Team from Samsung Electronics came to meet local tech entrepreneurs in Tallinn last week. Their motivation was to find innovative technology for the Samsung Electronics Sourcing Exhibition that takes place in South Korea in October. The successful solutions could also be integrated into Samsung’s future products.
Samsung pre-selected 14 Estonian companies, out of 40 applicants, that had five minutes to pitch their idea to the firm’s representatives at Tallinn’s tech startup cluster Tehnopol. Sensor technology, material processing, battery and energy, security, healthcare, artificial intelligence and software were all considered.
The Samsung team picked eight firms for further evaluation – among others the mobile apps developer, cloud service for 3D printing, remote hardware management device, and marine sensor system.
"The fact that Samsung chose to proceed with more than half of the participants, shows the true potential of Estonian technology firms," Taanel Kõrvel, project manager from the state-owned Enterprise Estonia, an agency promoting development and technological capabilities of Estonian companies, said in an interview with Eesti Päevaleht.
"We hope that some of our companies are so good that Samsung will invite them to take part of the Samsung Electronics Sourcing Exhibition in South Korea," Kõrvel added.
The competition is tough – only 30 tech firms from around the world will be selected for the event, out of hundreds applicants. The outcome could be ground-breaking, as the innovative ideas will be presented to major movers and shakers at Samsung’s HQ in Seoul. The preference is usually given to market-ready and tested products.
Samsung’s 'talent spotters' took notice of Estonia at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where Estonian exposition caught attention among other things by recruiting a former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov to entertain visitors. Further visit to startup conference Latitude59 this spring cemented Samsung's positive view of Estonia as an innovative country.
This is not the first time that Estonian companies have come to contact with the South Korean tech giant. Elion, the Estonian subsidiary of Swedish telecommunications firm TeliaSonera, helped to develop a smart TV solution for Samsung in 2012. The solution eliminated the need for an external set-top box for IPTV service.