verge of internationalisation, with the startup ecosystem augmented by large-scale government backing. However, it faces a host of challenges given the ecosytem’s relative youth.
Among its various sectors, South Korea’s biotechnology and healthcare sector are showing significant growth. In 2015, healthcare startups raised $20.6 million, while in 2016 this grew to $59.7 million. This also comes with government support aimed at developing the country as an international healthcare technology hub.