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Korea’s Entrepreneurs Garner Global Validation As Local ‘Startup’ Valuations Soar Into The Billions

This article was co-authored by Alan McGlade (Digital Entertainment Ventures) and Nathan Millard (beSUCCESS) and appeared on Forbes on July 18 2014. As little as five years ago Korea’s startup scene was undistinguished, but now the nation has taken an important step towards establishing itself as a key technology hub in the Asia Pacific region and an essential partner for global investors and tech businesses. Two young Korean startups have gained the…

Korean Food Delivery & Marketing Are Going Digital, Present Huge Growth Opportunity For Innovators
1018일 전

You need only check out professional eaters on YouTube or Psy’s latest video to see that eating is a national obsession in Korea. What’s more, metropolitan Seoul is active 24 hours a day and is home to around 26 million people. Taking this into account its not surprising that the market size for the restaurant sector is around $60Bn per year, with more than 500,000 restaurants open for business. The area of…

Mbite, Korean Provider of Game Illustrators’ Platform, Receives Cash Investment from Global Brain

Global Brain, an early and growth stage investor from Tokyo has just announced its most recent investment in a Korean startup. The “GB-V Growth Fund Investment Limited Partnership” managed by Global Brain Corporation, has invested an undisclosed amount in Mbite Inc., from Seoul, Korea. Founded in 2011 MBite is a global provider of game illustrators’ matching platform “rainbow.dot”. The fresh finances will be used to bolster R&D capabilities and hire a global sales team….

Meet Eight Accelerators in Seoul That Aim To Change The Fortunes of Startups in Korea and Beyond

The Korean startup ecosystem has been exploding over the last couple of years. As more interesting startups begin to emerge, so the support services to power their success also become more diverse and more mature. There are a number of key accelerator programs in Seoul now, that offer a range of services and finance for early stage Korean companies. Interestingly there is also now a distinct push towards helping Korean startups connect…

FuturePlay, Korea’s Newest High-Tech incubator Opens Its Doors to Inventors and Engineers

Junghee Ryu is a rare breed of Korean entrepreneur. Not only did he found a tech company that sold to Intel, but now he has decided to reinvest his returns into the Korean startup ecosystem and has opened his high-tech accelerator, FuturePlay, for business. Junghee founded Olaworks, an augmented reality technology company in 2006 and sold the company to Intel in 2012 for a reported $30M. Olaworks and a Silicon Valley-based tech company, both of which…

A Team of Korean Neuroscientists and Engineers Develops Wearable Tech To Combat Effects of Alzheimers

A team of Korean Engineers, PhD-level Neuro-scientists and ex-Googlers is taking on one of the most feared brain diseases we face in the modern age. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) kills around 500,000 each year and the cost of care globally is estimated at $220Bn per annum. While this degenerative disease has no cure, YBrain has developed a solution for slowing the affects, with a rate of success believed to be greater than any…

Coupang, A Korean Next-Gen E-commerce Platform Raises $100M From Sequoia Capital, Reaches $1Bn Valuation

Coupang, a leader in next generation e-commerce based in Seoul Korea, has raised $100 million in financing led by Sequoia Capital, with participation by existing investors Greenoaks Capital Management, Rose Park’s Disruptive Innovation Fund and LaunchTime. This investment comes at a time when rumours about a possible IPO at some point in 2015 abound in the local Korean startup ecosystem, and follows in the same week that Korea’s other ‘mega-startup,’ Kakao Corp….

Kakao-Daum – The Next Big Thing From Korea?
1066일 전

I have been following the story of Kakao Corp closely over the last two years and its been an interesting ride so far, due to get much more so with the merger announced this week on betech.asia. While ‘many’ are confused about the benefits of a rising Kakao merging with Daum Communications, an internet portal in decline, I believe that there are a few key factors that ‘many’ are missing. Kakao Corp. – A Brief Intro: Kakao Corp…

25 Year Old Korean Startup CEO Nets $2.5M Investment To Connect Fashion Addicts to Retailers

StyleShare CEO Jayoung Yoon is only 25 years old, but has built a formidable fashion and style platform and has just secured a further $2.5M to expand her vision globally. This series B investment from LB Investment follows a seed round from Primer (20M KRW), and a seed round from Suprema & the founder of Daum ($08.M). StyleShare as a mobile fashion contents platform that allows users to share what they are…

New Kakao-Daum Merger Aims to De-Throne Naver-Line And Expedite Kakao’s IPO

Kakao Corp, this week has announced an agreement to buy Korea’s second largest domestic Internet-portal operator Daum Communications in an all-stock deal. It is hoped that the deal will boost the merged entity’s presence in on both Web and mobile services. The deal comes at a time when tech analysts are heralding the end of messaging 2.0, as most independent messaging services which have seen enormous growth recently will now have merged or been…

Korean ‘Hello Market’ Raises $2.5M to Augment Their C2C Buying Platform In Asia

Hello Market, who have just announced their first funding round of $2.5M, is a C2C marketplace platform service that allows users to sell, buy, and exchange goods and services through mobile platforms (Android, iOS) as well as the web. According to Co-Founder Alber Hahn their goal now is to continue to apply, update, and expand upon the craigslist C2C commerce model, with a current focus on further expansion into Japan. The Hello Market…

Korea’s Banks Foundation and Singapore’s JFDI Announce Partnership to Connect & Accelerate Startups Across Asia

Over the last year collaboration between the startup ecosystems in North and South Asia has seen greatly increased velocity as resources come together to enable the rising tide in Asian entrepreneurship to accelerate. And in recent days Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI), an accelerator based in Singapore, and the Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs (Banks Foundation) a community centre for Korean entrepreneurs in Seoul, have announced a partnership. This formal collaboration aims to…

beLAUNCH 2014 Speakers Provide Their Feedback An Amazing Event For Asian Startups and Tech, May 14-15
1084일 전

I got in touch with some of our top speakers in the run-up to beLAUNCH next week and was quite blown away by their enthusiasm for coming to Seoul to see for themselves why Korea is blowing up in the global startup consciousness. Below are a few of these quotations: Eric Migicovsky, CEO Pebble “It has been interesting to see the emergence of Korea as one of the most important high-tech nations…

500 Startups, Gangnam Style!
1086일 전

500 Startups: Asia is all about the mobile internet. And one particular country, home of amazing food and amazing connectivity has quietly been a technology leader not just regionally but worldwide. That’s right, I’m talking about Korea: home of 2NE1, PSY, Samsung, and a quickly growing tech startup scene. For a country of roughly 50 million people, Korea is disproportionately important in technology. Did you know that it was ranked second in the world…

An Angel’s Perspective on Investing In Korean Startups

Aviram Jenik is a rare entrepreneurial breed in Korea. He has built and exited two global companies and his third venture, Beyond Security, is working steadily towards an IPO in the US. In his free time Aviram makes Angel Investments in and coaches Korean entrepreneurs. I caught up with him recently to learn about his experiences as an Angel Investor in Korea. Disclaimer: Ok, before you think you’ve missed something, Aviram is…

Food Delivery App War in Korea Heats Up: Yogiyo Vs Baedari-Minjok
1091일 전

Food delivery in Korea is among the best in the world, and there are now two heavyweights battling it out for ultimate supremacy. Yogiyo was founded by Team Europe as a quasi-copycat app to the existing local player, and allows ordering by either calling the restaurant directly or by using an in-app quick messaging service. As a foreigner, the addition of the quick messaging service is really handy. It means I don’t…

What You May Not Have Known About Korea, ‘Land of the Morning Calm’ & Now Startup Hub in NE Asia

Korea, once referred to as the ‘Land of the Morning Calm,’ is emerging as one of the key startup hubs in Asia. I have witnessed firsthand the exponential pace of change in this once conservative and shy nation over the last ten years, and I am encouraged by the hunger with which local founders are embracing the challenge and opportunity presented by entrepreneurship. As predictable and arduous corporate careers begin to lose…

K CUBE Ventures: How This VC Became a Startup’s Best Friend

Investing in Korean startups can be a tough job for Venture Capitalists. Despite amazing growth over the last two to three in the venture ecosystem, we will have to wait for a further five years or more to see the fruits of this second push for a creative economy in Korea over the last ten years. As we know, VCs base their earning potential on few successful investments that can generate enormous…

A Year of Success in the World of Cookie AWWWESOMEness : The Cookie Run Art Team
1112일 전

Last week Cookie Run, one of the most popular mobile games in Korea, celebrated its one year anniversary after a year that has been huge the game and the developer team behind it. The game has seen four consecutive quarters of outstanding revenue and two months ago released on LINE. Since this global release, Cookie Run had over 10 million downloads in Thailand alone, and the game continues to dominate in Asia…

Facts That Make The Korean Startup & Tech Environment One of The Most Interesting in Asia

This article gives a round-up of recent news from the Korean startup and tech environment. Please feel free to suggest updates and additional news. If you want to check out Korea for yourself, we suggest coming to Seoul, May 14-15, for beLAUNCH, Korea’s top tech and startup event. While the event is based in Korea we welcome startups from across the world and have secured a top line-up of global speakers who…