Samsung is spinning out five new startups from its in-house Creative Lab (C-Lab), an innovation program that gives workers a canvas for developing ideas away from their core roles at Samsung.
When an idea is chosen to progress to C-Lab, employees can take a year away to work on it.
As a result of this, 18 Samsung employees have resigned from Samsung to become founders of the five new firms — and we’ve actually had a glimpse of at least one of these companies before.
Above: Is it a belt or a Welt?
Though C-Lab has been on the go for around four years, the Korean tech titan gave a sneak peek of some of a handful of these early-stage products for the first time at CES this year, one of which was the Welt — a “discreet” device that’s worn around the waist and can monitor waist size, eating habits, and steps taken. It then serves up a bunch of weight-management plans.
Alongside Welt, other new standalone companies to emerge from Samsung include a mobile app called Locksa that “manages photographs with your smartphone unlock function”; a piece of software called Save Energy Cost that “recommends optimal electricity pricing systems”; and a new vacuous insulator, referred to as “Samsung Insulation,” which it claims to offer the highest insulation efficiency of any alternatives.
Above: Idea Printer
Interestingly, Samsung has also spun out a new consumer hardware company that’s making a product called Idea Printer, which pretty much does what it says on the box — it prints out thoughts that enter your head. Presumably it will rely on some form of smartphone app rather than telepathy.
In terms of what Samsung garners from these startup spinoffs, well, it’s safe to say it will likely be a shareholder in the startups at the very least. But Samsung is adamant it’s about more than that — it wants to foster a spirit of innovation across its workforce. “Through the promotion of startup companies, Samsung Electronics expects to stimulate a spirit of entrepreneurship in all employees,” the company said in a statement.
The five new private entities showcased by Samsung this week aren’t the first to emerge from C-Lab. At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February, Salted Venture teased a new smart shoe aimed at giving athletes and their coaches access to more data on performance.The IOFITs have sensors embedded for real-time insights, such as the amount of force being used by an athlete on various parts of the foot.
“This year is the fourth year since C-Lab was initiated,” said Lee Jae Il, director of Samsung’s DMC R&D Center. “To date, we have had 130 projects with 480 employees participating. Among those, 40 projects have been transferred to a business division to be developed as commercial products.”
While full details of these new spinout companies are still fairly scant, Samsung notes that we can expect to see products hit the market in the second half of 2016.
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