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LG spinning off some of its 'out of the box' projects into startups

LG is hoping to encourage its employees to think up new and unique ideas by spinning off some of these concepts into separate startups.

Published onMay 16, 2016

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Tech companies love to proudly showcase the concepts they believe will be a sure fire hit, proclaiming things like “this is the next big thing” or “we’ve done it again”. But the reality is that only a small number of projects every get that far (though some arguably should have never been allowed to live in the first place). Many interesting ideas are considered too niche or out in left field and are ultimately left to die. Hoping to shake that trend a bit, LG is hoping to encourage its employees to think up new and unique ideas by spinning off some of these concepts into separate startups.

Even better, these spin-offs don’t have too much to fear, as they have the option to return to LG in three years time, giving them a little bit of peace of mind if things don’t go as planned. For now just two of these ideas have been given the okay to transform into spin-off startups. First, there’s Infit & Company, which is a medical imaging company that will offer “commercialized molecular imaging systems” for easy, early detection of rheumatoid arthritis. Certainly a worthy cause, though certainly less exciting for most of us techie consumer types.

Next up is Acanvas, which is a consumer-facing effort to produce a 23-inch FHD digital picture frame that you hang in your house. The idea of digital picture frames are nothing new, but Acanvas’ approach actually is pretty different. For one thing, there’s an accompanying service that is basically like the Netflix/Hulu of fine art. You’ll be able to pick from thousands of different artists and can change the displayed picture depending on your mood, or to better match the room’s decor. All these changes are made through a companion app, and there’s even the ability to put up pictures you’ve taken.

The other big difference between Acanvas and other digital picture frames is the charger. The Acanvas has a battery life of around five hours but once things get a little low, you don’t need to worry about charging it — it’ll take care of charging itself. Basically, it has a drop down cord that will automatically extend out and make its way downward to a charging plate that is plugged in the nearest wall socket. Certainly a cool idea, but it also means you’ll need to keep the Acanvas fairly close to a wall port at all times.

Acanvas has already started pre-sales on Kickstarter, where it aims to raise $100k to get things off the ground. As you might imagine, the digital frame doesn’t come cheap, however. Early birds will be able to get the Acanvas for $399, with the retail price aimed at around $499. There’s also the $120 yearly art service, though the first year is free for those who pledge support to the Kickstarter campaign.

What do you think of LG’s new strategy? Should more companies encourage employees to run with ideas instead of burying them deep within R&D purgatory? Share your thoughts down in the comments below.

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