If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Born2Global Centre has managed to launch PMF (Product-Market-Fit), and Boot-X programs for globalization of deep tech startups, create partnerships with multilateral development banks to boost entrepreneurship in developing countries, and forge joint ventures amongst Korean and international startups for global expansion.
What’s next? With these milestones under our belts, we take a look at the interview with Korea’s People Magazine done by Born2Global Centre’s Chief Executive Director JongKap Kim to see what promising plans are ahead for this new year.
Born2Global Centre will spearhead the expansion of technological adaptations by taking the lead in linking outstanding domestic technology with international organizations. As the main government agency under the Ministry of Science and ICT that supports deep tech startups, we actively drive growth into the global market. During these prolonged pandemic times, Korean companies are going virtual, and Born2Global Centre will work tirelessly to ease the transition towards usage and accessibility of such platforms.
As the head of the organization since 2015, JongKap Kim brings his 20+ years of international experience as a seasoned entrepreneur and advisor into globalizing innovative Korean technology. To this end, Born2Global Centre will further expand our work with international organizations, such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank, and Green Climate Fund (GCF) in addition to creating new collaborations with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and African Development Bank (AfDB), among others, to lay the foundation for a solid tech network, stretching over 5 Oceans and 6 continents.
Born2Global Centre will be conducting our annual member startup recruitment process in Q1 of 2021 and look forward to meeting more viable startups, who will upon selection be provided with full support for global business readiness. We will focus on meticulously choosing and promoting our member startups, so as to establish Born2Global Centre as the trusted source for cultivation of globally-competent companies. Through Product-Market Fit (PMF) consultations, we verify and develop products based on local market demands in the United States, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Japan, Latin America, and more. Additional support ranges from legal and patent advice to accounting and marketing services.
Furthermore, we are currently working on establishing Design Labs and accompanying Lab-to-Market programs that link startups to essential technologies stemming from universities and research institutes, such as the Seoul National University Siheung Campus and KAIST. Moreover, we are building a new platform upon which various tech affiliates can be matched with our global partners and overseas projects to achieve continuous commercialization even - or especially - under these remote circumstances of the pandemic.
In essence, Born2Global Centre will resolve to achieve a two-way cooperative international partnership model in creating the best practice for new win-win advancements through joint ventures in global innovation.
IDB Lab and Born2Global Centre launch a new initiative for promoting deep tech exchange in IDB member countries by supporting the formation of partnership prototypes between startups in Latin America and the Caribbean and Korea.
Learning from South Korea’s successful COVID-19 experience with deep tech startups, IDB Lab has partnered with Born2Global Centre, Korea’s global deep tech startup accelerator, to launch the LAC-Korea Deep Tech Exchange Program aimed at promoting global exchanges for LAC deep tech ecosystems to solve short-term (mitigation) and medium-term (economic recovery and reopening) challenges caused by COVID-19.
In Korea, this new program was launched at the LAC-Korea Startup Joint Partnership Prototype Unpackedevent held on October 21st at Pangyo Startup Campus hosted by Born2Global Centre. Ambassadors and representatives from (18) Embassies of LAC countries in Korea were the primary offline guests to the event, while the IDB Lab and LAC ecosystem players as well as startups from Korea and LAC countries attended the event via online. The Unpacked event, which was also broadcast live online, provided an opportunity for Born2Global Centre and IDB Lab to showcase the key highlights of the program and discuss ways to get the ecosystem players involved for its successful launch and implementation.
Irene Arias Hofman, CEO of the IDB Lab, welcomed the event, mentioning that deep tech is a strategic area with high impact potential in the Latin America and the Caribbean, and that partnerships with ecosystems like Korea this will bring forward mutual inspirations and solutions to the region’s systemic problems.
According to the details of the program which was unveiled at the on/offline event, Born2Global Centre, in collaboration with IDB Lab and LAC ecosystem players, will source Korean and LAC companies with innovative solutions in key sectors including HealthTech, BioTech, AgTech, ClimateTech, IndustryTech, and EdTech. The deep tech companies will then go through a matchmaking process to discuss the possibility of forming joint partnership prototypes that may be in the forms of joint ventures, knowledge transfer, or other innovative collaboration pilots.
The program aims to create 5-7 pairs of LAC-Korea deep tech joint partnerships which will be eligible to receive prototype financing from IDB Lab. In addition, to further promote the LAC deep tech ecosystem, the LAC ecosystem players that have sourced the selected startups will receive an acceleration fee. The successful joint partnerships will go through a period of joint R&DB supported by Born2Global Centre with the objective of expanding their markets within and outside the LAC region, and become leading innovators in deep tech.
LAC deep tech ecosystem builders including accelerators, company builders, universities, and corporate venture hubs are invited to partner with IDB Lab and Born2Global Centre in this initiative. LAC deep tech entrepreneurs and startups interested in partnering with Korean startups and technologies can also reach out to the local LAC ecosystem builder or contact IDB Lab and Born2Global Center.
Jongkap Kim, Chief Executive Director of Born2Global Centre, reaffirmed the timeliness and significance of this new collaborative effort by stating that “Born2Global Center, with the support of IDB Lab, will focus on making LAC-Korea Deep Tech Exchange Program the catalyst for promoting deep tech ecosystems in Korea and LAC countries and demonstrating to the global community that global collaboration and joint innovation can flourish despite the pandemic, helping nations cope with the challenges faced and prepare for the post-COVID digital transformation.
Born2Global Centre (Born2Global) will cooperate with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and begin its plan on Korea-Latin America startup joint venture program. This program was prepared as part of the support project for innovative technology companies in the ICT field to advance in the global market.
This program was made possible through a technical cooperation business contract signed by Born2Global with IDB on September 25th. This agreement was set as a solution towards global spread of COVID-19, which restricts public transport between the countries putting a limit on promising startups' global advancement and investment attraction activities.
Born2Global finds promising candidates and conducts JV matching between Korean-Latin American companies to support Korean innovative technology companies and Latin American companies, assist them towards joint R&D, demonstration of the product and market entry.
This program will help Korean companies to overcoming the restrictions on overseas business trips and collaboration with local companies in Latin America, will enable efficient, non-face-to-face localization of products and services.
The above program is gaining much attention and support from international organizations.
The field of ICT convergence is expected to increase and grow in demand due to COVID-19. Especially the following areas will gain attention: emergency response ICT fields (healthtech, edutech, etc.), quality job creation, economic recovery induction-related fields (fintech, climatetech, agtech, cleantech, industrytech, etc.), non-face-to-face economic and social technologies in preparation for the post-corona era.
From July to September of this year, Born2Global has been actively supporting innovative technology companies to enter the Latin American market by hosting online meet-ups and webinars with the Embassy of Argentina in Korea, the Ministry of Economy in El Salvador, and the Korean Embassy in Honduras.
Born2Global Centre, with the collaboration of the Argentine Embassy in Korea and the support of IDB Labs, conducted the second online startup meetup on September 16, to promote the possibilities of joint venture.
In light of the recent events of Covid-19 and the shift to the new normal paradigm, it has been difficult for bilateral partnerships to occur between companies of different countries, pushing the South Korean government to focus on the “untact” economic strategy, as well as announcing the “Digital New Deal” policy.
This policy proposes the strengthening of the DNA ecosystem. (Data, network, AI), transformation the digital infrastructure, and they have given Born2Global the mandate to source, incubate and globalize deep tech startups that can push further the digital transformation.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult for bilateral partnerships to occur between companies of different countries, pushing the Korean government to focus on the “untact” economic strategy, as well as announcing the “Digital New Deal” policy. This policy proposes the strengthening of the DNA (Data, Network, AI) ecosystem and accelerating digital transformation. Born2Global Centre has been mandated to source, incubate and globalize deep tech startups that can further accelerate digital transformation.
During the online Korea-Argentina startup meet-up, promising startups in the areas of Biotech, Fintech, AI, XR (CHEQUER, Crowdworks, Inc., Seerslab, FHLGames, Aivo, Increase, Nubi, Robin Tests and Stamm) as well as major investors and institutions participated in the event, where they discussed and explored possibilities of creating a collaborative bilateral partnership.
The first online meet-up was conducted earlier in July, and since the event, several startups from both countries have been conducting follow up meetings to discuss the partnership opportunities to enter and expand in the respective countries’ markets.
Born2Global Centre will continue to support not only Korean startups but startups from all over the world in expanding and entering the global market and hopes to act as the stepping stone for startups from Korea and Argentina to grow and expand their businesses to become future unicorns.
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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