BUSAN -- Promising Southeast Asian and Korean startups showcased their businesses on Nov. 25-26 in Busan as South Korean and ASEAN leaders promised to strengthen partnership to foster startup ecosystem during Startup Expo, an official side event of the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit.
Startups representing 10 ASEAN countries, invited by ASEAN-Korean Centre and 10 South Korean companies, pitched their businesses at the Startup Expo in Korea’s second-most populated city.
After the two-day pitching session, SMEs and Startup Minister Park Young-sun awarded three startups -- Singapore’s Zeemart with the Grand Prize, Korea’s Medi Whale with the Innovation Prize and Malaysia’s SERV Technology with the Creativity Prize.
Park Young-sun, SMEs and Startup Minister, poses with Grand Prize winner Zeemart CEO Neeraj Sundarajoo.
Zeemart is a business-to-business food tech company founded in 2017, while Medi Whale produces an all-in-one eye disease auto-diagnostic device. SERV Technology is a one-stop vehicle ownership automation tool.
“As countries around the world are competing with each other to achieve innovative growth, it is meaningful to establish partnerships between South Korea and ASEAN nations for startups,” Park said. “The purpose of the partnerships will make not only unicorns but also to create decacorns.”
A decarcorn refers to startups whose value exceeds more than $10 billion while unicorns mean a company with a valuation above $1 billion.
The pitching day event took place as an official side event during the ASEAN-ROK summit where South Korean President Moon Jae-in and ASEAN leaders promised to boost cooperation in the startup sector between the two regions.
“The time has come that international cooperation is indispensable in startup policies,” Moon said. “We should create a startup ecosystem for Korea and the 10 ASEAN members to be united.”
Held for the second time this year, ASEAN-Korea Startup Week was organized by the ASEAN-Korea Centre, the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation from Nov. 18-28 in three venues -- Pangyo, known as Korea’s Silicon Valley, Busan Bexco and Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul.
During Startup Week, 76 ICT startups CEOs and government officials from 10 ASEAN member states came to share policies and initiatives to promote ICT startups in their respective countries.
Most of the participating startups this year have acquired Series A funding and are mainly from the fields of ICT, including artificial intelligence, big data, block chain, augmented/virtual reality, fintech/adtech and e-commerce, according to ASEAN-Korea Centre.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)