Korea Startup Ecosystem
SoftBank Makes Good On Promise To Increase Its Entertainment Focus, Acquires Korean Drama Fever

SoftBank has just announced that they will acquire Korean TV streaming service, DramaFever, for an undisclosed amount. DramaFever is a five-year-old Korean startup that streams global TV shows and movies online. The company was founded by brothers Hyun and Suk Park which also raised series A funding from SoftBank in 2013. DramaFever has raised a total of over $12 million altogether, since founding. This is the second major acquisition of a Korean online TV distribution…

Korea’s Sharing Economy Rocket-Propelled As Domestic Ride Sharing Service Gets $18M Investment

Correction: The ‘won figure’ for the investment originally quoted was wrong and should be 18 Billion won (not 180 billion won. The fugure of around $18 million is correct. Bain Capital has today announced that they have led a series A investment into Korean car sharing company, Socar. The total investment raised in this series A round is 18 billion won (equivilent to around $18M). Insiders point to a dramatic rise in…

New Global Strategies Required For Korea To Realize Opportunities In ICT
1088일 전

For as much as the last fifteen years Korea has been emerging as one of the front-runners in global tech innovation, but has failed time and time again to capitalize fully on the opportunities. Smartphones, 4G mobile internet, MP3 players, social networks, and mobile payments are just a few examples. Nowadays, the U.S. and China, not Korea, are spearheading the growth of these markets and Korea is at a dangerous position, likely…

Meet The Ten Billion Dollar Companies That Make Up The Korean Unicorn Club

Last December, Aileen Lee from Cowboy Ventures, identified 39 software startups that have reached valuations of over $1 Billion, and grouped them under the moniker of The Unicorn Club, in her landmark TechCrunch post. Since then, software startups with valuations of over $1 Billion are being commonly called “Unicorns” in Silicon Valley and worldwide. On the conclusion of a second very successful beGLOBAL 2014, where ten Korean startups featured in Silicon Valley, we…

As Sparklabs’ Fourth Batch Kicks Off, What Can We Can Expect From The Teams?

SparkLabs, one of Seoul’s leading accelerators, has recently started its fourth session and over the next three months will be assisting in the growth of another ten startup companies.  The ten companies range from healthcare to Internet of Things to social enterprise. “Our fourth class ranges from bootstrapped companies with products at their alpha stage to those that raised a couple million and are shipping their product, but every team we selected is…

As ‘Silicon Valley Mindset’ Takes Hold In Korea Samsung Employees Leave To Found A Startup
1094일 전

David Lee and Ryan Kwon, founders of a new startup Mobidoo, had hit the career jackpot by securing lucrative roles in Samsung. But chasing a bigger dream, but have now left to start their own company. While stories like this are still rare, they demonstrate a growing number of Koreans who are embracing the ‘Silicon Valley mindset.’  These brave young people are embracing the risk and opportunity presented by entrepreneurship instead of…

As Google Commits To New Seoul Campus And Overseas Interest Intensifies Samsung Remains Absent From Local Scene
1122일 전

Google, on an international mission to rapidly connect with the global startup community, has recently announced that it will open a startup campus in Seoul, Korea next year. This comes at a time when Korean entrepreneurs are beginning to prove that they have what it takes to make an impact, as exemplified by a statement from Google’s Bridgette Beam: “Korean innovators and entrepreneurs are some of the best in Asia, and Korean startups are making headlines around…

Korean Digital Rewards Service, Spoqa, Raises $2M To expand Into Japan

Spoqa is a Seoul-based startup that operates Dodo Points, a tablet-based loyalty platform for local merchants. Since its launch in April 2012, 1,500 local merchants in Korea signed up and Spoqa has driven 2.5 million customers to its partner merchants. Today the company has announced that it has closed its second round of funding, putting its total funding raised to $3.9M US dollars. With this round, Spoqa aims to aggressively expand its…

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
1166일 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?
1213일 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…