It’s been three years since I’ve met with my friends in the Korean innovation scene, and I couldn’t miss the Korea-U.S. Startup Summit (aka, Korea-US SMEs go TOGETHER) innovation event held in New York City on September 20 and 21, 2022.
The event features startup pavilions from major companies like Google, Hyundai Motor Group, and Naver Cloud. Each hosts a handful of startups demonstrating products at various evolution stages ranging from early to mature and generating cash flow.
The event is hosted by KISED, the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development, a government organization. Its goal is to help Korean companies attain a global reach and facilitate foreign companies’ activities in Korea.
We met with Kim Yong-moon, the KISED president since May 2021. He explained that KISED helps the national economy by nurturing many startups to their maturity point. Eventually, these companies become mature or are acquired by more prominent players.
Backed by substantial funding from the South Korean government, KISED sources up to 6000 startups, which is an impressive number by any metric. The sourcing starts as early as finding university students with entrepreneurship and educating them on business and technical matters.
KISED gives funding and backing in administrative and marketing areas, much like an incubator would do. It also works alongside or with specialized organizations tasked with similar objectives. Ultimately, this activity brings KISED a global view into startup entrepreneurship, allowing the government to optimize its regulations with local and international growth in mind.
Among the companies we’ll talk to, here’s a partial list, grouped by their pavilion. We’ve asked each company to self-describe:
Backed by Google
PLAYHARD: Producing mobile game for global market – with fast launching (6~10 months) and in-house UA campaign. Its newest game, Hero Factory is an easy-to-play idle RPG where you defeat monsters with heroes you produce in your factory. Upgrade your factories with the gold you’ve earned to send even more and even stronger heroes to the battlefield.
SPACE ODDITY: Developing services and brands for K-POP fandoms, including Blip and KPOP-RADAR showcasing at the event. Blip is the app informing K-Pop artists’ schedules and selling related products. KPOP-RADAR is the world’s first and only K-Pop fandom specialized data service – analyze then visualize SNS data of 700+ Korean artists. SiriusXM utilizes KPOP-RADAR for its weekly trending K-Pop chart show every Thursday.
Sticky Hands Inc: Mobile game developer specialized in hybrid solitaire games. Will introduce two solitaire mobile games – Solitaire Cat Islands (adventure) and Solitaire Farm Village (management).
Teuida Inc: Its digital Korean learning application provides interactive simulations, where users speak with native Koreans in various real-life situations to practice Korean speaking skills.
Backed by Hyundai Motors
60Hertz: Providing software and services those optimize the operation and maintenance of small and distributed renewable energy sources. Its forecasting application overlooks weather of ~80000 solar and wind farms at once, with AI prediction maximizing future power generation. Its Renewable energy integrated control system creates statistics based on energy usage data.
MakinaRocks: Offers MLOps platform ‘Runway’ implementing AI models, and Ai solutions such as anomaly detection and control optimization.
MOBILTECH: Provider of 3D city data service ‘Replica City’, updating latest city data real time through MOBILTECH updating technology. The service is applicable to self-driving services, urban development, and public utility maintenance.
MYCEL: Creating cultivated fungal biomass products, including Myco Leather and MYCELIUM Protein.
POEN: Focusing on energy epicycle technology, recycling used EV batteries into brand new energy source.
TESTWORKS: Developer of AI data crowd sourcing platform ‘aiworks’, collecting data then processing to inspection and delivery. Powered by advanced computer vision and 3d data processing.
Backed by Naver Cloud
ARGOSDYNE: Builds the integrated operating platform for all kinds of unmanned vehicles, with easy utilization and wide flexibility.
ARIA Edge: Provides a package combining AR and AI to increase the efficiency and reliability of industrial factories. It automates and streamlines the factory management system with rapid and accurate data digitization through AR & AI technologies. Will present CollectAR, CollabAR, PassAR – all included in the package – in the event.
FutureMain: Develops smart factory solution converging big data and AI, for machine data analysis and automatic fault diagnosis with root cause identification.
I-ESG: Presents AI/Big data-enabled all-in-one solution, for resolving ESG/B2B/SaaS issues. Also presents ESG Database platform that manages ESG statistics and brings personalized ESG resolutions
The MORAI: Develops simulation platforms to verify the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles – including automobiles and airplanes. Also develops 3d traffic management system that monitors traffic upon V2X information.
Featured in K-Startup Center
Blue Signum: Established psychotherapy online platform, personalized for each user.
GREENWHALE Global: Energy-resource company creating biodegradable plastic resin and products, like bags, cosmetic cases, bottle, tray, EP, wooven cloth etc.
Lawfully: AI & Fintech service for US immigrants with identification data analysis and tailored financial services. Has been presenting ground-breaking solutions for the U.S. immigration market problem since 2017 by providing case tracking, case analyzation, mock interview and legal consultation.
Pikurate: Knowledge Curation Platform Based on Collective Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence. Its link management platform connects everyone’s research, reduces information retrieval time, and provides the most needed knowledge through AI recommendations.
VPIX Medical: Healthcare technology company with The real-time digital biopsy platform for cancer surgery (B2B) – cCeLL.