We find the VC Fund manager for interested of "LAC-Korea Startup Fund"
스타트업의 투자 및 성장을 지원하는 1000억원 규모의 "한-중남미 스타트업 펀드 (LAC-Korea Startup Fund)"가 결성됩니다!
본투글로벌센터는 펀드 결성 주관으로서 스타트업의 중남미 진출에 함께합니다.
펀드운용사 모집 관련 세부내용은 아래 링크를 참조하세요.
IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank, is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals for the LAC-Korea Startup Fund initiative.
IDB Lab is supporting the creation of LAC-Korea Startup Fund to take advantage of both the momentum in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) startup ecosystem and the existing dynamism of the Korean VC and startup ecosystem.
The LAC-Korea Startup Fund will provide early stage financing to two categories of startups and scaleups:
LAC companies expanding within and beyond LAC (in particular Korea/Asia), and to Korean companies operating in or expanding to LAC.
This initiative is set to increase cross-regional investments via active participation of both Korean and LAC Limited Partners (LPs), as well as cross-regional partnerships between startups, accelerators, and other ecosystem actors.
IDB Lab, along with its interested co-investors, is now seeking a dedicated General Partner (GP) from both Korea and LAC regions who will make all financial, legal, and operational decisions for the proposed Fund, among other duties. The selection will be made by IDB Lab and independent experts.
Firms are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest by September 23rd, 2019.
More information about the opportunity, timeline, and how to apply is available via this link.
Firms from Pacific Alliance member countries and with proven regional experience will be preferred.
Any inquiries can be directed to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
Capable of creating an AI-generated voice recording with an audio file that is just two minutes long
Humelo, a startup that specializes in AI-based voice synthesis solutions and a member of Born2Global Centre, recently received a pre-series A investment of USD 2.6 million (KRW 3 billion) from KT Investment and Kakao Investment.
Humelo's AI TTS (text-to-speech) solution, Prosody, can create AI voice-read sentences from a short sample audio recording. Prosody's most defining trait is its ability to create voices that, like actual human voices, have variations in intonation (via adjustment of tone, speed, etc.) and convey emotions that are appropriate for the situation at hand—an effect that is the equivalent of using a voice actor. Furthermore, compared to existing technologies, which require a sample recording of at least 30 to 60 minutes long in order to combine voices, Humelo needs a sample that can be as short as only two minutes.
Humelo's technology allows the user to convert a Korean language recording into other languages, such as English, Chinese and Japanese. Also, the user can convert English, Chinese and Japanese languages into other languages as well. Users can also isolate one voice from an audiovisual file and change it into a completely different voice of one's choosing.
Humelo is currently engaged in diverse voice synthesis collaborations with top-tier Korean companies, such as KT and SM Entertainment, based on the growing recognition of its AI voice synthesis technologies.
KT Investment manager Choi Woo-seok said, "Based on the rapid expansion of the content and metaverse markets, there is a lot of demand at the moment for technology that imitates human sounds and actions. Humelo, which has already developed voice synthesis technologies that are competitive in the global market, has the potential to grow significantly in the coming years."
Humelo CEO Lee Ja-ryong said, "The market for AI-based voice synthesis technology, which is making forays into the fields of entertainment, personal broadcasts, audio books, and IoT devices, is essentially limitless. Going forward, we will be concentrating on developing new technologies and services that will allow Humelo to secure a dominant position, technologically, in all of these areas and more."
Humelo will be using its newly-acquired funds for aggressive hiring and the development of new services, such as dubbing in multiple languages and/or creating voices based on voice synthesis.
Clean Tech startup "Ecube Labs" has attracted US$23M worth of Series B investment from DS Asset Management, Open Water Investment, BSK Investment, and YG Investment. The cumulative investment is US$24M.
E-Cube Lab proved the marketability of the business model by securing more than 1,000 customers at its business sites in Texas and Maryland alone within a year after launching the U.S. B2B waste collection matching platform Haula in the second half of last year.
Haulla is a garbage collection service for customers at workplaces such as restaurants, gas stations, and hotels. However, rather than a fixed collection service such as a traditional "collection once a week," a smart collection service is provided to customers at a lower cost by reducing the collection frequency by about 30 percent using a smart sensor.
In addition, customers will always be serviced at the lowest bidding price by receiving quotes from several local partner collection companies at the same time and assigning collection opportunities to the lowest bidding price.
As customers at workplaces who paid an average of $300 a month receive collection services of around $220-250, the cost of Korean money is reduced by more than $1 million a year, and the number of customers is increasing intensively in cities such as Houston and Dallas, Texas.
Small businesses, which had difficulty securing a competitive advantage from large collection companies that generate trillions of won in sales, are also growing into a B2B platform loved by small local collection companies as they can take new business opportunities through Haulla.
Contrary to expectations that it will be difficult to expand operations due to the COVID-19 crisis, the proportion of self-employed people who have become sensitive to waste collection costs is growing above expectations, and if it grows to the current trend, sales of 100 billion won are expected three years after the service launch. The garbage collection service is basically carried out under a three-year contract and has a stable profit structure with little customer departure, similar to the business model of carriers.
E-Cube Lab was founded in 2011 and has grown through orders for various overseas city projects rather than in Korea, developing solar compression trash cans and installing and operating them in 60 countries and more than 300 cities so far.
In particular, in order to actively pioneer the U.S. market, a subsidiary was established in 2017 to operate directly in the U.S. procurement market, resulting in accumulated orders of about 20 billion won, including LA and Baltimore. However, although growth was stagnant due to the COVID-19 crisis, based on his long experience in pioneering overseas markets, he challenged to enter the U.S. waste collection market looking for new opportunities.
KDB, IMM Investment, Envester, and Noh & Partners participated in the investment round as new investors. Existing investors POSCO Technology Investment, L&S Venture Investment, and KDB Capital also participated, including some old shares. Deep Brain AI was recognized for its corporate value of about 200 billion won.
Deep Brain AI is a company that has global technology for interactive artificial intelligence using deep learning-based video synthesis and voice synthesis source technology.
Deep Brain AI has recently attracted attention from the industry by introducing an AI human solution that creates virtual humans capable of real-time two-way communication through deep learning artificial intelligence technology. This investment also demonstrated companies' marketability and technological innovation in various fields by implementing AI bank employees, AI tutor, AI announcer, and AI commerce as actual services using AI human technology.
Deep Brain AI plans to actively utilize this investment in the R&D field to advance AI human technology and plans to strengthen corporate competitiveness by spurring the massive recruitment of developers.
Deep Brain AI will also actively seek additional overseas investors during the second half of this year. Currently, it has local branches in Beijing, Shanghai, and California in the U.S. to form active business relations with various foreign companies, and recently signed AI announcer technology supply contracts with Qinghai TV and Beijing Broadcasting Station in China.
We have successfully completed the Series B investment round based on AI technology recognized not only in Korea but also in the world, said Jang Se-young, CEO of Deepbrain AI. "We will actively focus on expanding our business and developing new technologies."
Speclipse, a developer of laser spectroscopic and AI-based medical diagnosis technologies, raised KRW 9B ($7.7M) in funding, bringing their cumulative investments to KRW 15.1B ($13M).
The round was led by Signite Partners with participation from BNH Investment, Shinhan Capital, MiCo and MiCoBioMed. The company intends to use the funds to accelerate growth and expand operations, as well as its business reach.
Initially a cancer diagnosis device developer, Speclipse was founded in 2015 by a group of graduates from Stanford University. The first product, the Spectra-Scope, a portable cancer diagnosis device, acquired overseas medical device certifications in Australia, Europe, and Brazil in 2020 and has built a sales network in more than 20 countries around the world.
Speclipse is expanding the applications of its laser spectroscopy and AI technology from tissue to blood. In order to overcome the limitations of the existing blood analysis technology, various biomarkers in the blood are simultaneously detected with high sensitivity via its specialized laser spectroscopy. Through deep learning, a large amount of blood spectroscopy data obtained is used to make early diagnosis of gastric cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The technology being developed is expected to change the paradigm of liquid biopsy in the future.
Speclipse CEO Sung Hyun Pyun said, “The skin cancer that Spectra-Scope is targeting is a cancer with a high prevalence among the Caucasian population, and in the United States, skin cancer biopsy alone is a KRW 12 trillion market. Upon examining lesions with a dermascope (magnifying glass), doctors decide whether or not to perform a biopsy, but depending on the skill level of the doctor, there are incidences of misdiagnosis.” Byun adds, “By expanding Speclipse’s laser spectroscopy and AI-based diagnostic technology from the realm of skin tissue to blood samples, the liquid biopsy market can be completely changed for various cancers that have previously been difficult to diagnose in the early stages.”
Riiid Inc ("Riiid"), a leading AI education company and a member of Born2Global Centre, has raised $175 million investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2*. To accelerate the pace of capturing opportunities in the global education market, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round as the sole investor, which brings Riiid's total funding to $250 million. It is Riiid's largest funding round to date.
"Riiid wants to transform education with AI, and achieve a true democratization of educational opportunities," said Riiid CEO YJ Jang. "This investment is only the beginning of our journey in creating a new industry ecosystem and we will carry out this mission with global partnerships," he added.
Over the past year, Riiid Labs, the global arm of Riiid, has expanded the company's market across the U.S., South America, Middle East and Asia with partners such as Kaplan, ConnecME, Grupo INICIE, and Casa Grande, combining Riiid's AI technology and the content provided by those companies to create personalized learning services.
Riiid will use the new funding to further strengthen its AI technology and extend its global technology lead in AI for education. Riiid is establishing R&D centers and data labeling centers in the U.S., Canada, and Ghana to attract global talent and to build out its technical infrastructure.
Riiid continues to attract top global talent in education, including Marten Roorda, the former CEO of testing non-profit organization ACT, and Jim Larimore who brings two decades of education leadership experience at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dartmouth College, Swarthmore College, NYU Abu Dhabi, and Stanford University.
"Riiiid is driving a paradigm shift in education, from a 'one size fits all' approach to personalized instruction. Powered by AI and machine learning, Riiid's platform provides education companies, schools and students with personalized plans and tools to optimize learning potential," said Greg Moon, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. "We are delighted to partner with YJ and the Riiid team to support their ambition of democratizing quality education around the world."
By Hyunjin Choi
South Korean President Moon Jae-in participated in the government forum on plans, “The three major strategies to promote content industry” on 17th September at the Seoul campus of the Korea Creative Content Agency. Among the other dignitaries were Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, Culture Minister Park Yang-woo, Science Minister Choi Ki-young and Park Young-sun, Minister of SMEs and startups, as well as Na Young-seok, a renowned TV producer, NCsoft founder Kim Taek-jin and NetMarble CEO Bang Jun-hyuk.
“Content industry goes beyond a culture field. It has become a vital industry that propels Korean economy. It will enrich our life, and in the end, will become the source of requisite. Korean’s pride has gotten stronger than ever with the power of contents and culture,” said president Moon in his speech.
“World-best high-speed internet network enables game developers to create quality online games, making Korea to rank the no.1 e-sports country. BTS has developed an innovative business model to interact with fans directly. Furthermore, lots of Korean TV contents have been exported overseas such as “Grandpas over flowers”, a South Korean travel reality show. Responding sensitively to the fourth industrial revolution, Korean wave contents and creative contents by one-man media can be enjoyed throughout the world, attributed to global platform and world-first 5G commercialization technology. Highlighting the excellency in Korean contents, the government will support for any creators with creative ideas and innovative technology to fulfill their dreams,” added President Moon.
It is the first time for President Moon to attend the forum related to content industry. The Blue House stated that this shows the government’s will to support content industry.
Aggressive investments is a part of the government’s three major strategies for content industry.
According to the government official, policy financing will be set up for the next potential startups to scale up. The government plans to form ‘Content venture fund’ and “Content corporate guarantees’ to expand the investment up to more than 1 trillion won (USD 833 million) for the industry. The financing aims at offering financial support in the planning and development phase especially for the minor genres that have hard time securing investment. The funds are expected to enable high-risk, small-pocketed content market to finance on a stable basis.
The government will strive to secure future growth momentum by nurturing tangible contents harnessing Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. Public sectors together with the government will take initiative to apply the tangible contents to education field so as to activate the tangible content market.
“Our goal is to build the largest tangible contents infrastructure ever in Asia and cultivate the experts.
In an effort to maintain sustainable Korean wave, we will concentrate on increasing content exports abroad by expanding Korean language and Korean culture education. We will take action on creating solid production environment for creators not to suffer illegal copying or counterfeit goods.
Don’t limit your imagination. Challenge everything you imagine. The contents you are envisioning are going to lead the world. The government will support for you,” said President Moon.
By Hyunjin Choi
LAC-Korea Startup Fund(Latin America and the Caribbean-Korea Startup Fund) with USD 50 million will be established for investing in Korean and Latin American startups.
Born2Global Centre(Chief Executive Director Jongkap Kim) announced on August 14th that the IDB Lab, an innovation lab of Inter-American Development Bank(IDB), will form a fund for LAC-Korea. The size of fund is estimated to start from a minimum of USD 50 million. Through this fund formation, Born2Global Centre(Born2Global) will serve as a bridge for Korean startups to enter the Latin American markets.
In particular, the fund is going to focus on startup investments from early stage to Series B. Considering the growth potential in the Latin American markets, the main investment areas are FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech, Wellness, Biotech, CreativeTech, AgTech, Cleantech, Marketplace, E-commerce, LogisticsTech, and Mobility. Investment targets include LAC-Korea joint ventures, Korean and LAC startups operating in, or planning to expand into LatAm and Korean markets.
According to the IDB Lab, the amount of investments in Latin America has been consistently increasing. In 2018, it marked USD 2 billion, doubling from USD 1.1 billion in the previous year. Investment execution count in LAC also increased by 86 percent (249 cases in 2017 to 463 cases in 2018). With this brisk pace of investments, the number of unicorns in LAC has reached 16 companies including Stone, Rappi, and Arco.
Startup investment status in Latin America
SoftBank, the Japanese multinational conglomerate, has actively jumped in LAC startup investment in March by creating an LAC fund worth USD 5 billion.
“The countries driving the current LAC startup investment ecosystem are Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, and Peru. They are concentrating on local startups for finance, marketplace, logistics, distribution, shipping, agriculture, and education. Despite their effort to create an active startup ecosystem, they still lack in technological advanced startups. From a different point of view, the dearth of tech-based startups can be an opportunity for Korean startups to advance and mature in LAC regions, especially with this LAC-Korea Startup Fund,” said Mr. Jongkap Kim, the chief executive director of the Born2Global Centre.
“This fund is expected to play an important role as a driving force for startups to successfully enter the LAC region by multidisciplinary scaleups as well as giving a financial boost,” added Mr. Kim.
Born2Global Centre is planning to help Korean startups advance into LAC markets in addition to LAC startups to expand operations in the Korean market. It is going to sustain cooperative relations with IDB Lab and venture capitalists by sharing information and consultancy.
IDB is seeking a devoted General Partner(GP) for this LAC-Korea Startup Fund from both Korea and LAC regions. The selected GP will make all financial, legal, and operational decisions for the Fund and the successful candidate should be able to operate a global fund partnership between LAC and Korea. Proven experience with startup investing in LAC region and/or Korea will be preferred. Firms are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest by September 23rd, 2019. Any inquiries can be accepted by firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. The selection will be finalized by the end of the year.
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