Israel’s largest art museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, was the setting on May 12 for a gathering of leading thinkers, investors, venture capitalists, and startups. They were there not to peruse the museum’s impressive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works, but rather to exchange ideas at the 5th annual Samsung Innovation Summit in Israel about the power of technology to make a difference in the world.

Hosted by Samsung’s Israeli investment team, the Innovation Summit opened with welcoming remarks by Rutie Adar, head of Samsung Strategy & Innovation Center (SSIC) in Israel. She then introduced the event’s first speaker: Shankar Chandran, Head of Samsung Catalyst Fund.

“In the last 60 years, we’ve had six major waves of technology—and today’s seventh wave, about data and artificial intelligence, is the biggest one yet,” says Chandran. He gave one of three keynotes at the Summit, delving into the impacts of the seventh wave of technology on global change and introducing the common theme running through the event: the importance of using ‘tech for good’.

As an example, Chandran looked at the healthcare industry. While genomics, environmental factors, and the healthcare system all exert some influence over personal health, fully half of our health is determined by how we eat, sleep, move, and manage stress. Applying data and AI to improve these lifestyle factors can therefore have a huge impact on overall healthcare.

Following Chandran on stage was Lip-Bu Tan, Founding Managing Partner of WRVI Capital and Chief Executive Officer of Cadence. A luminary who is greatly admired in Israel and globally, he gave his outlook on how AI and machine learning will drive growth in core technologies such as semiconductors, memory architecture, data centers, and 5G.

“Infrastructure needs to catch up to process all the data that now exists, which is why we need to continue investing in 5G networking and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) systems,” says Tan. “We can invest in our future by asking the right questions and answering them together.”

Wrapping up the keynotes was Greg Kovacs, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University, who presented insightful, engaging food for thought on the potential impact of data and AI on healthcare, bioengineering, and beyond.

“Trying to compute to find new drugs is like trying to pan for gold in the ocean,” says Kovacs. “But with the help of new AI tools, we are moving much closer to innovative healthcare solutions that benefit everyone.”

Closing the Innovation Summit in Tel Aviv with a special “Thank you” to all the startups and investors in attendance, was David (Dede) Goldschmidt, Head of Europe & Israel for Samsung Catalyst Fund.

Working Together to Achieve Innovation With a Purpose

“Samsung is committed to laying the groundwork for the next generation of life-changing and life-enhancing technologies, but the world’s challenges are too big for any company to solve alone,” says Chandran. “While data and AI are already transforming every industry on the planet, from manufacturing to transportation, reshaping our world for the better requires partnerships and a diversity of innovators, to create truly inclusive innovation.”

Some real-world, local examples of innovation were also on display at the Samsung Innovation Summit. The event’s 300+ invited participants spent time exploring demos from seven Israel-based Samsung portfolio companies, four funded by Samsung Catalyst Fund and three by Samsung Venture Investment, including:

Autotalks, a developer of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications for manned and autonomous vehicles.
Celeno, a fabless semiconductor company developing components and subsystems for high-performance carrier-class Wi-Fi systems and networks.
Innoviz Technologies, a leading manufacturer of high-performance, solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software enabling the mass production of autonomous vehicles.
Iguazio, a platform-as-a-service provider that streamlines data science to production and derives fast time to value for application development based on machine learning.
Mantis Vision, a 3D imaging company with revolutionary technology that puts powerful 3D scanners on mobile devices and handheld scanners.
Valens, the world leader in HDBaseT technology and a top provider of semiconductor products for the distribution of ultra-high-definition multimedia content.
Wiliot, a semiconductor company developing battery-free Bluetooth tags for the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

Attendees at the Samsung Innovation Summit in Tel Aviv raved about the museum venue, the content delivered in the presentations, the opportunity to see demos and network with other attendees, the food, and the overall quality of the event.

Samsung is an enterprise with global reach, but Israel holds a special place of importance. “We do this event every year because the Israeli startup ecosystem is extremely vibrant,” says Chandran. “We really enjoy bringing together Israeli entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and talking about the issues that are vital to all of us.”

We are confident that everyone left inspired to think about how each of them, in their own work, might strive to ride the seventh wave of innovation while furthering the tech-for-good ideals expressed at the Summit.

If you missed attending this year’s Innovation Summit, or if you were there and would like to relive any of the experience, check out the videos from the Summit. And if you have a startup in Israel and would like to discuss how to fuel your tech-for-good business ideas, contact Dede Goldschmidt.