Samsung Acquires Egyptian Startup Kngine

Press release
Published March 13th, 2018 - 12:08 GMT
Haytham, self-taught computer scientist has conducted research the AI field, Ashraf is experienced in software engineering and has worked for several software companies in the past.
Haytham, self-taught computer scientist has conducted research the AI field, Ashraf is experienced in software engineering and has worked for several software companies in the past.

South Korea-based Samsung Electronics announced on March 6 the acquisition of Egyptian artificial intelligence startup Kngine to improve its virtual assistant Bixby, developed by Samsung Electronics.

The acquisition was made by the Samsung affiliate Samsung Next that acquired a 100-percent share of Kngine.

The acquisition is considered a big victory for the Egyptian startup that had struggled to raise investments after securing its first round, and had to move to the United States to raise more money.

According to the Kngine website, it was co-founded in 2009 by brother duo Haytham and Ashraf El Fadeel. The website goes on to explain that it is an intelligent engine that understands, answers questions and performs actions and can be used to automate customer service, power voice interfaces and drive enterprise search.

The two founders jointly led the Kngine team which is headquartered in the US but started in Egypt. Haytham who is a self-taught computer scientist has conducted research the AI field, while Ashraf is experienced in software engineering and has worked for several software companies in the past. 

The Egyptian artificial intelligence startup had raised its first investment from Cairo-based Sawari Ventures. The total disclosed investment raised by the startup amounted to US$775,000.

The acquisition took place in October 2017 but the financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed by the research arm of Samsung. The acquisition follows their investment in the startup in 2014 jointly with Vodafone Ventures. The startup had investments from Sawari Ventures which gets paid off as a result of this takeover.

The acquisition is considered to be in line with Samsung’s efforts to advance its AI mobile solutions, including Bixby, fitted in smartphones.

Source: Egypt in Dependent.

Background Information

Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2011 consolidated sales of US$143.1 billion. Employing approximately 206,000 people in 197 offices across 72 countries, the company operates two separate organizations to coordinate its nine independent business units: Digital Media & Communications, comprising Visual Display, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, and Digital Imaging; and Device Solutions, consisting of Memory, System LSI and LED. Recognized for its industry-leading performance across a range of economic, environmental and social criteria, Samsung Electronics was named the world’s most sustainable technology company in the 2011 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

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