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


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.



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."



For more detailed information on Riiid, visit and Riiid Labs




Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the world and lives. Leading the AI revolution are tech startups across the globe. CB Insights, the US-based business analytics platform and global database that provides market intelligence on private companies and investor activities, has come out with its 2021 list of promising startups in the AI area.


CB Insights unveiled the winners of the fifth annual AI 100 recently, which includes promising private AI companies from 12 countries, driving innovation across 18 industries and a broad range of cross-industry applications. 2021’s winners are working on solutions including AI transparency, climate risk, virus modeling, health, COVID-19 solutions, education, and more.


Startups from 12 countries get named in the list


In this year’s list, healthcare has been a highly represented core industry, with eight selected companies focused on dental insurance, surgical tech, clinical trials, etc. Also, emphasis was on COVID-19 related solutions with a selection of companies that have developed new products and features directly in response to the pandemic to mitigate its impact and help clients adapt. For example, US-based CB Insights, released SARS-CoV-2-related imaging datasets publicly to improve understanding of the virus and its impact on human cells. US company CB Insights, released a simplified version of its photo documentation product for construction companies to track job sites remotely. And Canadian startup CB Insights, launched COVID-Net, a suite of neural networks for Covid-19 detection and risk assessment in chest radiography.


The CB Insights research team selected the AI 100 from a pool of over 6,000 companies based on several factors, including patent activity, investor quality, news sentiment analysis, proprietary Mosaic scores, market potential, partnerships, competitive landscape, team strength, and tech novelty. The CB Insights,, based on CB Insights’ algorithm, measures the overall health and growth potential of private companies to help predict a company’s momentum.


“This is the fifth year CB Insights has recognized the most promising private artificial intelligence companies with the AI 100, and this is one of the most global groups we’ve ever seen. This year’s cohort spans 18 industries and is working on everything from climate risk to accelerating drug R&D,” said CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal. “Last year’s AI 100 companies had a remarkable run after being named to the list, with more than 50% going on to raise additional financing (totaling $5.2B), including 16 $100 million+ mega-rounds. Many also went on to exit via M&A, SPAC, or IPO. As industry after industry adopts AI, we expect this year’s class will see similar levels of interest from investors, acquirers, and customers.”


Besides healthcare, early-stage innovators, top-funded companies, and 12 unicorn companies also made it to the AI 100 list. While 64% of the selected companies are headquartered in the US, Eight of the winners are based in the UK, followed by 6 each in China and Israel, and 5 in Canada. Other countries represented in this year’s list include Japan, Denmark, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Germany, and South Korea.



Riiid gets recognized for its remote learning solution


Korean edutech startup Riiid has achieved a place on the global list for its AI-based education solutions. The only other edutech company on the list is US-based ELSA, an English pronunciation coaching service.


Talking about Riiid’s inclusion in the list, YJ Jang, co-founder, and CEO of Riiid, said,“Riiid’s inclusion on the list validates our drive to apply AI to create a personalized learning experience and empower global education players to rethink traditional instruction. We were founded to make exponential changes in education, and we are indeed pioneering a new paradigm. The coronavirus pandemic created a perfect storm for Riiid to provide its proprietary AI technologies to meet the demand for the highest quality remote learning solution.”


Riiid, based in South Korea, features AI technology that analyzes student data and content, predicts scores and user behavior and recommends personalized study plans in real-time to help students achieve their learning potential. Riiid offers a mobile test prep app for a popular English proficiency exam that is used by more than two million students in Korea and Japan and reached No. 1 in sales among education apps in those markets. In addition, Riiid Labs, the company’s global arm based in Silicon Valley, has partnered with education companies including Kaplan, ConnecME, Grupo INICIE, and Casa Grande to combine Riiid’s AI technology and the content provided by those companies, creating personalized learning mobile apps in Korea, Egypt, UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Brazil, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.


To generate research and attract top AI talent to education, last year Riiid successfully launched the inaugural Riiid AIEd Challenge, carried out on Google’s Kaggle platform. More than 3,390 teams from 90 countries participated — the most of any 2020 Kaggle algorithm competition hosted by a business entity. Riiid also hosted an AI in education workshop at the 35th annual AAAI conference with speakers including Thomas Frey, DaVinci Institute; Elizabeth Bailey Kozleski, Stanford Graduate School of Education; Martha Kanter, CEO of College Promise and the former U.S. Under Secretary of Education for the Obama Administration; and Kumar Garg, Schmidt Futures Foundation.



Riiid Labs, the global arm of AI-education company Riiid, has announced that researchers at Riiid will be hosting the Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIEd) workshop on Feb. 9 at the 35th annual Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) virtual conference.

At the workshop, titled ‘Imagining Post-COVID Education with AI,’ AIEd researchers from around the world will gather virtually to consider the practical development of AI systems for teaching. COVID-19 has accelerated the inevitable transformation towards virtual education, leading to an unprecedented demand for scalable, personalized learning systems.

“Riiid is working towards realizing AI solutions that would drive a learner-centric education paradigm shift,” said Riiid founder and CEO, YJ Jang. “Not only the interest and participation of global top-level AI researchers are necessary but we need a consensus among various stakeholders in education as well as the public to make changes in education.”

Co chaired by Paul Kim, Chief Technology Officer and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, and Neil Heffernan, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the workshop will feature many important speakers in the fields of education and AI including:

  • Thomas Frey, Futurist, DaVinci Institute
  • Mark Schneider, Director, Institute for Education Sciences, US Dept of Education
  • Amy Baylor, Program Director, National Science Foundation
  • Elizabeth Bailey Kozleski, Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education
  • Martha Kanter, CEO of College Promise and former US Undersecretary of Education
  • Kumar Garg, Managing Director at Schmidt Futures Foundation
  • Bryan Richardson, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Adam Kalai, Senior Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

The speakers will focus on why educational innovation through technology is needed, what solutions education needs now and in the future, and what AI technology is currently applicable and in development. Furthermore, discussions will be held on a wide range of topics such as the establishment of ethical standards necessary for the development and application of AI technology, the importance of eliminating data bias, and support for underprivileged students.

At the workshop, winners from the inaugural Riiid AIEd Challenge will present their state-of-the-art Knowledge Tracing models. The Challenge aimed to provide a common ground for researchers to share their cutting-edge insights on AIEd and encourage. Its success – it was the biggest competition of 2020 on Google’s Kaggle platform with 3,400 teams competing from 90 countries – indicates a growing interest in the field of education among the world’s top AI researchers.

For the full workshop agenda, please visit

Riiid, based in Korea, offers Santa, a mobile test prep application for the popular English proficiency exam, Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). Santa has been used by more than two million students in Korea and Japan, and has reached No. 1 in sales among education applications in Japan and Korea. Riiid’s AI technology analyzes student data and content, predicts scores and user behavior, and recommends personalized study plans in real-time to help students optimize their learning potential.

Santa has proven the efficacy of Riiid’s technology and the company is now focused on providing deep learning back-end solutions for companies, school districts and education ministries around the world for a wide range of new learning applications.

Bon2Global Centre organized a webinar on the theme of Innovation Ecosystem of Korea and Israel with Ministerio de Economía (MINEC), IDB Lab and Start-Up Nation Central.


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.”


Riiid, a leading AI education solutions startup and a member company of the Born2Global Centre, has successfully secured a USD 41.8 million pre-Series D funding round. The round includes investment from state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), NVESTOR, Intervest as well as from an existing investor IMM Investment, bringing Riiid's total funding to date to USD 70.2 million. The funding represents another major milestone for the company, highlighting its more than 200 percent annual sales growth and adding over a million cumulative users since 2017. Riiid has been an active member company of the Born2Global Centre since 2016.


Riiid, based in Korea, offers Santa, a mobile test prep application for the popular English proficiency exam, Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). Santa, which has been used by more than a million students in Korea and Japan, reached No. 1 in sales among education apps in Japan and Korea. Riiid's proprietary AI technology analyzes student data and content, predicts scores and user behavior, and recommends personalized study plans in real-time to help students optimize their learning potential.


Santa has proven the efficacy of Riiid's technology and the company is now focused on providing back-end solutions for companies, school districts and education ministries around the world for a wide range of new learning applications.


YJ Jang, Riiid's CEO, said, "Riiid successfully completed domestic funding amid a slower investment environment due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and has made significant progress in negotiating with overseas financial investors to accelerate global expansion." He also added "Riiid is already in the process of forming various global partnerships based on its verified AI technology in both academic and commercial markets, and will soon unveil new products and services. We are committed to creating a future for education beyond our imagination through in-depth R&D and commercialization of technology."


The funding will be used to advance Riiid's proprietary deep learning technology that offers personalized test-prep solutions based on precise data diagnosis. The company will also work on providing a 'formative learning' support solution to the education market, helping achieve learning objectives through continuous evaluation and feedback on performance in the entire learning process rather than preparing for specific tests. Ultimately, the new financing will help accelerate the company's global expansion across the U.S., South America, Middle East and beyond. To support the effort, Riiid Labs, the global arm of Riiid, has been established in Silicon Valley to solidify the company's position as an AI technology company in the global education market.


"Riiid is establishing a global standard while defining valid technologies and leading researches in the field of AI EdTech," said Jay Jeon, Intervest's Director. He added, "At a time when the need for effective remote learning solutions is expanding not only in the education market but also in various industries, the investment was made highly valuing the marketability of Riiid's proven business model in Santa, excellent talent pool, and various global partnerships that are underway based on a scalable technology structure."


Striving for technology leadership, Riiid continues to research AI technology trends and publish papers at top AI conferences including Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurlPS), the International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU), and others. In early 2020, Riiid launched EdNet, the world's largest open database for AI education to solidify global tech and industry leadership. The company has applied for 70 domestic and international patents, 17 of which are registered.


The Next Billion-Dollar South Korean Startups


There has been a relative lack of emerging “unicorns” among Korean startups, but according to CB Insights, more than nine Korean startups have recently reached the rank of unicorn. (A unicorn is a privately owned startup company valued at over USD 1 billion.) Coupang, Krafton, Yellow Mobile, Woowa Brothers, L&P Cosmetics, WeMakePrice, Viva Republica, yanolja, and GP Club have all been named unicorns, and seven of these companies achieved their unicorn rank very recently. As evidenced by this increase in unicorns, the Korean startup ecosystem is continuing to grow and mature. Korea is in 5th place together with Germany in the global unicorn ranking. The United States tops the chart with 178 unicorns, followed by China (91), the United Kingdom (19), and India (16).


Korea’s successful rise in the unicorn rankings can be seen as the result of the mobile revolution and venture boom in Korea that started in the late 2000s. Currently, the startup ecosystem in Korea is flourishing as investors are raising a lot of new money to find the next unicorn, and there are more opportunities than ever before. As the number of new venture investments and newly established corporations continues to rise, a second venture boom is becoming more visible.


According to the Korea Startup Index 2018, published by Born2Global Centre, the investment of venture capital in Korea is showing steady growth. The amount of new venture capital investment in Korea has been increasing since 2012. New venture investments increased 15.2% from January to May this year, reaching a record high of USD 1.259 billion (KRW 1.4894 trillion).


Jongkap Kim, Chief Executive Director of the Born2Global Centre, said, "The active launch of Korean startup businesses has heightened our hopes for the birth of the next unicorn. There are a number of promising companies now on the scene. One such company is SendBird, which started its business in Silicon Valley and gained fame and secured investments directly from local and overseas markets. In this and similar ways, Korean startups are producing astonishing results in foreign countries. We have seen hundreds of these success cases in the past five years. We look forward to the day when Korean companies will go beyond the level of unicorn and pursue different challenges to achieve the rank of decacorn.”


The Born2Global Centre has searched far and wide to find the nation’s next unicorns, and it lists the following companies as the most promising unicorns in Korea.

Here are 10 South Korean startups that are quickly galloping toward the coveted unicorn rank.



: Sean Sunbeom Gwon (CEO), Seungjae Lee

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 10 million (KRW 11.8 billion)

Last Funding Type

: Series A

Lead Investors

: Coolidge Corner Investment, Industrial Bank of Korea, Korea Software Financial Cooperative, Hanwha Investment & Securities, Pathfinder H, MORU Asset Management, E&F

Ecube Labs ( is a startup that specializes in environmentally-friendly garbage collection and management. The company independently developed the Clean CUBE, a garbage container that uses solar power to compress waste, and CCN (Clean City Networks), a service that monitors garbage collection and processing as well as the amount of garbage collected. By using solar energy to compress garbage, Clean CUBE can hold more than eight times the amount garbage that can be stored by conventional containers of the same size. CCN measures the amount of garbage inside a Clean CUBE to help establish an effective collection route. Ecube Labs has already successfully expanded overseas. Thanks to the positive responses it received in the U.S., Belgium, and Australia, it is rapidly gaining dominance in the global waste market. In 2018, the company signed a Smart City Contract worth USD 15 million (KRW 17 billion) with the city of Baltimore. The company plans to install at least 5,000 more Clean CUBEs within the next three years.



: Dongmin Kim (CEO), Wontae Kim (CEO)

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 31 million (KRW 37 billion)

Last Funding Type

: Pre-IPO

Lead Investors


: KB Investment, KTB Network, Find Value Asset Management, SL investment, Medici Investment, BNH INVESTMENT, INTERVEST


JLK Inspection ( provides medical solutions through AI-based technology. JLK Inspection’s technology assists medical practitioners with detecting and monitoring more than 30 medical conditions. This includes: Alzheimer's, strokes, prostate cancer, lung cancer thyroids cancer, breast cancer and joint disease. JLK's AI-enabled image analysis technology can cover MRI, CT, X-ray and even mammography. JLK received certification approval from the Korean FDA as a class III device, obtained European CE certification from European Medical Device Directive (MDD). JLK Inspection had received an accumulated total of USD 31 million (KRW 37 billion) in investments from VCs such as KB Investment, KTB Network, and Find Value Asset Management. The company is now preparing for its expected listing as a “Technology-Based Special Listed Company,” a newly-added KOSDAQ category.



: Jaehyeok Kim (CEO)

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 5.8 million (KRW 6.8 billion)

Last Funding Type

: Series A

Lead Investors


: KB Investment, Kakao Ventures, NAVER Corporation, Korea Asset Investment Securities, Platinum Technology Investment, DSC Investment


LetinAR ( develops and provides optic solutions for lenses that are used in AR glasses. With its independently-developed Pin MR technology, LetinAR overcomes the technological limitations of existing AR glasses (related to focal point, breath of vision, etc.) and aspires toward the commercialization of AR glasses. LetinAR’s Pin MR lens is based on technology that applies the principles of pinpoint vision to micro-mirrors. The technology enables the sharp focus of vision and the color expression of AR objects, regardless of environment, and can be directly applied to the small and lightweight platform that is embodied by AR glasses. To date, LetinAR has received a total of USD 5.8 million (KRW 6.8 billion) in investments from companies such as KB Investment, Kakao Ventures, NAVER Corporation, Korea Asset Investment Securities, DSC Investment, and Platinum Technology Investment.



: Beonseok Brandon Suh (CEO), Anthony Paek, Donggeun Yoo, Jungin Lee, Kyunghyun Paeng, Minhong Jang, Sunggyun Park

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 17 million (KRW 21 billion) 

Last Funding Type

: Series B

Lead Investors

: SoftBank Venture, Intervest, Kakao Ventures, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, KT investment, Formation 8, Legend Capital


The AI healthcare startup, Lunit (, is known for its development of “Lunit Insight,” a medical device that utilizes video data and deep learning technology to identify cancerous lung tumors. Lunit Insight uses AI-based, real-time medical video analysis software and chest X-ray technology to make real-time diagnoses of pulmonary disorders. The device is currently being used by Seoul National University Hospital to diagnose/interpret videos of patients’ symptoms. In 2018, Lunit completed its Series B round of investments, attracting a total of USD 17 million (KRW 21 billion) in investments from SoftBank Ventures, Intervest, Kakao Ventures, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, KT investment, Formation 8, and Legend Capital. Lunit is currently preparing to be listed on the KOSDAQ next year in 2020.



: TaeJoon Yoo (CEO)

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 22.3 million (KRW 26.3 billion)

Last Funding Type

: Pre-IPO

Lead Investors

: LB Investment, BSK Investment, IBK-NH Small-Giant PEF, Q CAPITAL PARTNERS, Hana Financial Investment, Industrial Bank of Korea, BNK Capital, ETRI Holdings


MindsLab ( is a startup that specializes in AI technology, which is characterized by an array of integrated functions associated with language, vision, and the ability to think. MindsLab’s major business areas include its AI hybrid customer center, AI-based smart factory/city, AI English education, AI robotics, and AI consulting services. The company recently secured a Series C investment of USD 15 million (KRW 17.3 billion), resulting in a cumulative total of USD 22.3 million (KRW 26.3 billion) in investments. Some of its main investors include LB Investment, BSK Investment, IBK-NH Small Giant Private Equity Fund, Q CAPITAL PARTNERS, Hana Financial Investment, Industrial Bank of Korea, BNK Capital, and ETRI Holdings. MindsLab plans to use these investments to strengthen its R&D, maximize the potential of existing projects (AI Hybrid Contact Center, etc.), and expand into foreign markets. The company is also the only international member of Amii (Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute), one of the top three AI research institutions in Canada, a country that is renowned for the strength of its IT industry. MindsLab was included on a list of 10 breakout Korean startups that was published by Forbes Asia in 2017.



: Ethan JaeSeok Lee (CEO), Jinwook Nujabes Baek, JinWook Baek, Sure Bak, Woosup Shin

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 22.3 million (KRW 24.9 billion)

Last Funding Type

: Series C 

Lead Investors

: KTB Network, Stonebridge, Yellowdog, SoftBank Ventures, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, Formation 8, Golden Gate Ventures, Bokwang Investment

Founded in 2011, MyMusicTaste ( is a startup for the planning and conducting of K-pop performances overseas. Its most noticeable strength is that it uses big data to predict concertgoer demand (i.e. whether enough people in a certain region/country wish to see a certain concert/performance). K-pop stars who have given global concerts through MyMusicTaste include BTS, Exo, Apink and GFriend. Last year, the company recorded USD 11 million (KRW 13.1 billion) in sales (37.9 percent higher than in 2017). Thus far, MyMusicTaste has received a combined total investment of USD 22.3 million (KRW 24.9 billion) from companies such as KTB Network, Stonebridge, Yellowdog, SoftBank Ventures, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, Formation 8, Golden Gate Ventures, and Bokwang Investment. Its overall value is believed to have more than doubled since the completion of its Series C funding in 2017. The company is now preparing to be listed on the KOSDAQ next year.


: Jeong Gyoun Han (CEO)

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 34 million (KRW 40 billion) 

Last Funding Type

: Series B

Lead Investors

: SK Telecom, LB Investment, Capstone Partners, Korea Development Bank, AJU IB INVESTMENT


Since its founding in 2013, 12CM (One-two-cee-em, has created subsidiaries and joint ventures in seven countries, including Japan, the US and China. It has attracted over USD 34 million (KRW 40 billion) in investments and is rapidly growing as a leading O2O/fintech company with a business model that combines cloud-based software, smart stamp hardware and authentication services. echoss stamp is a format that involves stamping directly on the mobile phone screen. Each stamp has a unique identifying geometric pattern and is activated by static electricity from the human body. echoss stamp is currently protected by approximately 220 patent rights. With 12CM echoss stamp service available over 20 countries around the world. Currently, approximately 520,000 people are using 12CM’s source technology to operate mobile businesses. The company achieved over USD 8.4 million (KRW 10 billion) in sales in 2018 and is now preparing for its expected listing as a “Technology-Based Special Listed Company,” a newly-added KOSDAQ category.



: Youngjun Jang (CEO), Jaewe Heo

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 23 million (KRW 27 billion) 

Last Funding Type

: Series C

Lead Investors

: Premier Partners, AlpenRoute Asset Management, DSC Investment, IMM Investment, Korea Growth Investment Corporation, D Ventures Private Investment Fund


Riiid ( has secured USD 18 million (KRW 20 billion) through its Series C funding round, which was led by Premier Partners, AlpenRoute Asset Management, DSC Investment, IMM Investment, Korea Growth Investment Corporation, and D Ventures Private Investment Fund. Riiid, an AI tutoring solution startup, has published the results of its research on its one-on-one AI tutoring deep-learning technology in an academic journal and is currently providing independently developed AI technology as a B2B solution known as "santA.Inside." Having already secured a cumulative total of USD 18 million (KRW 20 billion) in R&D investment, Riiid will be using most of its recently raised Series C investment to conduct R&D and further enhance santA.Inside. The company continues to receive acknowledgment for its AI technologies not only in Korea but in the United States, China, and Japan as well, with a total of 41 registered patents and patent applications.



: John S. Kim (CEO), Brandon Y Jeon, Forest Lee, Harry Kim

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 120.7 million (KRW 139 billion) 

Last Funding Type

: Series B

Lead Investors

: ICONIQ Capital, Shasta Ventures, August Capital, Y Combinator, FundersClub, Tiger Global Management


SendBird ( is a chatting/messaging platform that enables messages and/or conversations to be exchanged via PC or smartphone. Created using superior technology, SendBird now has over 1 million people all over the world who simultaneously use its services and can process over 500 million message transmissions per day. SendBird can also connect its chat functions to any of 14,000 applications and/or services worldwide. Its clients are primarily multinational corporations, including Reddit, NBA, Yahoo Sports, KB Financial Group, Shinsegae, LG UPlus, and SBS. Recent investors in SendBird include ICONIQ Capital, Shasta Ventures, August Capital, Y Combinator, FundersClub, and Tiger Global Management. The company’s headquarters are located in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley.


: Minseok Kim (CEO), Ryan Lee

Estimated Total Funding

: USD 12 million (KRW 13.7 billion) 

Last Funding Type

: Series A

Lead Investors

: DT Capital, IBK Capital, KDB Capital


Founded in 2010, SmartStudy ( is a global content startup that utilizes mobile content as a foundation for smart education projects and life services. The company is already being widely recognized as a global business and has captivated users around the world (recently included in a Billboard ranking) with its independently-developed content (such Pinkfong and the Shark Family) and outstanding mobile technology. In addition to creating video content, SmartStudy operates a mobile application that features its animated characters and, to date, the app has been downloaded approximately 150 million times by users in 112 countries. SmartStudy recorded USD 34 million (KRW 40 billion) in total sales in 2018 and approximately USD 6.8 million (KRW 8 billion) in sales profits. Its goal for 2020 is to be listed on the KOSDAQ. 




For more detailed information, contact Born2Global Centre.


About Born2Global Centre

Born2Global Centre ( is a full-cycle service platform for global expansion. Since inception in 2013, Born2Global has been setting the standard for successful startup ecosystem as the main Korean government agency under the Ministry of Science and ICT. Born2Global has expanded and transformed startups to be engaged, equipped and be connected with the global market.


The AI tutoring solution company Riiid, a member company of the Born2Global Centre, has secured $18 million through its Series C funding round, which was led by Premier Partners, Alpenroute Asset Management, DSC Investment, IMM Investment, Korea Growth Investment Corporation, and D Ventures Private Investment Fund. Such recapitalizations, in which DSC Investment is participating for the third time, have consistently served as stepping stones for Riiid's growth since the company's earliest years.



Riiid, an edutech startup, has published the results of its research on its one-on-one AI tutoring deep-learning technology in an academic journal and is currently providing independently developed AI technology as a B2B solution known as "santA.Inside." A team of over 30 researchers from prominent Korean and overseas universities (UC Berkeley, Yale, Seoul National University, KAIST, POSTECH, Korea University, and Hanyang University), all of whom hold master's or doctoral degrees in mathematics or computer science, is working to continuously develop and improve santA.Inside.


Riiid was also the first Korean company to present a research paper on AI technology at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), the world's most authoritative conference on artificial intelligence. The company continues to receive acknowledgment for its AI technologies not only in Korea but in the United States, China, and Japan as well, with a total of 41 registered patents and patent applications.


Having already secured a cumulative total of $18M in R&D investment, Riiid will be using most of its recently raised Series C investment to conduct R&D and further enhance santA.Inside.


A B2B service that is also Riiid's main business, santA.Inside can be easily used by any education company interested in using AI technology to provide educational services that transcend human capability. The solution allows companies to launch their own AI educational service brands.



Santa TOEIC is the first AI tutoring product that Riiid has developed, as a test product based on santA.Inside, aiming to introduce the AI tutoring service concept to the Korean educational market. An AI tutoring service exclusively for TOEIC students that has already secured a cumulative total of 900,000 members, Santa TOEIC can predict a user's score after he or she completes only 6 to 10 problems. It can also curate individually tailored problem and lecture banks in real-time and design the most efficient learning patterns and schedules.


Riiid's analysis of the rate of increase of the TOEIC scores of Santa TOEIC users compared to their usage times shows that, on average, 20 hours of learning results in an increase of 124 points. In late 2017, the service was converted into a paid service. Compared to the first quarter of 2018, sales for the first quarter of 2019 increased by 255 percent. As evidence of the proliferation of its AI tutor, Riiid announced that, on average, Santa TOEIC users solve a total of 910 problems, which is roughly equivalent to 1.5 paper workbooks (most users of paper workbooks solve fewer than 100 problems, after which they essentially stop learning).



Riiid, a prominent AI tutor solution development company in Korea, has initiated another endeavor to revolutionize the current ineffective one-size-fits-all education industry with an incentivized cryptocurrency reward program.




Riiid is a creative education technology company and a member company of Born2Global Centre that offers customized curriculums through its state of the art data-based machine learning and deep learning technology. It launched 'Santa TOEIC', the world's first AI Tutor for test prepping students, and proved not only its ability but the capability to replace human tutors through a rigorous study which revealed remarkable score improvement results of its users. Designed for those who are prepping for the TOEIC test, a current prerequisite needed in the workplace, Santa TOEIC is reshaping the old paradigm of the Korean test-prep market which heavily relies on reputable yet outdated academies and so-called "star teachers". Santa TOEIC has also been selected as the #1 best-selling app in the education category at the Google Play and App Store.

Since its inception in 2014, Riiid has been committed to investing heavily in R&D. Moreover, it has published a paper on deep learning and natural language processing at the Neural Information Processing and Systems workshop, a world-renowned machine learning society. In acknowledgment for being a pioneer in publishing a paper at NIPS, Riiid has received support from preeminent venture capitals in Korea and is continuously expanding as the leading global AI tutoring model. What's more extraordinary is that Riiid has taken another leap and has launched a blockchain-based reward system for the users of Santa TOEIC.

The reason is simple. It is their ongoing dedication to shifting the current paradigm of the rather run of the mill education system that primarily evaluates learners based on standardized test scores. The goal is to create an environment where students can be assessed fairly and accurately at each stage of the learning process through the cryptocurrency token economy.

The Santa TOEIC Coin, which is called STOEIC for short, is a cryptocurrency rewarded to the learners as compensation for all of their activities within the Santa TOIEC platform. Various amounts of coins are rewarded to each learner according to their level of effort which includes taking practice tests, listening to lectures, and increasing estimated test scores. STOEIC is largely distinctive from other existing cryptocurrencies in that its core objective is to increase the effectiveness of the AI tutor solution which is already in service. Other cryptocurrencies primarily focus on receiving funding.

"While the current blockchain industry consists mostly of companies based on whitepapers and ICOs, Santa TOEIC's way of combining an existing business model with blockchain technology is garnering attention as the gold standard of the token economy in real action," said Moon Soo Kim, Head Professor of Crypto MBA at aSSIST Business School. "A token reward system for the education market is an indispensable advancement in the blockchain industry", he advised.


Santa TOEIC is a highly personalized study solution powered by its cutting-edge artificial intelligence engine that becomes progressively more intuitive as it accumulates user activity data. In order to operate this system, Riiid has constructed a reward mechanism that motivates users to continue to solve personalized problems and listen to the provided lectures. Subsequently, tokens are given to users who achieve their target scores.


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