SB Next Media Innovation Fund, initially formed by Naver and Softbank ventures, raised an additional 50 billion won ($44.7 M USD).
This raise was fully funded by Naver, making the total fund size at 97.3 billion won ($87 M USD). The fund was formed last November with 40 billion won from Naver, 4.5 billion won from Softbank ventures, 2.3 billion won from overseas investors, and 0.5 billion won from Korea Venture Investment, total of 47.3 billion won.
Starting with this raise, SB Next Media Innovation Fund plans to expand its investments to the AI field. The main investment targets are source technologies in AI field, convergence technology of big data and AI, and consumer-facing applications leveraging AI technologies.
Currently, AI startups that utilize deep learning algorithms and big data are growing fast in Korea. In the US alone, more than 1,000 AI startups have been formed, accumulating more than $5 billion USD in investments. Softbank ventures will accelerate efforts in fostering AI startup ecosystem and discovering AI startups pioneering revolutionary technologies in the global market, including Korea and the US.
Joonpyo Lee, Managing Director at Softbank Ventures, said, “The AI technology is gathering attention as a technical field that will lead the future change with unprecedented growth,” “we will continue to invest actively in startups applying AI technology in various fields. “he added.
Meanwhile, Softbank ventures has invested through SB Next Media Innovation Fund in the US-based AI voice modulation technology startup ObEN and mobile web novel platform Radish. Currently, investments are planned for startups, including those based in Korea, building AI-based communication platform and commerce platform and service for individual creators.
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