[THE INVESTOR] The state-run Industrial Bank of Korea has been ramping up efforts to strengthen support for local startups to raise investments for their sustainable growth.
Aimed at expanding funding channels for startups, the bank launched Corporation Investment Information Plaza last January. It is an online platform that stores IR information of startups, both in Korean and English, to match them with potential investors. The bank hopes the new channel will give a boost to early-stage startups that are facing difficulties in obtaining seed and angel investments.
As of November, more than 18,000 startups have uploaded their information on the platform, where prospective investors, including Venture capitalists, angel investors and crowdfunding operators, can scout for investment opportunities. Among the list of firms, 184 successfully reached their funding goal, raising a combined 25 billion won (US$23.25 million) through crowdfunding. Around 14 equity-based crowdfunding operators, including Wadiz, OpenTrade and IBK Investment & Securities, are connected to the platform for startups to raise funds.
English homepage of Corporation Investment Information Plaza
The bank also gives assistance to startups that want to raise funds in overseas markets. “The startups can upload their company information on our English website for overseas investors,” an official at IBK told The Investor. “By utilizing KOTRA’s extensive global network represented in more than 30 countries, we help firms to be matched with possible investors in the areas and tap new markets.”
The IBK also provides various financial incentives for startups, including crowdfunding matching fund to leverage additional amounts and reduce risks for the investors. It also injects follow-up investments for startups after the crowdfunding stage, or offer loans at lower rates.
“It is the bank’s core mission for startups to grow together,” the official said. “We will continue to support startups and help crowdfunding to take root here.”
Local startup Motionblue, which makes Moblo, an interactive toy using smart blocks with the Internet of Things technology, is one of many success cases since the platform’s initiation. It raised 70 million won through crowdfunding to obtain working capital. The IBK, then, invested an additional 1 billion won to be used for expanding production levels.
The IBK also invested 1 billion won in Lucycato, a dessert shop that has franchises at major department stores in Seoul, to improve facilities, following the successful crowdfunding stage.
Mobile game developer Caret Games, which just launched a new mobile massively multiplayer online role-playing game “Rebirth,” also secured 1 billion won from IBK.
The bank also offers various pitching events for startups, attended by crowdfunding operators as well as professional consulting in management, accounting, tax and labor issues.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)