South Korea

Seoul #20

Attraction Phase
MEMBERS:
Seoul Business Agency

The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to realize that the swiftness, transparency, and innovation can turn the crisis into opportunities, as well as a catalyst for the startup ecosystem.

Park Won-soon
Mayor of Seoul

Sub-sector Strengths

Gaming

With approximately $12.14 billion in revenue, South Korea’s Gaming industry is the 4th largest in the world. The South Korean gaming market has 28.9 million players, with around 39% of them watching gaming content online. In 2018, Bluehole, a fantasy game developer for PC and mobile devices, raised $500 million from Tencent Holdings and became a unicorn. In 2017, Netmarble, South Korea’s largest mobile game developer, raised $2.3 billion in the country’s second largest IPO.

Life Sciences

In 2018, nearly 26% of total VC investments, or about $1 billion, was invested in biotech. The number of new startups in the sector doubled between 2015 and 2018. For the last thirty years, South Korean startups have been able to harvest the outcomes of the public R&D programs in biotechnology. In 2019, new pharmaceutical startups such as D&D Pharmatech and TiumBio respectively raised $137 million and $34.3 million from VCs.

Why you should invest in Seoul

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
$1 b
GLOBAL AVG.
$431 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
$39 b
GLOBAL AVG.
$10.5 bn
#3 Global Ecosystem
Knowledge
Top 20 Global Ecosystem
Performance
7
Exit Growth
INDEX
9
Investor Activity
INDEX
2
Funding Growth
INDEX

Reasons to move your startup to Seoul

MEDIAN SEED ROUND
$443 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$494 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND
$2.8 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$2.7 m
SOFTWARE ENGINEER SALARY
$48 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$42.1 k

Seoul’s Scale-Up Policy

To accelerate the growth of startups, the City of Seoul formed the $1 billion “Seoul Future Investment Fund” in 2018 and it is building an online platform to support startups to go global from a very early stage.

R&D

South Korea is the fifth highest investor in R&D with around $94.5 billion. South Korea’s R&D spending ratio to GDP is the second highest in the world at 4.3%.

COVID-19 Policy

In March 2020, the Government of South Korea announced that it would spend $39 billion to provide financial support for SMEs struggling due to COVID-19. Additionally, it will provide $724 million to help 520,000 workers in SMEsmaintain employment.

Startup Community

Startup Genome
Members

Startup Genome
Partners

Born2Global Centre
Chain.Asia LLC
Dream Plus
InterValue Partners
Koisra Seed Partners
Korea Entrepreneurship Foundation
Medici Investment
Pathfinder H
Quantum Ventures Korea
Sema Translink Investment
Seoul Center for Creative Economy and Innovations
Seoul Startup Hub
Seoulz
Sopoong
Thenews.Asia
Venture Square

Featured Articles from
Local Ambassadors

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