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Korean Financial Groups Helping Domestic Fintech Companies Expand Overseas
Reaching out to Fintech Startups
Korean Financial Groups Helping Domestic Fintech Companies Expand Overseas
  • By Yoon Young-sil
  • December 31, 2019, 14:04
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Officials of Shinhan Future’s Lab, Shinhan Financial Group’s fintech incubation program, and the Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB), Vietnam’s largest startup support agency, pose for a photo after signing an MOU on exchanges and mutual support in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Aug. 24, 2017.

KB Financial and Shinhan Financial Groups have recently agreed with Plug & Play, the largest accelerator in the United States, to foster domestic fintech companies that seek to advance into the global market.

Plug & Play is a company that has raised global unicorns such as PayPal and Dropbox. It has a comprehensive startup incubation system and work in partnership with more than 300 large companies and 1,100 startups.

Shinhan Financial and KB Financial will select unicorn candidates and participate in corporate briefing sessions to introduce them to more than 100 leading venture capitalists in the United States. They plan to push for various projects with partner companies of Plug & Play and explore opportunities to attract investment.

Domestic financial groups are also using their newly built Southeast Asian networks as a platform for the overseas expansion of domestic fintech companies. Shinhan Future’s Lab, Shinhan Financial’s fintech incubation platform, has advanced into Indonesia following Vietnam, while Woori Financial has set up Dino Lab in Vietnam to help local fintech companies take roots locally, The group is developing an initial corporate incubation model by strengthening cooperation with foreign fintech companies.

Large financial groups are expanding the scope of their support for domestic fintech companies based on their accumulated venture capital capabilities. KB Innovation Hub, which was launched in 2015, has selected a total of 74 fintech companies by September this year and invested 26.6 billion won (US$22 million) in them.

Shinhan Futures Lab, KEB Hana Bank’s 1Q Agile Lab, Woori Bank’s Dino Lab, Nonghyup Bank’s NH Digital Innovation Campus, Industrial Bank of Korea’s First Lab, and DGB Financial Group’s DGB Fium Lab provide full support to fintech companies in such areas as investment, education, recruitment and finance.

Woori Bank is the first commercial bank to invest directly in fintech startups through public subscription. It invests within 1 billion won (US$86,393) per company and will invest 20 billion won (US$1.7 million) per year for the next five years.

At the end of last year, Hana Financial Group established Hana Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary, and is working on venture investment.