The Born2Global Centre released an article that highlights the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT)'s effort to support technology startups, included in the Korean Digital New Deal. As part of the Korean government MSIT, Born2Global Centre has played a crucial role by connecting Korean startups with various opportunities worldwide.
Since 2020, the Ministry of Science and ICT has actively implemented the Korean Digital New Deal as a means of overcoming the economic hardships caused by COVID-19.
The initiative focuses mainly on nurturing cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, as future growth engines. The initiative's core objective is to ramp up the nation's digital capabilities that the government believes will accelerate digital transformation across many sectors.
Digital transformation now becomes a necessity as the pandemic has transformed the way people shop, work, learn, and socialize. By implementing the Digital New Deal, the country aims to advance key technologies that are required to meet growing demand in almost all economic sectors.
Among others, the ministry builds the so-called "Data Dam" to collect and integrate fragmented public data, especially from healthcare and education sectors that closely impact people's lives. By building an integrated data platform, the ministry intends to collect useful data which will be utilized to develop AI technology for education and healthcare.
The ministry also pursues an aggressive investment strategy in fostering startups armed with innovative ideas and technology. A select group of promising startups are offered government aid in enhancing their research and development (R&D) capabilities and bringing the resulting products and services to a broader market, both at home and abroad.
SoftBank Funds Korean Technology
Overseas investors are taking notice of the Korean startups' technological prowess and potential, too.
Global investors have set their eyes on key promising tech firms including Riiid, Lunit, Toss Lab, 4DREPLAY, Class101, and Infomark.
SoftBank Group, which has been aggressively investing in startups, recognized their promising technologies, including AI-based learning, cancer diagnostic solutions and realistic 4-dimensional (4D) image technology. Last May, Riiid, a leading AI education solutions startup, successfully secured a whopping USD 175 million investment from Vision Fund 2.
Coupled with the SoftBank investment, the ministry's Digital New Deal support is expected to help these startups further extend their potential for growth on both domestic and global stages.
As part of the Digital New Deal, the ministry has engaged these startups in the initiative's key projects to transform them into the nation's future driving forces of economy. These projects include the AI-based precision diagnosis platform "Dr. Answer" and content powered by virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Korea's Future Tech Leaders
Among the promising startups, the AI-based education tech startup Riiid develops AI technology that analyzes student data and then provides an optimum learning program tailored to each student's level on both mobile apps and web-based platforms.
Riiid is also one of the startups of the ministry's "LAC-Korea Deep Tech Exchange Program." In September of last year, the Born2Global Centre, a part of the ministry, launched the program in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Lab. The program aims to foster innovative startups within Latin America and connect them with Korean startups. Under the program, Riiid currently partners with Mexico's online English learning platform "Maestrik" to develop a joint AI-based English learning mobile app.
Lunit, Toss Lab, and 4DREPLAY have also received investment from SoftBank as well as other global investors.
Lunit specializes in AI-based medical devices for cancer diagnosis and treatment. By comparing and analyzing chest X-rays of cancer and non-cancer patients, the AI solution detects high-risk, abnormal tissues with high accuracy. The company is currently working on the development of a new AI software that can predict a cancer patient's response to immunotherapy and even suggest a better treatment based on cancer tissue analysis.
Toss Lab is a creator of the enterprise collaboration platform "JANDI" which streamlines workflow among employees through features such as messaging, real-time file sharing and virtual conferencing. The technology now serves more than 2 million people worldwide.
Lastly, the 4DREPLAY offers a real-time, multi-view video streaming service "4DLive". The immersive media technology allows users to freely view videos of sports, movies, and TV shows, from every angle they choose. The firm currently supplies its 4DLive solution to SoftBank's 5G mobile communication services.
The ministry said that "Through the Digital New Deal initiative, our promising startups, which capture global attention, will see their technology and competence in the global market grow significantly. We will spare no effort to support them so they can grow into an 'international unicorn company.'"
For more detailed information on Korean Digital New Deal, visit https://digital.go.kr/front/main/eng.do.