‘Korea should use strengths in technology, intellectual property’

Seoul needs to form deep connections to the global startup ecosystem, keynote speakers said Thursday at “Start-up Seoul: Tech-Rise 2019,” a startup convention hosted by Seoul City.

The event is part of the city’s efforts to draw attention to the local startup ecosystem, called the Challenger Startup Ecosystem in a recent report by Startup Genome, meaning it has the potential to make it into the top 30 within five years.

“Seoul’s size is half of the top 20 startup ecosystems and is at the globalization phase that needs to continue to grow,” JF Gauthier, CEO of Startup Genome, said in a keynote speech about the global startup ecosystem. “To do so, South Korea needs to be deeply connected to the global startup network,” he said.

While becoming more involved with the global ecosystem by sending Korean entrepreneurs to the global stage for pitching or funding, he said, Korea should make use of the country’s strengths -- technology and intellectual property.

“South Korea is building on the fantastic foundation of traditional innovation system and intellectual properties,” Gauthier added. “You really have a chance in new deep tech, AI. Leverage tangible IPs and improve ability to create businesses -- this is where the power can be shifted for South Korea.”

Yann Gozlan, co-founder and CEO of Creative Valley, a network of innovation centers in France, also said Korea has a strong engineering background and showed great potential in blockchain and 5G. “You will have time to set up and try to make proof of concept and can go global quickly,” Gozlan said.

Park Sung-ho of SV Investment, which invested in boy band BTS’ management company Big Hit Entertainment, shared his observations on Korea’s startup scene by comparing the atmosphere in Seoul with that of other leading startup ecosystems.

“As an investor, I see different investment capabilities in Korea and other countries. I think South Korean investors tend to be very passive and they could get involved more with startups.”

The second difference is the global mindset. “While many people set up their companies after having experience in global companies, our founders usually have to learn by doing it from scratch,” Park added.

Event organizers expressed their support for domestic and global startups and invited them to establish businesses here.

“Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide opportunities for young people to begin their own startups. Seoul will become a global open platform startup city,” Mayor Park Won-soon said at the opening ceremony.

Park added that the city would offer support for research and development investment and prototype manufacturing as part of its efforts to become a test-bed city. Opportunities will be given regardless of nationality. Furthermore, the city, which has introduced a fast-track startup visa, is planning to provide affordable housing for foreigners.


Source: Korea Herald

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