The outbreak of COVID-19 marked the beginning of an economic turmoil around the world, making overseas business deals and expansions particularly difficult during these socially-isolating times. The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region has been exceptionally hard-hit, currently facing its worst economic downturn in two centuries and accounting for approximately 28 percent of all deaths globally caused by the coronavirus. In order to combat their challenges, Born2Global Centre, the Korean government’s deep tech startup incubator and accelerator under the Ministry of Science and ICT, has collaborated with the IDB Lab, an innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, to launch an initiative that would revitalize the region’s economy through the promotion of a sustainable startup ecosystem with this unprecedented program to support bilateral partnerships between deep-tech startups.

 

The objective of this drive was to identify potential startup pairs that originate from opposite sides of the world to form a partnership with the aim to not only expand their businesses but to also create a social impact in the LAC region. The startup pairs that are deemed to have the most imminent impact in their respective industries were approved by the IDB Lab to receive an equity-free grant fund of $120,000 in accelerating the initial stages of their collaborative partnership.

 

The successful approval of the five startup pairs has been crucial proof that despite pandemic-related restrictions, intercontinental partnerships between startups is possible, opening doors for new possibilities in collaborative efforts. The innovative startup pairs approved by IDB Lab to receive the $120,000 grant funds are as follows:

 

  • Advance-Adelanta tu pago - Shopl & Company : Advance, a fintech startup aiming to help employees receive their salaries in advance and to financially educate their users, and Shopl & Company, an innovative staff management platform, intend to integrate both their solutions together into a one-stop platform, leveraging their technological differences, as well as their diverse clientele.

 

  • Avancargo- Coconut Silo : Both Avancargo and Coconut Silo hold different solutions to solving the same logistical problems in the freight transportation industry. Together, they will tackle the existing complications, with Coconut Silo providing APIs and technological support in order to enhance Avancargo’s features. 

 

  • Maestrik - Riiid : Together, they will create a personalized English course for a new revolutionary English-learning platform, powered by Riiid’s AI technology, to help users learn English faster, better, and economically, so that those in the lower socioeconomic bracket can also be given the opportunity to learn a new language effectively and efficiently.

 

  • Proximity - Virnect : Proximity is a Peruvian startup utilizing AR/VR technology to provide training to industrial workers before they are dispatched to conduct their jobs onsite. Implementing Virnect’s AR and digital twin technologies, together they will focus on not only improving the training modules but also allow workers to improve the efficiency and quality of their onsite remote works.

 

  • Wheel the World - Dot : Using Dot’s technology for the visually-impaired and Wheel The World’s Accessibility Mapping System, they will collaboratively develop a Touristic Product that will allow travelers with visual disabilities to get a smooth and touchless travel experience with all the accurate accessibility information.

 

Born2Global Centre’s local partner in Mexico, Centraal, is a leading accelerator in LAC that is entrusted to take the lead and guide the startups throughout their joint journey. They will provide necessary assistance that the startups need in regards to the expansion of their businesses, as well as the social impact of the partnership on the LAC region.

 

JongKap Kim, the Chief Executive Director of Born2Global Centre stated, “The joint venture-type partnerships between startups created through the Korea-LAC Deep Tech Exchange program with IDB Lab was a challenging attempt to promote collaborative R&DB amid the pandemic.”

 

He added, “The intercontinental startup pairs were created as the result of an unprecedented endeavor under contact-free, physically-distanced conditions. The LAC was always considered as a distant market for Korea, but this barrier was overcome through an innumerable number of online meetups conducted by Born2Global Centre assisted by the proactiveness of the partners and startups in both regions.”

 

The Korean startups were matched with their LAC counterparts through online meetups since October 2020, identifying suitable local partners without physically traveling to LAC. The identified pairs have been approved to receive a grant from the IDB Lab to conduct their joint partnerships in pursuit of their business expansion, putting focus on the social impact they will have across the LAC region.

 

Born2Global Centre will continue to focus on providing a diverse set of global market acceleration and consultancy programs, as well as the continuous effort in discovering new ways of helping startups expand their business on a global scale.

 

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