Samsung acquires Viv Labs, the AI startup from Siri’s creators

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Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has acquired Viv Labs Inc., the high-profile makers of an artificially intelligent virtual assistant that was founded by the creators of Apple Inc.’s Siri.

The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. Founded in 2012, Viv offers an open artificial intelligence platform that gives developers the power to use and build conversational assistants and integrate natural language-based interfaces into applications and services.

The company claims it’s the simplest way for the world to interact with devices, services and things everywhere, with an artificial intelligence platform that “knows more than it is taught, and learns every day.”

Under the deal, Viv will continue to operate independently under its existing leadership of Apple alumni Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, but will work closely with Samsung’s Mobile division.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” Samsung Mobile Communication Chief Technology Officer Injong Rhee said in a statement. “Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control.”

Powerful

Viv was first demonstrated at the Disrupt NYC conference in May this year to rave reviews, including some calling it incredible. The platform is said to be more powerful than Apple’s Siri assistant in that it has the ability to mesh data from multiple services together without the need for standalone apps. For example, Viv is able to look up movie times, compare ticket prices, place an order, suggest alternative showtimes, recommend pre-show dinner reservations, cancel a previous order and more, all from a single point of contact.

“With Viv, Samsung will be able to unlock and offer new service experiences for its customers, including one that simplifies user interfaces, understands the context of the user and offers the user the most appropriate and convenient suggestions and recommendations,” Samsung added.

Prior to acquisition, Viv had raised $30 million over three rounds from investors including Bart Swanson, Horizons Ventures, Iconiq Capital and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. A date was not given for when the acquisition would be completed.

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