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.




 

Toss Lab -- Series B funding: $13M

 

Toss Lab, provider of the enterprise collaboration tool JANDI, has raised $13 million in a Series B round, bringing its total fundraising to over $20 million. The round was led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, the venture arm of SoftBank Group.


JANDI is an enterprise team collaboration platform with a suite of productivity tools that include topic-based group chat, file-sharing, task management, video conferencing, and integrations with 3rd party apps. JANDI recently added integration with Zoom, enhanced security controls and an admin dashboard.

 

JANDI serves over 200,000 customers ranging from small to mid-sized businesses, to large enterprises like LG CNS, Nexen Tire, and Lexus with thousands of employees.

The platform currently support English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

JANDI has seen an 80% increase in the number of users acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a time when digital transformation is crucial for companies to sustain operations, real-time communication and workplace collaboration solutions have become essential for ensuring business continuity.


Toss Lab’s short-term goal is to secure more big-name clients so that JANDI is the first collaborative tool that comes to mind among the general public. In the long-term, they have the goal of growing Toss Lab into Asia’s number-one SaaS enterprise.

 

 

 

KASA Korea -- Series B funding: $7.8M

 

KASA Korea, a property technology startup, has raised $7.8 million in a pre-series B funding round. The round was led by Korea Development Bank. Northern Light Venture Capital, Kona I Partners, and Kukbo Design also participated in the pre-series B round. With the fresh funds, KASA Korea became to amass over $20 million to date.


KASA Korea’s service is an innovative indirect real estate investment platform that easily permits many users to share the rights to commercial real estate (office buildings, etc.) and be able to just as easily (and safely) buy or sell those rights. A bank or real estate trustee can then issue digitalized asset-backed securities (ABS) with the commercial real estate as collateral, allowing anyone to buy or sell property via KASA’s platform, even for relatively small sums.


Recently, KASA Korea has signed a strategic alliance with Hana Bank, the fifth largest bank in South Korea, which operates a real estate indirect investment platform. KASA Korea was jointly designated as an innovative financial service by the Financial Services Commission with Hana Bank for the 'Digital Real Estate Backed Securities Public Offering and Distribution Service' last year.

 


The Born2Global Centre, a major Korean government innovation agency that operates under the country's Ministry of Science and ICT and greatly contributes to the Korean startup ecosystem, is now introducing Korea's innovative technologies to the Middle East market.



 

Through the Born2Global Centre, Seerslab, winner of the AIM 2020 National Pitch Competition held in Korea earlier this month, will go to the Middle East to participate in the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League.

 

The AIM National Pitch Competition was organized in cooperation with the Born2Global Centre, the official partner of AIM (Annual Investment Meeting) in Korea. The winner of this competition gets the opportunity to introduce its technology and establish itself in the Middle East market. AIM is an investment platform under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai and is an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy.

 

Seerslab will be in the final stage of the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Center from March 24 to 26. The company will compete against more than 100 selected companies from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Germany, the UK, India, Rwanda, Japan, and Singapore. As the winner of the AIM National Pitch Competition, Seerslab will run an exhibition booth in AIM 2020 and get to participate in networking events and business meetings with global investors. The final competition is expected to be witnessed by more than 16,000 visitors from all over the globe.

 

 

At the national competition, Seerslab received high scores for its AR technology service expansion and its impressive strategy for entering the Middle East market.

 

CEO Jinwook Jung of Seerslab said, "We are pleased to have been recognized for the value of ARGear, Seerslab's all-in-one AR solution, as well as to have this opportunity to introduce ARGear to the Middle East through our participation in AIM 2020, in which we will compete with innovative technology companies. We hope that the release of our platform will make it easier for developers to access AI technologies and content." Jung added, "We aim to become a leader of the global market, including the Middle East, based on our experience in building AI services for mobile phone manufacturers, telecommunications companies, and e-commerce."

 

AIM Regional Manager Kaosar Nazia said, "We know that Korean companies and technologies are thriving in the Korean startup ecosystem and going on to find success in the global market with their excellent technologies and global competitiveness. By working with the Born2Global Centre, one of the leading organizations in the industry, we can help Korean companies establish themselves in both the Dubai and Middle East markets."



 

After this pitch competition, the Born2Global Centre will continue increasing its presence in the Middle East. In particular, it will actively support Toss lab (business collaboration tool), Dtonic (spatio-temporal big data engineering platform), VisualCamp (AI-based eye-tracking technology), and GSIL (smart construction safety management system), which were runners-up in the contest.

 

Starting the road show by participating in AIM 2020 Dubai in March, the Born2Global Centre and the winning company will also participate in the Dubai Expo 2020 project, complete the PMF (Product-Market-Fit) program for Middle East market verification, and meet with local experts to discuss strategies for successful market entry.

 

Chief Executive Director Jongkap Kim of the Born2Global Centre said, "We are in close communication with various local partners, including AIM, which has an excellent pipeline in the Middle East, as well as investment companies, global corporations, and government agencies. Going forward, we plan to develop various cooperative business models to help Korean companies grow and gain momentum."



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