KB Financial Group Inc., a major South Korean banking group, has joined hands with global business accelerator Plug and Play to support early-stage business ventures in the country.
Under a collaboration agreement, KB Financial Group has been nominated as one of Plug and Play‘s anchor members granted access to the firm's list of global industry-leading startups. It will recommend startups registered in its incubator program KB Starters to Plug and Play and will jointly invest in them. KB Financial has become the first South Korean banking group to groom promising startups in cooperation with a global accelerator.
Plug and Play is a Silicon Valley-based accelerator which made early stage investments in the world’s leading tech companies, including PayPal and Dropbox. It has offices in 30 countries across the world, including Silicon Valley, and collaborates with some 300 large enterprises and over 1,100 startups. It is one of the largest accelerators in Silicon Valley, in terms of investments. It invested in 222 startups last year alone.
As an anchor member, the second stage of the total three-staged partnerships, KB Financial will be given the rights to review the list of most promising startups of the world and also participate in the process of selecting and investing in ventures. Also, it will be allowed to recommend businesses from its own startup program “KB Starters” to Plug and Play’s accelerating program, which would deliver opportunities to expand partnership with other international companies.As of February, the group is supporting 62 fintech startups at its incubator center.
The partnership agreement between KB Financial Group and Plug and Play was made three months after Yoon Jong-kyoo, chairman of KB Financial Group, visited the Plug and Play headquarters in California, to share the group's incubating system and infrastructure for fintech startups in April during his visit to the United States to attend the Bridge Forum hosted by the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. Plug and Play, which sought to enter the South Korean market, invited Yoon and said, “KB Financial Group is the first one we want to enter partnership with.” Yoon readily accepted the offer.
KB Financial invested 1 billion won (US$842,247) in FlyHigh Co., an integrated mobile authentication and identification solution tech firm, and clinched seven deals and made a 5 billion won (US$4.21 million) investment in Coinplug Inc., a blockchain solution provider. The group will more actively help 62 startups which are participating in the enterprise-wide startup programs to grow into unicorn firms through global investment attraction.