Tribeluga is a Seoul-Beijing based startup accelerator with the core mission of connecting Startups to new (and traditionally tough) markets, primarily China and the US. Today the company's President, Lili Luo, launched the accelerator in a glitzy opening event in Seoul that attracted media from across the globe. Dignitaries from the US, Korea and China, including the Mayor of Palo Alto also attended.
The event was arranged to officially open the accelerator, but also as a way to explain to the world what Tribeluga is all about and to share the vision and future strategy of the organization.
In an environment that is often described as hostile to newcomers, Lili is building what she hopes will be a nurturing and supportive network of advisors who can effectively help overseas entrepreneurs enter China with confidence. If she succeeds, Tribeluga will be the first of its kind. The vision is big, the company's coffers are also clearly substantial. It remains to be seen how effectively the organization is able to translate opportunity to success. But the high levels of professionalism and energy demonstrated by the team, along with the exceptional networks already in place, bode well.
Tribeluga is now open for business and the team is speaking with a number of Korean startups that they hope to bring into the program. They hope to officially start working with Korean founders within the next few weeks. A spokesman for the accelerator also stated that in time they would be open to accepting applications from anywhere in the world, for companies with a particular interest in entering the Chinese market.
Three Pillars of Market Entry
Tribeluga will not follow the traditional route of three month acceleration. Instead they have created a bespoke program that aims to cater to the very specific needs of 'Tribelugans' who join the program. At one level the company can offer basic incubation, on premises in Seoul. This would follow a more recognized pattern of seed investment and mentoring. But at the other end of the spectrum, Tribeluga aims to offer more established startups full business development and marketing support in China. Their 'Advisors' will work closely with companies at every stage of the market entry process, from establishing a legal entity, through to building lasting relationships with China's large corporations and government entities.
The first Tribeluga accelerator is in Seoul, but the organization has plans to open another incubation facility in Beijing in 2015 and already has Advisors and an office in Silicon Valley. Connecting these three geographical regions is at the heart of the Tribeluga philosophy, and Lili used statistics in her talk to demonstrate why. China has the most startups of any country in the world as well as one of the most rapidly developing technology industries. Korea has the largest number of startups per capita in the world. And Silicon Valley is the heart of global entrepreneurship and innovation.
Tribeluga will focus on three core industries where they see enormous growth potential in China. Firstly, China is focused on improving pollution and energy efficiency, so discovering and incubating startups focused on Environment is Tribeluga's top priority. China is also aggressively implementing Health Care reform and so startups in this industry are also of interest to the team. Thirdly, Education is an enormous and growing market in China that is currently underserved by innovation. This is Tribeluga's third focus area.
Well-Being, Productivity, Creativity, Collaboration
The impressive (very impressive) building that Tribeluga is housed in has been designed with a holistic mindset that intends to extract the most from their entrepreneurs, by providing the ultimate environment for productivity. Each floor is spacious and luxurious, with natural lighting and amenities to keep entrepreneurs happy and healthy. This is not your average startup office, just check out the pictures below.
Disclaimer: beSUCCESS CEO James Jung is an Advisor to Tribeluga, providing connection and information on the Korean startup ecosystem.