Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Valley Cred: Samsung Plans to Open New Start-Up Accelerator in Downtown Palo Alto

While it is one of the largest consumer electronics and mobile companies in the world, Korea’s Samsung has a relatively quiet profile in Silicon Valley.

In fact, while it has had a longtime facility in San Jose for two decades, its execs are not well known to many except the top echelons of the tech sector here and Samsung’s interactions with the entrepreneurial culture have been decidedly low key.

No longer, it seems.

Besides a previously announced new 8.5-acre campus in Mountain View for its U.S. research and development center, slated for completion in 2014, sources said the company is close to signing a deal for a prominent venue in downtown Palo Alto that will house a start-up accelerator.

The location that the company is now negotiating is the second floor of the former Borders Books space on University Avenue. The historical property has a splashy movie marquee, since it used to house the Varsity Theatre.

It’s not quite Oppa Gangnam Style, it is a big move for Samsung.

While it is unclear if the new office will focus on making investments in start-ups or incubating its own innovation, sources said it will be aimed at linking Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and other players more closely with Samsung.

Sources said the move is being spearheaded by a relatively new hire by Samsung: David Eun, who became its EVP to lead a new push to create more media offerings in December. Previous to Samsung, Eun has been an exec at both Google and AOL.

Eun is well known in the Valley already, but a new location that will focus Samsung’s digital efforts should raise the company’s profile with the digerati here.

Also on the docket to do that is Samsung’s other new major facility. In September, right in the middle of its high-profile patent trial with Apple, the company announced that Samsung Information Systems America, its U.S. R&D Center, would expand and relocate to a new campus.

“The R&D Center will provide a state-of-the-art campus that can support the current rapid growth in the organization, and also provide the infrastructure to support Samsung’s open innovation and university collaboration activities,” Samsung said in a press release at the time. “Construction is anticipated to start in the second half of 2013 on the company’s two new six-story class-A office buildings totaling approximately 385,000 sq. ft. and two 5-6 story parking structures, with occupancy expected in 2014.”

In other words, Apple: Samsung is now officially in the house in Silicon Valley.


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