ARTICLES

Seoul Surges 275% in Startup Ecosystem Value

An overview of Seoul's growth and its most successful startups
on July 27, 2022

The Seoul Business Agency worked in concert with Startup Genome to showcase Seoul’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 (GSER). The GSER is the world’s most comprehensive, data-driven research on startups with 280+ entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems and 3 million startups analyzed. The Report includes a ranking of the leading 140 ecosystems, continental insights, and founder-focused articles from thought-leading experts.

“Seoul is a city that dreams, a city that achieves dreams, and a city that makes dreams. A city where startups and youths become stars through innovation and creativity. It’s Seoul Korea,” shares Seoul Business Agency’s CEO, Hyun Woo KIM.

Seoul's impressive growth

  • Created $177 billion in Ecosystem Value from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021, a 275% increase from $47.2 billion in January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020
  • Seoul has seen five $1 billion+ exits in the GSER 2022 time range. Coupang.com was the highest exit with a $60 billion valuation at IPO in 2021
  • Ranked the #10 Global Startup Ecosystem
  • Top 10 Global Ecosystem and #1 Asian Ecosystem in Funding — measures innovation through early-stage funding and investor activity
  • Top 10 Global Ecosystem and Top 10 Asian Ecosystem in Knowledge — measures innovation through research and patent activity
  • Top 15 Global Ecosystem and Top Five Asian Ecosystem in Talent & Experience — measures long-term trends over the most significant performance factors and the ability to generate and keep talent in the ecosystem
  • Top 20 Global Ecosystem and Top Five Asian Ecosystem in Performance — measures the size and performance of an ecosystem based on the accumulated tech startup value created from exits and funding
  • An abundance of top talent and an optimal business atmosphere are cited as reasons a startup should move to Seoul
  • AI & Big Data and Analytics, Life Sciences, and Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics are sectors highlighted for their density of talent, support resources, and startup activity

“As global economic transformation specialists and policy advisors, we're extremely proud of how Seoul has performed in the 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report," shares Stephan Kuester, Head of Ecosystem Development of Startup Genome. "Working with our local partner, the Seoul Business Agency, we are eager to share the stories behind this success.”

A look at the numbers 

In the GSER 2022 time range (July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021), Seoul saw five $1 billion+ exits:

  • coupang.com, $60 billion — Coupang offers an e-commerce platform that is powered by innovative technology and operations
  • krafton.com, $19.3 billion — Krafton is a game developer for PC and mobile devices that focuses on fantasy games.
  • kakaopay.com, $9.02 billion — Kakaopay Corp is a mobile payment and digital wallet service provider. It provides easy payment, easy remittance, and other financial services.
  • woowahan.com, $4.6 billion — The provider of an online application designed to offer on-demand food deliveries. The company's application helps users to order, purchase, and have food delivered
  • hyperconnect.com, $1.75 billion — The developer of a cloud-based mobile communication and social entertainment platform intended to connect people through shared interests

Seoul also produced nine unicorns:

  • socar.kr — An eco-friendly car-sharing community that allows users to share cars with others who are traveling the same route
  • company.riiid.co — An AI-solution provider delivering creative disruption to the education market through cutting-edge technology
  • daangn.com — A community-based service app to buy and sell with neighbors
  • dunamu.com — Setting the global standard in blockchain and financial technology
  • kurly.com — Delivers premium grocery and food products to its users through online orders
  • musinsa.com — Developer of an e-commerce fashion platform designed to maximize the value of each brand on its platform
  • naverz-corp.com — Provides a software application through which users can create anything they have only dreamed of by creating a different identity online. Users can make friends across age, gender, race, and region, and transcend time and space
  • toss.im — The company's application offers peer-to-peer money transfers and manages credit scores and bank accounts. It allows users to access loans and insurance plans, split bill options, make QR payments, and other similar services, enabling them to manage their finance hassle-free
  • yanolja.in — The company's platform offers information regarding all aspects of travel, including accommodation, leisure, and transportation


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