More and more talented foreign startup entrepreneurs want to launch a business in Korea. Every year, more than 1,500 foreign startups apply for the K-Startup Grand Challenge, which supports promising foreign startups to establish a business in Korea.
This year, 1,677 startups from 95 nations applied for the Grand Challenge program, which selects 35 teams, according to the Ministry of SMEs and the National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA). The competition rate was 48 to 1. The number of foreign startups was 1,515 in 2017 and 1,771 in 2018. These figures are comparable to those of famous startup supporting programs such as MassChallenge in the United States and French Tech Ticket in France
The program has provided support for 197 companies for four years. As a result, 77 corporations were established in Korea, attracting investment worth 87.1 billion won.
TravelFlan, the startup which received support from the program in 2016, has established itself as a travel chatbot service provider which is based on artificial intelligence like Bear Robotics. The startup has partnered with airlines and travel agencies at home and abroad and provides services for 3 million users.
The winners of this year’s program were also based on the technologies that are shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They included NR2 from France which analyzes startup information, and GIBLIB from the United States which provides virtual reality medical education content.
“Korea is becoming a global startup hub for talented foreign entrepreneurs,” said an official from the Ministry of SMEs, adding “Global startups are coming to Korea due to the possibility of working with Korean conglomerates, its highly advanced information and communication technology and superior cultural environment.”