Samsung Invests In Cloudant, A CIA-Backed, YC Alum That Specializes In Database-As-A-Service Technologies

Samsung continues to make good on its commitment to investing in more startups that will help it build out its portfolio of services beyond hardware. Today the company announced that it has taken a strategic investment in Cloudant — a specialist in cloud-based mobile enterprise solutions, specifically around the area of NoSQL and database-as-a-service technology. By way of an investment from In-Q-tel, Cloudant counts the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies among its backers, and customers. And, perhaps in keeping with what you might expect from a company that works with the CIA, the value of Samsung’s investment announced today has not been disclosed.

Other investors in Cloudant include Y Combinator (Cloudant was in the 2008 class) and Avalon Ventures, with disclosed investments in the company totalling $4 million.

The news comes in the same week that Samsung launched another investment vehicle, in addition to Samsung Ventures, to raise its profile among the startup community: it’s committing $100 million in the Samsung Catalyst Fund for components and subsystems startups. That’s in addition to the $1 billion it has already committed to its Venture Americas fund and other R&D efforts worldwide.

Samsung says that its Cloudant investment will be used to further R&D into mobile application data management and data distribution technologies — an area that becomes increasingly important with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices that rely on content stored in the cloud. Cloudant’s technology covers the storage, processing, transfer, and management of the data that is consumed on these devices.

“Samsung Ventures believes a globally distributed data layer and management of that data is especially critical for large enterprise businesses,” said Hyuk-Jeen Suh, Senior Investment Manager with Samsung Ventures America, in a statement. “We felt that this is the right time to strategically invest in Cloudant to support the company’s vision to manage the proliferation of data to be created by, for example, mobile devices, machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies, and the ‘Internet of things’ in the future.”

For Samsung, Cloudant’s technology is potentially useful both for itself as service provider to its consumer base, but also as a service that can be sold out as part of larger enterprise solutions that Samsung could potentially offer bundled with its own hardware, or as a separate IT solution. Enterprise is an area that companies like Apple increasingly like to tout as a target audience for its hardware, with the company securing deals with both government and private organizations.

Samsung has been slowly building up its holdings among startups that are aimed at mobile enterprise solutions. In January, it also disclosed a strategic investment in Fixmo, a Canadian mobile security and risk management specialist. Like Cloudant, Fixmo’s technology is something that Samsung could use integrated into its own consumer offerings as well as an enterprise-focused solution.