Patrick Chang is an early-stage investor at Samsung NEXT Ventures. He specializes in blockchain, edge computing, developer tools, and more. Prior to Samsung NEXT, Patrick was at Foundation Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and investment banking firms.
Patrick Chang started his career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers in 2005, after which he joined the Bank of America. Following three years in investment banking, Chang spent five years at growth equity firms.
In 2012 Chang started his MBA at the Columbia Business School, which is also when he started his journey in early-stage investing, joining Bain Capital Ventures.
Chang then spent one year at Foundation Capital and finally joined Samsung NEXT in 2014. Samsung NEXT Ventures is an early-stage investor focused purely on seed to series B investments. They write checks between US$250K and US$3M.
“Samsung NEXT is an innovation group,” Chang told Brave New Coin. “Our mandate is primarily around innovation; so it’s not just an investment team. We have other teams also working with startups such as a partnership team, a strategy and innovation team, product team [where we build products in house], and an M&A team.”
Chang first came across Bitcoin when a friend quit his job to start a Mediterranean style Chipotle, which was the first restaurant in New York to accept Bitcoin as payment. Chang then spoke to another friend from his home town, Houston, who was thinking about leaving to start a crypto exchange.
“He was so excited and bullish about bitcoin. I started buying some Bitcoin simply to learn more about it,” said Chang. The same year he joined Samsung NEXT, Chang started thinking about blockchain and how it could be used to democratize data, but also to connect devices, break data silos, and connect devices from different ecosystems without going to the cloud.
Samsung NEXT eventually decided to invest in blockchain technology and view it as a horizontal technology. According to Chang, it is an area where they have created a very deep thesis on where they want to invest, and where they thought there was a high potential for financial returns. The team defined their blockchain thesis in 2014 and have since refined it significantly.
Samsung NEXTs first investment was in a decentralized blockchain-based IoT company called Filament. Other blockchain investments include Dapper Labs, Alchemy, Kzen, Theta, and several others.
Chang explains that the biggest value add Samsung NEXT offers its portfolio companies as an investor is “trying to be their BD team to Samsung.” According to Chang, “there are so many different groups in Samsung and a startup only has finite resources, especially time to dedicate to a company like Samsung. So it is our duty to do the best job in positioning the company to have the best chance of success with Samsung and limit our portfolio companies from spinning their wheels with Samsung.”
Chang mentioned that it took almost three years for the Samsung NEXT team to make a partnership happen with Samsung for a particular portfolio company. The Samsung NEXT team spent three years getting stakeholders lined up internally, going through all the checks and balances, testing, and more.
The portfolio company is now preloaded on every single device that has come out after the Samsung s10 and powers all of the in-app search functionality for Samsung s-finder product.
As Chang previously worked at traditional venture firms like Foundation Capital and Bain Capital Ventures he has experienced the difference between them and a corporate venture capital firm like Samsung NEXT.
“The difference really is, in traditional VC, I would say it’s more competitive in terms of the deal because you have to make sure the numbers work and the ownership percentages on the investment can make up the fund,” Chang explained. “There’s a lot of sensitivity around the returns and ownership percentages. Whereas at Samsung NEXT Ventures it’s less of a priority.”
Samsung NEXT and Changs last investment in a blockchain company was in Forte. Forte is building a transformative blockchain platform for games that unlocks breakthrough community economics, creating new economic and creative opportunities for billions of players around the world.
The company raised an undisclosed amount from a series of well-reputed investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Canaan Partners, Coinbase Ventures, 1confirmation, and others.
“Forte’s one investment that I’m super excited about,” Stated Chang. “For Samsung, it’s very interesting because Samsung has been doing a lot in the game space and we really believe in creating digital economies within games.” He concludes that “We’re looking forward to seeing the platform go live and seeing the games that come out of it and also discovering how Samsung can be beneficial in helping them through either our wallet, game store or any other means of distribution.”