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.
This seminar was held at the request of the Minister of Economy, El Salvador. Israel’s government is leveraging, seeking innovative technology companies as one of the solutions to support the resumption of the national economy. The webinar focused on the creation of a startup ecosystem hosted by IDB and the transmission of Korean best practices on how to leverage startups in response to COVID-19.
Born2Global Centre shared cases of successful startup support and strategic ecosystem formation to foster Korean innovative technology companies.
Several cases of successful response to COVID-19 through innovative technology were also shared at the webinar. In addition, Born2Global Centre introduced strategies for global expansion through formation of joint venture (JV) between startups around the world and Korean innovative technology companies. Start-Up Central also delivered their success story through the Israeli innovation ecosystem and startup support.
Korean companies that took a preemptive response with innovative technologies in the COVID-19, such as LINKFLOW (Wearable 360 camera), Riiid (AI education solution), and Dtonic (Spatio-temporal big data solutions) received much attention and raised expectations for possible collaboration with companies in Latin America.
LINKFLOW is a company that has supplied more than 20,000 wearable 360 cameras, FITT360, to Wuhan, China, which was designated as the epicenter of COVID-19. If a person in a protective suit wears the FITT360, remote medical technology can be used, reducing the possibility of infection through face-to-face contact.
Dtonic's spatio-temporal big data processing and analysis technology was used in the COVID-19 epidemiological investigation support system.
As the need for effective non-face-to-face learning solutions in the education market is increasing,
Riiid is spreading positive influence through their AI-based learning solution in response to closed education institutions due to COVID-19.
Jongkap Kim, Chief Executive Director of the Bon2Global Centre, said, “Even though Latin America is a place with high appeal, in reality, Korean companies were unable to actively enter due to physical and psychological distance.” He added, “We can overcome limitations, by efficiently localizing our products with services and continue our preparations for non-face-to-face exchanges between major innovation ecosystem officials in Latin America and Korean companies.”
The Born2Global Centre, a major Korean government innovation agency that operates under the country's Ministry of Science and ICT and greatly contributes to the Korean startup ecosystem, is now introducing Korea's innovative technologies to the Middle East market.
Through the Born2Global Centre, Seerslab, winner of the AIM 2020 National Pitch Competition held in Korea earlier this month, will go to the Middle East to participate in the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League.
The AIM National Pitch Competition was organized in cooperation with the Born2Global Centre, the official partner of AIM (Annual Investment Meeting) in Korea. The winner of this competition gets the opportunity to introduce its technology and establish itself in the Middle East market. AIM is an investment platform under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai and is an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy.
Seerslab will be in the final stage of the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Center from March 24 to 26. The company will compete against more than 100 selected companies from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Germany, the UK, India, Rwanda, Japan, and Singapore. As the winner of the AIM National Pitch Competition, Seerslab will run an exhibition booth in AIM 2020 and get to participate in networking events and business meetings with global investors. The final competition is expected to be witnessed by more than 16,000 visitors from all over the globe.
At the national competition, Seerslab received high scores for its AR technology service expansion and its impressive strategy for entering the Middle East market.
CEO Jinwook Jung of Seerslab said, "We are pleased to have been recognized for the value of ARGear, Seerslab's all-in-one AR solution, as well as to have this opportunity to introduce ARGear to the Middle East through our participation in AIM 2020, in which we will compete with innovative technology companies. We hope that the release of our platform will make it easier for developers to access AI technologies and content." Jung added, "We aim to become a leader of the global market, including the Middle East, based on our experience in building AI services for mobile phone manufacturers, telecommunications companies, and e-commerce."
AIM Regional Manager Kaosar Nazia said, "We know that Korean companies and technologies are thriving in the Korean startup ecosystem and going on to find success in the global market with their excellent technologies and global competitiveness. By working with the Born2Global Centre, one of the leading organizations in the industry, we can help Korean companies establish themselves in both the Dubai and Middle East markets."
After this pitch competition, the Born2Global Centre will continue increasing its presence in the Middle East. In particular, it will actively support Toss lab (business collaboration tool), Dtonic (spatio-temporal big data engineering platform), VisualCamp (AI-based eye-tracking technology), and GSIL (smart construction safety management system), which were runners-up in the contest.
Starting the road show by participating in AIM 2020 Dubai in March, the Born2Global Centre and the winning company will also participate in the Dubai Expo 2020 project, complete the PMF (Product-Market-Fit) program for Middle East market verification, and meet with local experts to discuss strategies for successful market entry.
Chief Executive Director Jongkap Kim of the Born2Global Centre said, "We are in close communication with various local partners, including AIM, which has an excellent pipeline in the Middle East, as well as investment companies, global corporations, and government agencies. Going forward, we plan to develop various cooperative business models to help Korean companies grow and gain momentum."