SK Networks, a key player in investments targeting promising future sectors like artificial intelligence (AI) and data, jointly organized a forum presented by Kindred Ventures, envisioning the transformative future of AI. The event brought together global leaders to discuss the trajectory of the AI market and the development of a robust ecosystem.

On December 8th, SK Networks (CEO: Ho-Jeong Lee) announced the successful hosting of “AI WAVE 2023,” a collaborative effort held at Wavehill, Walkerhill Hotel & Resort. Presented by Kindred Ventures and in partnership with SK Networks and SoftBank Ventures Asia, which have formed in-depth cooperative relationships with SK Networks in the global investment sector, the event facilitated insightful discussions in the AI domain. It drew in approximately 150 industry experts, including representatives from startups and investment firms, both at home and abroad.

AI WAVE 2023, which took place on the afternoon of December 7th, served as a platform to showcase trends and investment strategies in the AI field. Additionally, the event featured an Investor Relations (IR) meeting that spotlighted global technology startups such as ‘Perplexity,’ an interactive AI search engine startup, Extropic, a physics-based AI startup, and ‘Hour One,’ a generative video AI SaaS provider.

As the host of the forum, the Founder and Managing Partner of Kindred Ventures took the stage at the podium and explained the purpose of the event, saying, “This will be a time to explore how AI is shaping the future of consumer internet, mobile computing, and supercomputing.”

Following this, the three companies, Kindred Ventures, SK Networks, and SoftBank Ventures Asia, have also established a program for open and collaborative discussions on AI prospects, trends, and strategies.

Joonpyo Lee, the CEO of SoftBank Ventures Asia, expressed his expectations for future AI trends, stating that “AI technology is expected to evolve in a more customized way, with an increasing number of entrepreneurs who possess expertise in various fields combining their strengths with AI to drive innovation.

SK Networks President & COO Sunghwan Choi delved into the company’s transformative journey marked by strategic partnerships and investments in the AI sector. He elaborated on SK Networks’ innovative evolution into a business-oriented investment company, with a specific focus on digital transformation (DT) domains like AI.

In a significant strategic shift, SK Networks, operating through the U.S. investment corporation ‘Hico Capital,’ has been actively engaged in substantial investments. Since 2020, the company has been channeling funds into hyperscale data center investments, contributing to noteworthy entities like the AI-based device startup ‘Humane,’  the unmanned tractor automation solution company ‘Sabanto,’ and the smart farm startup ‘’. This robust investment strategy has empowered SK Networks to strengthen its network and internal capabilities within the dynamic AI industry. In a decisive move to bolster its competencies, the company recently completed the acquisition of ‘Encore,’ a leading domestic data solution management firm. This strategic acquisition is poised to significantly amplify the potential for creating data-driven AI synergy across SK Networks’ headquarters and subsidiaries, opening up lucrative avenues for additional strategic investments.

President Choi remarked, “With the anticipated transformative impact of AI on industries at large, we are actively incorporating this technology into our operations to spearhead changes in our business model and pave the way for new avenues of growth.” He further emphasized, “SK Networks plans to enhance the ecosystem related to future industries, including AI, to expand its role as a ‘Global Innovation Gatekeeper’.”

The event highlighted a live demonstration of Humane’s AI Pin, a cutting-edge device and software platform startup jointly invested by Kindred Ventures and SK Networks. Imran Chaudhri, Co-Founder of Humane, personally showcased the functionality of the AI pin, roughly the size of a pocket watch, seamlessly integrating OpenAI and proprietary and open source AI models. Kicking off with the screen activation triggered by a laser emitted from the AI pin when the palm is placed nearby, attendees on-site were captivated by diverse features, including voice and touch capabilities for calling and texting, AI technology-driven e-mail summarization, real-time translation of English and Spanish conversations, and providing calorie information upon recognizing food. Anticipation for Humane’s AI Pin as a next-generation communication and personal co-pilot device has surged, drawing comparisons to the impact of smartphones. Humane is strategically gearing up for global market penetration, with its official launch slated for early next year, starting in the U.S.

SK Networks has announced its commitment to hosting future events, providing a platform to share insights into the evolving industrial landscape with investment partners, fostering mutual growth. Furthermore, the company is enhancing its global investment system to strengthen the foundation for future growth and drive innovation across its businesses through AI and data. Simultaneously, efforts are underway to enhance the comprehensiveness of the company’s financial narrative, facilitating a clearer understanding of the future vision for both members and shareholders. SK Networks is dedicated to a continued pursuit of innovation, aiming to garner consensus from stakeholders.

An official from SK Networks affirmed, “We are devoted to consistently generating value for our investors, going beyond organizing influential global forums in Korea alongside Kindred Ventures and SoftBank Ventures Asia, leading entities in global technology investments, including AI.” He underscored, “It is important to have a democratic and liberal AI, so we will enhance the SK Networks ecosystem to discover a Korea-based foundation model company and help it enter the global market.