Startups
SMATOOS Recognised by RedHerring As One of 2014’s Most Audacious Technology Companies
2014년 11월 14일

Korean EdTech startup SMATOOS, announced today that it has been selected as a candidate for Red Herring’s 2014 Top 100 Global award, a prestigious recognition honoring the year’s most audacious and far-reaching private technology companies and entrepreneurs from across the globe. SMATOOS connects US businesses to the Asian enterprise market using their popular BeNative service. BeNative interviews top-level executives of various American businesses and films their employees performing basic tasks at work….

The World’s Most Wired ‘Smart City’ Partners with SparkLabs’ Internet of Things Program
2014년 11월 07일

SparkLabs, one of Korea’s leading accelerators, has signed a partnership agreement with the company behind South Korea’s $35 billion Songdo International Business District to launch their new Internet of Things (IoT) Accelerator in Songdo in early 2015. Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD) is a $35 billion “smart” city built on 1,500 acres (6 sq km) of reclaimed land.  Located adjacent to Incheon International Airport on the western coast of the Korean…

Check Out These Two Korean Gaming Startups That Got Funded Today
2014년 11월 05일

Gaming in Korea has enjoyed around 15 years of great success. Among Korea’s top performing gaming ‘startups’ of the last 15 to 20 years are several that have achieve well over billion dollar valuations. These include NCSoft ($1.2Bn), Nexon ($3.7Bn), Com2US ($1.3Bn), and Devsisters ($755M) which just went public this month. Smilegate, another domestic star, is still private and its estimated valuation is creeping towards $4Bn. Where other areas of software innovation…

Has Samsung Finally Realised Growth Can’t Be Achieved Without Robust M&A Strategy?
2014년 11월 05일

As reported by Business Korea, Samsung Electronics has begun to emerge as a player in the global M&A market. In just the last six months the electronics giant, most known for its smartphones, has purchased four foreign companies. The new and aggressive M&A strategy has been adopted to counter profit slumps blamed on falling demand for Samsung’s old cash-cow, smartphones. Recent industry reports suggested that Samsung has acquired caching company Proximal Data in…

Tech Crunch Tokyo Welcomes Korean Founders To Explore Opportunities In Japan
2014년 11월 04일

Big market, similar culture, high ARPU, this is what you hear about the Japanese market. But is it all true? According to Jason Wi, Senior associate of Softbank Ventures Korea, 80% of their portfolio companies are now seeking opportunities in the Japanese market, or have already entered. TechCrunch Japan will hold TechCrunch Tokyo 2014, November 18~19th in Tokyo. This event presents a great opportunity for startups from around Asia to explore the opportunities that…

Korean Security Startup ‘Lockin Company’ Promises High End Mobile Security For Startups
2014년 10월 29일

Lockin Company is a Korean ‘mobile application security company’ that has targeted smaller app developers who struggle to afford the more expensive app security services from larger providers. They have recently launched their cloud-based SaaS security service. How it works: App developers upload their package data with their application’s source code to Lockin’s cloud servers. the security layer is then added by Lockin’s technology and sent back to the developers, before being released…

Rakuten Ventures’ Saemin Ahn Discusses Investment Strategy For Asia And North America
2014년 10월 29일

Saemin Ahn leads Rakuten Venture’s strategy and investments in South East Asia, Korea and North America. The size of the current fund is $100 million. Saemin previously led a $10 million fund focused on Singapore, Rakuten’s first in the region. I caught up with him in Seoul to find out where his current VC passions are focused. Currently Rakuten Ventures has invested in once Korean startup, file sharing service, ESTMob. On Discovering Startups…

Yes Challenge Korea For Young Asian Entrepreneurs – Last Chance to Apply
2014년 10월 28일

SMBA & KOVA will jointly host 2014 YES Challenge Korea in Seoul, November 16-21. This global event is designed to inspire young entrepreneurs under the slogan, “Make it possible! Yes Challenger!” Attendees will build a range of skills including global problem-solving for social change and entrepreneurship. This will be facilitated through workshops and sharing sessions. Over 30 executives and entrepreneurs will appear at the event to share their insights and demonstrate their technologies & share their experiences of…

This Korean Startup Is Capitalizing On K-Pop Fever, Attracts 1 Million Users in 7 months
2014년 10월 27일

In many countries KPop and other Korean cultural content, such as dramas and movies are all the rage. While much of this content is available on YouTube and services like DramFever and Viki, there is also a plethora of online music services tapping in to the popularity of KPop music. Beat Packing Company is a new startup in the space that aims to bring KPop to the world through their online music…

Softbank Ventures Assesses The Korean Startup Ecosystem
2014년 10월 25일

Softbank Ventures Korea is one of the most established and successful Venture Capital companies in Korea. Outstanding successes include Sundaytoz and Sunnyloft (acquired by Kakao), and there are dozens of other portfolio companies that are rising stars in the Korean scene. Softbank Ventures is a 100% subsidiary of Softbank Corp. in Japan and manages a $250M fund. The fund is based in Korea, but they take care of investments across Asia and…

Seoul’s Third Startup Grind A Huge Success, Next Up Alvin Foo (Ex-Head of Mobile for Google China)
2014년 10월 24일

“It’s all about hiring the right person!” stated Jake  Park, CEO of Value Creators & Company, VCNC, for short. VCNC is a Korean mobile application and internet services company that develops “Between,” a mobile social-networking application for couples. Between was created to enable couples to share their special moments with each other and remember them forever. It’s Thursday night in Gangnam and time to network with fellow entrepreneurs from Seoul’s startup community,…

Meet Yello Mobile, Aiming To Be Asia’s Top Mobile Platform Company [Part 2]
2014년 10월 24일

Only three years after the first acquisition Yello Mobile has raised $78M, is nurturing an alliance of 35 startups, is profitable to the tune of $1.5M per month and plans to IPO next year. This is surely one of the most exciting startup stories in Asia this year. Here is part two of a two part article about their founding story, growth, and ambitious plans for the future. Click here for part…

Yello Mobile – Perhaps Asia’s most Exciting Startup Story This Year [Part. 1]

Only three years after the first acquisition Yello Mobile has raised $78M, is nurturing an alliance of 35 startups, is profitable to the tune of $1.5M per month and plans to IPO next year. This is surely one of the most exciting startup stories in Asia this year. Here is part one of a two part article about their founding story, growth, and ambitious plans for the future. Part 2 coming tomorrow….

Is The Korean Government Doing Too Much in Support Of Entrepreneurship?
2014년 10월 22일

“We look forward to another success story with startups here in Daejon,” said President Park Geun-hye during a ceremony to launch yet another innovation center in Korea. While government support for Korean startups has been impressive, is it time for the politicians to take a step back? At some point the ecosystem must be allowed to develop of its own volition and startups surviving off the back of government handouts alone must…

Wit.ai Raises $3M Seed Round Led By Andreessen Horowitz, Eyes Opportunity In Korea

As reported by TechCrunch, natural language platform wit.ai has announced a $3M seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz in a deal that has emerged shortly after the team graduated from Y Combinator. The company is tackling a need for smart speech recognition and natural language processing services, which are becomming a thriving industry thanks in part to the boom in IoT technologies. Wit.ai offers developers an API for building natural language interfaces. For startups that currently…

Tribeluga, Korea’s Newest Startup Accelerator, Opens It’s Doors To Founders Eyeing China
2014년 10월 16일

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,…

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…

In Korea’s Messenger Market, Will Security Trump Emoticons?
2014년 10월 13일

Until a couple of weeks ago Koreans had never heard of Telegram, the super-secure Berlin-based messaging app that is now causing waves. Telegram is attracting droves of Korean users away, for increased security. In Korea, KakaoTalk is installed on 95% of smartphones, and Kakao messages surpassed SMS messages a few years back. Kakao is known for its ease of use and expressive emoticons. But now Kakao, which has established a near-monopoly in Korea, is facing a serious…

OnnuriDMC Develops Tech To Track Mobile Users In Real Time, Mobile Advertisers Rejoice
2014년 10월 08일

Sparklabs fourth batch recently kicked off and I had the chance to speak with one of their most promising startups, OnnuriDMC. OnnuriDMC operates a mobile advertising platform, CrossTarget, that the founders believe has solved a major issue for mobile advertisers; being able to track users in the mobile app environment in real time. Background In the PC environment advertisers are able to easily track user behavior through cookies, but this is generally…

Korean Bitcoin Startup Devign Lab Secures Investment From K-Cube Ventures
2014년 10월 07일

K Cube Ventures, an early stage investment firm in Seoul, announced today that they have invested about $200K in Bitcoin startup ‘Devign Lab’. Devign Lab has developed a bitcoin market called Coinone. Devign Lab claims to be the first web based home trading system (HTS) in South Korea and aims to provide up to date bidding/contract information for users. Their one click payment system ‘Coinpay’ provides payment services with a 0% transaction fee. Their mobile application is currently in…