The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization’s annual program to support tourism startups are being conducted successfully. The 2022 Tourism Global Challenge Program ‘STARTOUR’ fosters startups and provides a stable and successful soft landing for tourism startups with proven marketability and business feasibility in Korea and overseas markets.
The tourism companies promoted this year are attracting the attention of the international market, enlarging the scope of the tourism market. The selected startups are securing a competitive strategy through converging with new technologies and themes such as K-pop, K-beauty, mobility, and artificial intelligence.
In addition, this year’s STARTOUR global tourism challenge also has a support program for the 2021 tourism challenge program alumni startups with a level-up program. The program is expected to create a positive effect with collaboration between senior and junior tourism companies.
The 2022 Tourism Global Challenge Program has three accelerators with global capabilities guiding startups. Leading accelerator CNT Tech has provided the 19 startups with business material such as IR Deck production and consultancy for presentation and international expansion strategy plan, biz matching day, global roadshow, investment attraction demo day, etc.
2022 Tourism Global Challenge Program Details:
Jul 1st to 29th – IR Deck presentation and coaching program
Startups mentored for IR deck making and translation ahead of going to the global investors based on the market differences and business specialties.
Sept 6th – 7th – Strategy plan for the global market and studying potential buyers :
Startups get to enhance the suitability for the targeted country market and consult on its capabilities of the market, potential buyers, collaboration strength with potential buyers, and advancement of entry strategies.
Sept 21st – Business matching day :
Through online sessions, startups develop collaboration strength with buyers/investors from expected countries.
Oct 24th – Oct 28th – Global Roadshow :
Startups visit Southeast Asian countries (Vietnam, Singapore, etc.) to demonstrate startup items, promote investment opportunities, and establish partnerships for global expansion.
Nov 14th- Investment promotion demo day:
Startups get to promote opportunities to attract investment and present IR presentations when leading domestic and foreign investment institutions in the tourism sector are invited.
The startups which are participating in the 2022 Tourism Global Challenge Program’ STARTOUR’ are:
- Enkorwithus: The startup provides long-term accommodation and community services for international students and foreign tourists. It aims at building a community platform for foreigners that provides additional services such as education and tourism based on housing services that can be used easily, conveniently and safely.
- JIENEM: The startup provides a hotel vacation service using small and medium-sized hotel vacancies. The company is growing rapidly by attracting investment from Singapore and leading domestic tourism investors Yanolja and Magna. The Platform UNBOUNDI operated by JIENEM is a brand & content franchise platform for hotels to customers, providing reliable services and staycation packages. UNBOUNDI invests directly in vacant rooms and provides services through facility upcycling. Jienim currently operates in more than 25 3 to 5-star hotel brands in Korea and Southeast Asia.
- Hanteo Global: The company plans to establish an O2O service called “Whosfan Village” through linking with platform services. Whosfan Village is a space where fans can immerse themselves in K-culture, including K-pop, fashion, food, beauty, hobbies, etc.
- Gleammedia Group: The company has successfully branded Korean wave tourism by providing online and offline K-POP idol fandom tourism services through the Hallyu fandom platform StarPlay. It has secured 7.2 million global users by establishing its malls in 145 countries.
- AMP Inc.: ‘Duckzil’ is a global brokerage platform for K-POP goods. It is a one-stop shop for all things K-Pop idols. Fans can submit events, locations and goods to the app, enabling people to find it all in one spot. Duckzil sells 3,500 kinds of goods to fans in 82 countries. It is also expanding to K-pop portal businesses that provide information on K-pop and places visited by idols.
- Globaleur: It is a startup that has developed AI-based travel schedule optimization and recommendation engines and provides ‘Enterprise Saas’ solutions. Personalized AI recommends optimized travel routes and plans schedules with big data containing more than 200 cities and more than 140,000 places worldwide. While existing market competitors provide a form of B2C, Globallier is the only model in Korea equipped with B2B technology.
- Travelai: The startup provides travel products through an AI platform AL:OOO. The ‘integrated travel platform’ uses search records and personal information to acquire data and recommend personalized travel products. Users can shorten the time it takes to plan their trip through AI travel assistance. Travelai is discovering and marketing influencers in each region with overseas travel agencies to enter the Southeast Asian market.
- Wemeetplace: It provides a mobile-based social network service (SNS) that matches users and local foreigners based on interest. Based on GPS and artificial intelligence, the platform supports matching users with common hobbies and interests in nearby spaces.
- WeAreFriends: WeAreFriends is providing a mobile-based social network service (SNS) called “Tripriend” that matches users and local foreigners based on interest. Based on GPS and artificial intelligence, “Tripriend” supports matching between users who have common hobbies and interests in nearby spaces. Users who use “Tripriend” can meet offline and experience common hobbies and activities with local users. Half a year after the launch of the Tri-Friend beta version, it has been recognized for its competitiveness by securing users in more than 80 countries.
- HotSunny Co. Ltd.: CoolP platform is a location-based video platform that provides video, location, search optimization, and social networking services (SNS). The platform allows users to vividly experience travel destinations that others have visited through personal experience videos, and users can plan their trips. It is also possible to indirectly experience travel places other users have visited and enjoyed.
- Trend Maker: A representative tourism startup that combines with the K-Beauty brand. Its product Dinto is drawing attention from the market as an innovative K-beauty brand. Upon its launch in February, Trend Maker signed an exclusive contract in Japan and has entered into Olive Young, a large domestic drugstore, drawing keen attention from consumers. Trend Maker plans to expand to the K-beauty tourism market by recommending tourist attractions with the flagship store.
- SOC: The startup provides an unmanned photo printing kiosk service called “Selpic,” which allows users to easily print and share photos from their smartphones. It connects online and offline through non-face-to-face and high-quality photo printing for users and exposes active advertisements involving users with advertisers. It plans to expand to the global K-market by providing image output services for webtoons, character licenses, K-content, and cloud photos.
- Seoul Unniedeul: The tourism company has been growing by converging with K-content and K-beauty. It is a startup that operates StarSecret Korea (SSK) that connects K-beauty content and commerce in Myanmar. It provides beauty-specialized content such as reviews, brands and product introductions written by editors, as well as news of star beauty tips and Hallyu. It helps them purchase products suitable for them. Seoul Unniedeul plans to enter Indonesia and Singapore by producing K-beauty & style tourism-related content to introduce Korean tourist attractions.
- Vestella Lab: It is a company that specializes in parking solutions based on the Internet of Things (IoT). Its “watchmile” service guides empty parking surfaces in real-time in indoor parking spaces. The real-time parking status and location of empty parking spaces are identified based on video and IoT information, and optimal parking paths are guided by AI-based object recognition technology, non-GPS precision positioning technology, dynamic map creation technology, and digital map creation technology. Vestella Lab is currently providing solutions by entering Samsung COEX and others and plans to enter the North American market and introduce solutions to airport parking lots and Disneyland.
- Poppingcar: It is a mobility advertising platform that uses the outside of the vehicle as an outdoor advertising board to provide advertisers with billboards and loads of advertisements on IoT-based vehicles that supply vehicles at a lower cost to users. Tourists rent tourist vehicles cheaply through the service, and hotels and tourism companies can use them to market outdoors at major tourist attractions where tourists travel.
- The Swing: The startup provides mobility services. The Swing’s electric kickboard (SWING) is equipped with IoT devices to track, maintain, and manage device locations and usage conditions. As of last year, The Swing has established itself as a global tourism startup by attracting more than 30 billion won in cumulative investment and establishing a Japanese corporation.
- AU Inc: The startup has developed a bio-signal detection radar for preliminary detection and quarantine of high-risk infectious diseases. Combining a radar module that detects bio-signals such as breathing and heart rate using a 60GHz millimeter-wave radar with a thermal imaging camera sensor installed outside the building, early detection of high-risk infectious diseases, including COVID-19 is possible. It will establish itself as a solution to alleviate the anxiety of tourists after the global COVID-19 pandemic and preemptively respond to another infectious disease, and significantly expand the detection accuracy and detection area of the prototype radar module designed for vehicles or buses to improve the safety of the tourism business.
- Visit Inc: Round Pick is a mobile tourism content service that allows anyone to create location-based 360VR content and share it in real time using a smartphone rear camera. Rather than simply providing map information, travel-based shopping allows users to purchase, reserve, and sell products by linking information exposed in 360VR content, providing specialized services in tourism.
- Nine to Six: A unique tourism company “Walking Master,” a functional insole and shoe recommendation service that suits customers’ feet. “Walking Master” analyzes and checks customers’ feet within 10 seconds and matches functional shoes and insoles that match up to 24 types of foot data. By developing insoles that consider the characteristics of Koreans and Asians with many flat feet and wide feet, it can achieve the same effect as expensive functional shoes at a low price. By developing and selling customized insoles for backpackers and walking travelers who walk for a long time, it plans to provide convenience for travelers, hold various events in collaboration with tourist attractions, and promote tourist attractions.