Day 1 of South Korea’s most prominent startup festival, COMEUP 2020 was extravagant and eventful with several insightful panel discussions, expert talks, startup pitches, presentations, mentoring talks, Q & A sessions, and more. COMEUP 2020 has been organized virtually in an ‘untact’ way providing a new standard this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The 3-day global startup festival is a prominent event in Asia, and its second edition has been organized under the futuristic theme of “Meet The Future – Post Pandemic.” It is a platform for global startups and Korean startups to expand their horizons by meeting global investors, agencies, mentors, attending discussions, and more.
Grand ceremony & Multiple Virtual Channels
Day one on November 19th started with a blazing dance performance and opening speech by Minister Park Young-sun, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS), South Korea. President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-In, sent his congratulatory wishes via a video message for the COMEUP 2020 attendees. Sophie Kim, the 2020 COMEUP Organizing Committee Chairperson of the Civil Organizing Committee & CEO of Market Kurly, kicked off the event sessions with a talk on ‘COVID-19 and Fresh New Ideas.’ Expert talks focussed on pandemic challenges, K-Quarantine success & other solutions that could open doors for future technology and development.
Day One was organized on multiple channels which hosted panel discussions, talks, pitching from 120 selected startups COMEUP Stars and startups from the K-Startup Grand Challenge program. The event has been mainly divided in three sections – main conference, special events and side events for each day. COMEUP 2020 event has a total of 12 sessions with 114 speakers over the 3-day program. On November 19th, for the main conference, talks from Sophie Kim, CEO of Market Kurly, John Yoon Chun CEO of SeeGene, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, and Direction at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities.
Panel Discussions & Talks on Day One
Keynote Speech: ‘Fighting against COVID-19’
John Yoon Chun of SeeGene talked about the company’s syndromic assay technology and its COVID-19 experience at the COMEUP 2020 event under the theme “Fighting against COVID-19”. John talked about SeeGene’s in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) tests, R& D activities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Seegene CEO, Jong-Yoon Chun, “Seegene’s molecular diagnostic technology is optimized for syndromic assay, which is the only single test for all pathogens suspected of causing symptoms.”
The startup’s molecular diagnostic technology amplifies the human DNA by over a billion times and identifies the viruses no matter how few they are in number. For instance, if a patient has symptoms of a respiratory disease infection, which can either be from Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19. If the patient takes a syndromic assay test, it will identify the impactive pathogens causing the symptoms and recommend an appropriate treatment. The company applied its molecular diagnostic technology to its K-diagnostic kits to improve its specificity and sensitivity. Three hundred thirty billion K-diagnostic kits made by SeeGene have been exported to 150 countries, with Jong-Yoon Chun believing that taking a molecular diagnostic test every day could change your life as he talked about the future of molecular diagnostic.
Agenda Talk: Renewal Through Innovation: Startup & Entrepreneurship Policy Post Covid-19
Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Direction at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, gave a talk through video conferencing from Paris, France. She lauded Korea’s efforts to control COVID-19 and the COMEUP 2020 event that fosters entrepreneurship in the country. “This event is taking place in very turbulent times. The COVID-19 crisis is having a profound effect on our economies and is likely to continue to do so for many years,” Lamia Kamal-Chaoui said.
She talked about how businesses in the OECD countries are adapting to the changing environment and the kinds of businesses like online services, remote working, telemedicine, online learning etc are becoming more sort after sectors. She talked about startups in European countries and how they are innovating with technology. She also gave examples of a Dutch SME offering historical and cultural tour of Amsterdam through zoom services, a small Latvian 3D printing company, which designed the first face shield and emergence of new firms amidst the global crisis.
“Today we have the opportunity to remake our future into recovery. While Covid has created challenges, it has also created opportunities,” said Lamia. She ended the talk with guidelines for economies that can help recover the global economy. Her advice to world economies is to boost the startup economy by creating a market and framework to support emerging businesses, efforts from policymakers to support the right kind of businesses and be sensitive to the regions and places they are from.
A number of panel discussions and Q&A sessions were held on the day one of the COMEUP 2020 event. A brief summary of all the interesting discussions that happened around subjects of entrepreneurship, COVID-19, startups, politics, environment, digital healthcare etc.
The panel discussion had invited some of the Korean individuals, who had developed various services that helped in controlling the spread of coronavirus in the country. Jung Wook Lim, Managing Partner of TBT, moderated the panel discussion on the importance of entrepreneurship to overcome COVID-19.
The panelist for the session included Jin Yong Kim, Chief Physician of Incheon Medical Center, who introduced the idea of drive-through testing centres in South Korea, Yeo Hyun Ahn, Deputy Medical Director of Busan Nam-gu Public Healthcare Center, who is a frontline worker working at the public health centre and created a walkthrough booth to help in testing, Dong Hun Lee, CEO of Coronamap, the map that was used extensively to track coronavirus confirmed cases in South Korea and Joon Nyung Heo, Medical Officer of The Armed Forces Medical Command. The panellists talked about how they started the various services and talked about the success of K-Quarantine method of South Korea.
The panel discussed about the post-COVID-19 era governance and policy changes that may be needed. The panel experts included Jae Yeol Lee, Professor of Seoul National University, Simon Kim, CEO of Hashed, a Blockchain-based startup that works on decentralisation and Won Jae Lee, CEO of LAB2050, a company dedicated to studying future prospects till 2050.
They discussed about possibilities of decentralised society, changes to be brought in governance methods, protocols control, data ownership and transfers, data storage, etc. It concluded about what kind of governance and system is needed.
This panel discussion included experts from the frontline support system that dealt with COVID-19 impact. Yo Han Kim, Executive Director of DSC Investment moderated the panel.
The panelists included Kil Soo Yang, CEO of Dearden, a AI-driven startup that is using deep device methods to help in drug development and prediction for drug discovery, Jong Cheoul Kim, CEO of MEKICS, a company that manufactures respirators in Korea and during pandemic supplied a lot of devices to hospitals and Won Soo Yun, CEO of T&R Biofab, a company that develops various temperature measuring devices and develops artificial organs like human heart and liver to help study drug response. The panel discussed challenges faced by biomedical device manufacturers, drug developers and what will be possibilities in business plans for such startups post the COVID-19 era.
This panel was moderated by Songyi Lee, founder of Weave, a collective building innovative solutions through self-management and new economy principles. The panelists included Anna Piper, an e-Governance expert, e-Estonia Briefing Centre managing director, and TED speaker, JF Gauthier, a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Startup Genome and Philip Gaskin, the vice president of Entrepreneurship of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
The panel talked about how the crisis impacted each of their sector. Anna Piper spoke about e-governance and digital transformation of e-Estonia, that makes doing business with much ease and COVID-19 has made the need for e-governance important. JF Gauthier talked about how data collection and sharing was a huge part of discussions regarding solutions to overcome the crisis. Philip Gaskin put in his thoughts on how policymakers can help entrepreneurial change as he gave examples of US mayor plans regarding supporting entrepreneurs. He said that the last months of COVID-19 has brought forth the subject of interdependency globally.
Panel: Startup, VC, Corporate: Building a Consensus for Cleantech 2.0
This panel discussion was dedicated to the future of the climate change crisis and how cleantech startups can contribute to save the sinking planet. The panel was moderated by Won Cheol Kwak, who drives new business development activities of GS Group’s Portfolio Management team, mainly through startup investments and open innovation programs.
The panelists included Steve Oh, CEO of Innerbottle Co., Ltd, a solution that minimizes residues and helps plastics to be recycled more conveniently, Tae Hwan Yoon is founder and CEO of Root Energy Inc.(REI), the first online crowd-funding and management platform for renewable energy in Korea and Hyun Joo Je, CEO and managing partner of Yellowdog, a leading impact venture capital in Korea that invests in startups that are dedicated to climate actions and environmental solutions, wellness and healthcare, education, and workstyle solutions. The panellists talked about their products and services that are making a positive impact on the climate change crisis and how it is possible for businesses and governments to work more responsibility towards the environment, renewable energy market, and sustainability.
Keynote speech: Climate Change, The Biggest Threat We Face
Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Chief Innovation Officer of Schneider Electric, talks about how climate change can impact businesses and why it is the need of the hour to work towards a sustainable world. He discussed the way forward for startups and entrepreneurs so that they can create new business models that can accelerate the energy transition.
Emmanuel talked about how Schneider Electric is working to help entrepreneurs across the world through Schneider sustainability impact plan. “It is just about behaviour, to be consistent with values and how you drive your company, design your product, that will help you build sustainability,” said Emmanuel.
Keynote speech: The Behavior Change Revolution
Sae Ju Jeong, the CEO and co-founder of Noom, a pioneering behavior change startup disrupting the weight loss and healthcare industries, talked about how his startup has revolutionized fitness tech in the country. Noom was one of the companies mentioned by Sophie Kim, earlier in her talk. Noom leverages the latest science and technology innovations to help people change their habits and live healthier lives.
Panel: Business Model for Digital Healthcare
Chiweon Kim, a physician and a healthcare strategist, moderated the panel on digital healthcare. Brandon Suh, a board-certified physician in Family Medicine, Jung Taek Oh, Founder/CEO of E2E Health, Jack Lee, founder and CEO of Sky Labs, a startup based on data-driven preventive healthcare, and Alex Waldron, the Chief Strategy Officer at Pear Therapeutics, a pioneer in prescription digital therapeutics.
With COVID-19 era and the need for non-contact healthcare solutions, there is an increase in demand for online healthcare and telemedicine. The panel here comprised emerging entrepreneurs who have established digital healthcare solutions and are thriving in pandemic times. The panel talked about the future of e-healthcare and how it will prove to be an inevitable change.
Yoon Sup Choi ,an interdisciplinary life scientist, medical futurist, entrepreneur, investor, and evangelist in digital healthcare, moderated the discussion. The panellists were Ki Hwan, Co-founder and CEO of MEDIHERE, a digital healthcare startup, Ho-Young Ban, co-founder/CEO of rehabilitation solution startup, Neofect
Doo Ah Choi is the founder and CEO of Hurry Positive, a digital healthcare startup focused on developing PHR(Personal Health Record) service platform and diverse digital healthcare software. Robbie Cape, co-founder 98point6 that provide consumers with on-demand access to affordable, high-quality care was also part of the panel.
Koreatechdesk.com is covering the entire event for its global readers and will be bringing on more concise and informative features on the 3-day event of COMEUP 2020, so keep following the updates. For participating in the event live – global participants can log on to www.kcomeup.com website or follow their YouTube Channel.
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