On May 17th, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced the final selection of 15 startups with high growth potential to become the next unicorns through the 2021 Global Information and Communication Technology Future Unicorn Promotion Project (ICT Growth Project), with “Unicorns” referring to startups with a total valuation of more than $1 billion USD (~1 trillion KRW).
The initiative is a comprehensive support package started by the Ministry of Science and ICT last year for overseas expansion, funding the discovery of promising startups, and fostering 50 future unicorns by 2025. This proactive attempt comes afoot for creating another Sendbird-like case, as the world’s number one chat solutions company wrapped its successful $100 million Series C funding last month for a total of $1.05 billion valuation, making it one of only 12 current unicorns from Korea and the first from the B2B enterprise software space.
The criterion for picking the ICT-based companies with strong growth potential was one of the following: 1) companies that have invested more than 2 billion KRW (~1.8 million USD) from domestic and foreign institutional investors in the last 3 years since the establishment of the corporation, or 2) companies whose sales have increased by an average of 10% or more per year in the last 3 years.
This year, a total of 57 companies applied, and among the 15 selected are some of Born2Global Centre’s members, such as 1) 12CM, a world-class software platform that enables marketing, commerce, and Fintech services relevant to today’s mobile ecosystem, 2) Dtonic, a Spatio-Temporal Big Data Engineering Platform, 3) Welt, a Smart Fashion Belt that manages users' wellness and tracks users' overall health, and many others.
The 15 future unicorns selected by the Ministry of Science and ICT are the following, in alphabetical order: 12CM, 3D Factory, Animal Industry Data (AID) Korea, Crocus, Dabeeo, Dtonic, Elice, Furiosa AI, H2O Hospitality, Lumir, Morai, Social Bean, SILCROAD Soft, Welt, and Wizcore.
The aforementioned startups are provided with a total package of a credit guarantee support system, investment connections, overseas localization programs, and performance insurance through private-public cooperation with related organizations. Born2Global Centre will be in charge of implementing special programs, such as product localization consultations, counseling, and mentorship from local market experts in overseas locations.
For more information on the different Born2Global Centre programs/services or the startups, please visit our website.