On May 17th, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced the final selection of 15 startups with high growth potential to become the next unicorns through the 2021 Global Information and Communication Technology Future Unicorn Promotion Project (ICT Growth Project), with “Unicorns” referring to startups with a total valuation of more than $1 billion USD (~1 trillion KRW).

 

The initiative is a comprehensive support package started by the Ministry of Science and ICT last year for overseas expansion, funding the discovery of promising startups, and fostering 50 future unicorns by 2025. This proactive attempt comes afoot for creating another Sendbird-like case, as the world’s number one chat solutions company wrapped its successful $100 million Series C funding last month for a total of $1.05 billion valuation, making it one of only 12 current unicorns from Korea and the first from the B2B enterprise software space. 

 

The criterion for picking the ICT-based companies with strong growth potential was one of the following: 1) companies that have invested more than 2 billion KRW (~1.8 million USD) from domestic and foreign institutional investors in the last 3 years since the establishment of the corporation, or 2) companies whose sales have increased by an average of 10% or more per year in the last 3 years.

 

This year, a total of 57 companies applied, and among the 15 selected are some of Born2Global Centre’s members, such as 1) 12CM, a world-class software platform that enables marketing, commerce, and Fintech services relevant to today’s mobile ecosystem, 2) Dtonic, a Spatio-Temporal Big Data Engineering Platform, 3) Welt, a Smart Fashion Belt that manages users' wellness and tracks users' overall health, and many others. 

 

The 15 future unicorns selected by the Ministry of Science and ICT are the following, in alphabetical order: 12CM, 3D Factory, Animal Industry Data (AID) Korea, Crocus, Dabeeo, Dtonic, Elice, Furiosa AI, H2O Hospitality, Lumir, Morai, Social Bean, SILCROAD Soft, Welt, and Wizcore.

 

The aforementioned startups are provided with a total package of a credit guarantee support system, investment connections, overseas localization programs, and performance insurance through private-public cooperation with related organizations. Born2Global Centre will be in charge of implementing special programs, such as product localization consultations, counseling, and mentorship from local market experts in overseas locations. 

 

For more information on the different Born2Global Centre programs/services or the startups, please visit our website.

 

 



Manufacturers are increasingly looking at locations other than your wrist to monitor health. At CES 2019, a Korean-based startup called Welt unveiled its smart belt.

 

A few years in the making, Welt looks like a normal belt but can keep tabs on a wide range of health data. The device tracks waist size, activity, and overeating to provide comprehensive health analysis while also providing health guidance via the smartphone app. Similar to the latest Apple Watch, it even has fall detection.

 

 

For fitness, Welt’s pedometer tracks steps and calorie burn while the belt also monitors sitting time and will nudge you occasionally to get up. Abdominal fat is a product of excess calorie intake. Based on calorie intake, your waist can expand and contract over a duration as short as half an hour. Welt keeps track of these rapid variations in waist size chart patterns of overeating.

 

 

As for charging, the battery is rechargeable through a micro USB cable and can last an impressive 20 days.

 

“Welt takes the health tech industry to an entirely new level with its customized plans for fitness goals,” said Welt CEO and co-founder, Sean Kang, in a statement at CES.

 

“We will demonstrate many of our new software updates, including the fall-risk assessment that can help the elderly or consumers who are at risk of falls.”

 

Welt has certainly come up with an original concept. The company raised over $70,000 on Indiegogo back in 2016 to make the smart belt a reality. A couple of years (and a few delays) later, the belt is ready for sale in the US.

WELT is planning to start selling the "smart belt" in Japan - namely, its accomplishment of 881 percent of its funding goal on Makuake, the leading Japanese crowdfunding platform.

According to K-ICT Born2Global Centre its member company WELT developed the world's first "smart belt," designed to assist users with their health management efforts.


Although it looks like a regular belt, the smart belt developed by WELT actually incorporates cutting-edge health management technology. Simply by being worn, the belt is able to measure various aspects of the user's health and everyday habits (waist size, number of steps, number of hours spent sitting, overeating, etc.). The data obtained through these measurements are automatically analyzed and sent to the user as a text message through a health management mobile application.

By wearing the smart belt, users can gain greater control over their lifestyle habits and thus prevent the major causes (overeating, lack of exercise, etc.) of metabolic syndrome. In doing so, users can take steps to guard against metabolic syndrome on a daily basis and maintain their physical health.

The recently released WELT Signature Edition is the company's most expensive product line and embodies WELT's unique design sensibility. The product's circular package design, the first of its kind in the world, is not only trendy but also reflects customers' desire to give the products to others as stylish and health-promoting gifts.

WELT's unique combination of a common fashion accessory with healthcare technology has allowed the company to achieve rapidly growing sales in the U.S. and Europe, where the product was first launched.

MD. MPH. Sean G. Kang, CEO of WELT said, "In November, after completing the delivery of all belts that were pre-ordered on Makuake, we will be offering our products, through diverse channels, to Japanese consumers looking for fashionable gifts that promote the health of their loved ones. If you want to give a memorable oseibo gift, we recommend WELT's smart belt, as it makes a trendy gift, in terms of both health and style, for all the men in your life."

WELT's smart belt is currently sold through diverse online and offline channels, including Bic CameraJapan's largest home appliance supermarket, and Amazon. Prices start at JPY 17,300 (excluding tax).

 

 

 

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WELT is a healthcare startup and the creator of the WELT smart belt, the world’s first smart belt to 

target the healthcare market. With a name created by combining the words “wellness” and “technology,” 

WELT aims to become a healthcare company based on next-generation technology. With its built-in 

sensor, the WELT smart belt measures the user’s waist circumference, number of steps taken, time 

spent sitting, and instances of overeating. The belt’s smart module sends this body- and activity-related 

informationdirectly to the WELT belt’s mobile application, which analyzes the user’s lifestyle and caloric 

balance to provide information and suggestions, such as recommending a certain number of steps that 

the user should take, thereby helping the user manage his or her overall health. In the short term, the 

smart belt allows the user to manage waist circumference, while, in the long term, it helps prevent metabolic 

syndrome and abdominal obesity, which are major causes of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

 

WELT has attracted attention at home and abroad with the uniqueness of its product, which connects 

a fashion accessory—in this case, a belt—with healthcare-based technology. As a result, the company 

succeeded in securing more than USD 70,000 in funding, more than double its target of USD 30,000, 

through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.

 

 

Transformed Himself from a Doctor into a Corporate Worker and Then into a Startup Founder

 

The backgrounds and relationship of WELT’s co-founders are quite unique. CEO Sean Kang graduated 

from medical school to become a public health doctor, after which he became interested in health policy,

including policy on remote medical diagnostic and monitoring systems. This interest led him, along with 

Director Ken Roh, to start a venture business that sought to offer a service based on a combination 

of games and healthcare. However, the business failed, and Kang returned to his career as a doctor. 

Later, he was inspired once again, this time by Samsung Electronics, to launch a startup. Samsung 

Electronics’ wireless division had decided to hire a doctor to promote its healthcare business, and it offered

 the job to Kang. At around the same time, Director Noh had passed the screening process for a position 

with Samsung Electronics to provide software education to liberal arts majors and hire them as programmers. 

So, the two men met again at Samsung Electronics, and soon came up with the idea to start a business on 

the back of Samsung Electronics’ in-house venture support program. Kang said, “I came up with the idea 

while doing research on healthcare diagnostic and monitoring devices, such as wearables.” He added, 

“To ensure that people are able to use smart bands or wearables properly, the devices should be easy 

to use, so I thought it would be great to apply the idea to a belt, as most men wear belts every day.”

 

To Enter the Global Market, the CEO Took a Plane to France the Day after Starting His Business

 

With the full support of the company, Kang spent about a year and a half focused on the development of 

his smart belt at Samsung’s Creative Lab (C-Lab). In July 2016, WELT spun off from Samsung Electronics, 

becoming the 11th company under C-Lab. Immediately after the company’s spin off, which occurred after 

more than a year of product development and extensive research on and preparation for entering overseas

markets, Kang and his WELT smart belt were on a plane to France. Kang said, “I felt that I shouldn’t waste 

even a single day, considering that I had already spent over a year developing the product, so I searched 

for and applied to various overseas market entry programs, such as KOTRA, prior to the spin-off.” 

He went on to add, “Following discussions with representatives of a European luxury fashion company that 

I had met at CES, WELT signed an MOU with the company on the sidelines of the Korea-France summit.” 

WELT participated in CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 in Las Vegas, as part of Samsung Electronics’ 

in-house venture development program. At that time, a senior executive of a company, who had learned about 

WELT through a pre-press release distributed by Samsung Electronics, visited WELT’s booth, initiating a 

meeting that would pave the way for WELT’s entrance into overseas markets.

 

 

Smart Belt Designed to Meet Both Health and Fashion Needs

 

WELT believes that preparation is essential to successfully entering global markets, especially promotion 

strategies and the provision of information tailored specifically to overseas target markets. Based on this belief, 

the company made thorough preparations to meet and consult with its overseas partners, using the prototype 

or demo for reference. In addition, it received consulting services in relation to legal, patent, and marketing issues 

through the support of other member companies of Born2Global. Based on the experience and knowledge it had 

accumulated through participation in the overseas Demo Day events, which was made possible with 

Born2Global’s support, WELT managed to draw up a strategy for entering overseas markets. It was particularly 

important for the company to engage in attention-grabbing marketing at global events. For example, it attracted 

the attention of visitors at CES 2016 by decorating its booth based on a luxury menswear shop concept, parodying 

the popular movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, as a means of promoting its smart belt.

 

 

Although it has been less than a year since the company was founded, WELT has already released products that 

it developed in collaboration with large corporations. In time for the 2016 Christmas season, the company launched 

a smart belt in partnership with Bean Pole. Kang noted, “The belt is a fashion accessory, so we are considering 

collaborations with various fashion brands.” He also stressed, “Currently, major global companies are leading the 

effort to combine wearable devices with fashion brands.”

 

 


 

 

Our member in this article

 

Description

We encourage users to embrace healthy habits while keeping in style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELT is a healthcare startup and the creator of the WELT smart belt, the world’s first smart belt to 

target the healthcare market. With a name created by combining the words “wellness” and “technology,” 

WELT aims to become a healthcare company based on next-generation technology. With its built-in 

sensor, the WELT smart belt measures the user’s waist circumference, number of steps taken, time 

spent sitting, and instances of overeating. The belt’s smart module sends this body- and activity-related 

informationdirectly to the WELT belt’s mobile application, which analyzes the user’s lifestyle and caloric 

balance to provide information and suggestions, such as recommending a certain number of steps that 

the user should take, thereby helping the user manage his or her overall health. In the short term, the 

smart belt allows the user to manage waist circumference, while, in the long term, it helps prevent metabolic 

syndrome and abdominal obesity, which are major causes of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

 

WELT has attracted attention at home and abroad with the uniqueness of its product, which connects 

a fashion accessory—in this case, a belt—with healthcare-based technology. As a result, the company 

succeeded in securing more than USD 70,000 in funding, more than double its target of USD 30,000, 

through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.

 

 

Transformed Himself from a Doctor into a Corporate Worker and Then into a Startup Founder

 

The backgrounds and relationship of WELT’s co-founders are quite unique. CEO Sean Kang graduated 

from medical school to become a public health doctor, after which he became interested in health policy,

including policy on remote medical diagnostic and monitoring systems. This interest led him, along with 

Director Ken Roh, to start a venture business that sought to offer a service based on a combination 

of games and healthcare. However, the business failed, and Kang returned to his career as a doctor. 

Later, he was inspired once again, this time by Samsung Electronics, to launch a startup. Samsung 

Electronics’ wireless division had decided to hire a doctor to promote its healthcare business, and it offered

 the job to Kang. At around the same time, Director Noh had passed the screening process for a position 

with Samsung Electronics to provide software education to liberal arts majors and hire them as programmers. 

So, the two men met again at Samsung Electronics, and soon came up with the idea to start a business on 

the back of Samsung Electronics’ in-house venture support program. Kang said, “I came up with the idea 

while doing research on healthcare diagnostic and monitoring devices, such as wearables.” He added, 

“To ensure that people are able to use smart bands or wearables properly, the devices should be easy 

to use, so I thought it would be great to apply the idea to a belt, as most men wear belts every day.”

 

To Enter the Global Market, the CEO Took a Plane to France the Day after Starting His Business

 

With the full support of the company, Kang spent about a year and a half focused on the development of 

his smart belt at Samsung’s Creative Lab (C-Lab). In July 2016, WELT spun off from Samsung Electronics, 

becoming the 11th company under C-Lab. Immediately after the company’s spin off, which occurred after 

more than a year of product development and extensive research on and preparation for entering overseas

markets, Kang and his WELT smart belt were on a plane to France. Kang said, “I felt that I shouldn’t waste 

even a single day, considering that I had already spent over a year developing the product, so I searched 

for and applied to various overseas market entry programs, such as KOTRA, prior to the spin-off.” 

He went on to add, “Following discussions with representatives of a European luxury fashion company that 

I had met at CES, WELT signed an MOU with the company on the sidelines of the Korea-France summit.” 

WELT participated in CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 in Las Vegas, as part of Samsung Electronics’ 

in-house venture development program. At that time, a senior executive of a company, who had learned about 

WELT through a pre-press release distributed by Samsung Electronics, visited WELT’s booth, initiating a 

meeting that would pave the way for WELT’s entrance into overseas markets.

 

 

Smart Belt Designed to Meet Both Health and Fashion Needs

 

WELT believes that preparation is essential to successfully entering global markets, especially promotion 

strategies and the provision of information tailored specifically to overseas target markets. Based on this belief, 

the company made thorough preparations to meet and consult with its overseas partners, using the prototype 

or demo for reference. In addition, it received consulting services in relation to legal, patent, and marketing issues 

through the support of other member companies of Born2Global. Based on the experience and knowledge it had 

accumulated through participation in the overseas Demo Day events, which was made possible with 

Born2Global’s support, WELT managed to draw up a strategy for entering overseas markets. It was particularly 

important for the company to engage in attention-grabbing marketing at global events. For example, it attracted 

the attention of visitors at CES 2016 by decorating its booth based on a luxury menswear shop concept, parodying 

the popular movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, as a means of promoting its smart belt.

 

 

Although it has been less than a year since the company was founded, WELT has already released products that 

it developed in collaboration with large corporations. In time for the 2016 Christmas season, the company launched 

a smart belt in partnership with Bean Pole. Kang noted, “The belt is a fashion accessory, so we are considering 

collaborations with various fashion brands.” He also stressed, “Currently, major global companies are leading the 

effort to combine wearable devices with fashion brands.”

 

 


 

 

Our member in this article

 

Description

Wearable Becomes Fashionable

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELT is a healthcare startup and the creator of the WELT smart belt, the world’s first smart belt to 

target the healthcare market. With a name created by combining the words “wellness” and “technology,” 

WELT aims to become a healthcare company based on next-generation technology. With its built-in 

sensor, the WELT smart belt measures the user’s waist circumference, number of steps taken, time 

spent sitting, and instances of overeating. The belt’s smart module sends this body- and activity-related 

informationdirectly to the WELT belt’s mobile application, which analyzes the user’s lifestyle and caloric 

balance to provide information and suggestions, such as recommending a certain number of steps that 

the user should take, thereby helping the user manage his or her overall health. In the short term, the 

smart belt allows the user to manage waist circumference, while, in the long term, it helps prevent metabolic 

syndrome and abdominal obesity, which are major causes of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

 

WELT has attracted attention at home and abroad with the uniqueness of its product, which connects 

a fashion accessory—in this case, a belt—with healthcare-based technology. As a result, the company 

succeeded in securing more than USD 70,000 in funding, more than double its target of USD 30,000, 

through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.

 

 

Transformed Himself from a Doctor into a Corporate Worker and Then into a Startup Founder

 

The backgrounds and relationship of WELT’s co-founders are quite unique. CEO Sean Kang graduated 

from medical school to become a public health doctor, after which he became interested in health policy,

including policy on remote medical diagnostic and monitoring systems. This interest led him, along with 

Director Ken Roh, to start a venture business that sought to offer a service based on a combination 

of games and healthcare. However, the business failed, and Kang returned to his career as a doctor. 

Later, he was inspired once again, this time by Samsung Electronics, to launch a startup. Samsung 

Electronics’ wireless division had decided to hire a doctor to promote its healthcare business, and it offered

 the job to Kang. At around the same time, Director Noh had passed the screening process for a position 

with Samsung Electronics to provide software education to liberal arts majors and hire them as programmers. 

So, the two men met again at Samsung Electronics, and soon came up with the idea to start a business on 

the back of Samsung Electronics’ in-house venture support program. Kang said, “I came up with the idea 

while doing research on healthcare diagnostic and monitoring devices, such as wearables.” He added, 

“To ensure that people are able to use smart bands or wearables properly, the devices should be easy 

to use, so I thought it would be great to apply the idea to a belt, as most men wear belts every day.”

 

To Enter the Global Market, the CEO Took a Plane to France the Day after Starting His Business

 

With the full support of the company, Kang spent about a year and a half focused on the development of 

his smart belt at Samsung’s Creative Lab (C-Lab). In July 2016, WELT spun off from Samsung Electronics, 

becoming the 11th company under C-Lab. Immediately after the company’s spin off, which occurred after 

more than a year of product development and extensive research on and preparation for entering overseas

markets, Kang and his WELT smart belt were on a plane to France. Kang said, “I felt that I shouldn’t waste 

even a single day, considering that I had already spent over a year developing the product, so I searched 

for and applied to various overseas market entry programs, such as KOTRA, prior to the spin-off.” 

He went on to add, “Following discussions with representatives of a European luxury fashion company that 

I had met at CES, WELT signed an MOU with the company on the sidelines of the Korea-France summit.” 

WELT participated in CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 in Las Vegas, as part of Samsung Electronics’ 

in-house venture development program. At that time, a senior executive of a company, who had learned about 

WELT through a pre-press release distributed by Samsung Electronics, visited WELT’s booth, initiating a 

meeting that would pave the way for WELT’s entrance into overseas markets.

 

 

Smart Belt Designed to Meet Both Health and Fashion Needs

 

WELT believes that preparation is essential to successfully entering global markets, especially promotion 

strategies and the provision of information tailored specifically to overseas target markets. Based on this belief, 

the company made thorough preparations to meet and consult with its overseas partners, using the prototype 

or demo for reference. In addition, it received consulting services in relation to legal, patent, and marketing issues 

through the support of other member companies of Born2Global. Based on the experience and knowledge it had 

accumulated through participation in the overseas Demo Day events, which was made possible with 

Born2Global’s support, WELT managed to draw up a strategy for entering overseas markets. It was particularly 

important for the company to engage in attention-grabbing marketing at global events. For example, it attracted 

the attention of visitors at CES 2016 by decorating its booth based on a luxury menswear shop concept, parodying 

the popular movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, as a means of promoting its smart belt.

 

 

Although it has been less than a year since the company was founded, WELT has already released products that 

it developed in collaboration with large corporations. In time for the 2016 Christmas season, the company launched 

a smart belt in partnership with Bean Pole. Kang noted, “The belt is a fashion accessory, so we are considering 

collaborations with various fashion brands.” He also stressed, “Currently, major global companies are leading the 

effort to combine wearable devices with fashion brands.”

 

 


 

 

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