COMEUP 2021, the most prominent global startup festival in South Korea, is being held offline this year with all Covid protocols in place. Day one of the event saw many insightful panel discussions, talks, speeches, presentations by experts, startup founders, investors, governance people on subjects ranging from ‘Money,’ ‘Property,’ ‘Work,’ and ‘Social.’
Besides the leading conferences, for COMEUP 2021, ‘Open Innovation,’ a new program was introduced to raise the direction and detailed strategies of 18 global companies, including Samsung and Google, that actively promote open innovation and discover a collaborative model between startups and multinational companies. Six global companies, including Hanwha Life Dream Plus, Timewise Investment, Kyowon Group, SK Telecom, Google, and Lotte Ventures, made presentations on the event’s opening day.
Pioneering a New Market with CJ’s Open Innovation Program
Dohan Kim, CEO of Timewise Management, who also happens to be the strategic planning manager at CJ Group, briefed the audience on CJ group’s open innovation program. He explained how it co-develops startups through strategic partnership and later enters into it a co-business model.
Dohan Kim said, “There has been a strategic rise in how US consumers are getting interested in Korean products. Earlier, it was confined to just creative media, but the trend is witnessed in food, fashion, and beauty product segments. Korean middle-size YouTubers have already witnessed this effect, and it is soon that other industry segments will feel it.”
Capitalizing on the same CJ group helps various Korean startups and entrepreneurs collaborate with US brands through their open innovation program. In the meantime, funding is also done for early-stage startups that have promising ideas. The company also propagates synergetic business development by collaborating with international startups and introducing them in Korea for local collaboration and partnership. Dohan Kim also called for a business corporation from startup CEO to present at the event to collaborate in wellness, sustainability, culture, and entertainment platforms.
Open Collaboration between SKT and Startups
The speaker for this segment was Yongjoon Choi, Head of Open Collaboration, SK Telecom, who spoke about the various collaboration and partnership projects that SK Telecom carries out to accelerate multiple startups. He talked about how SK Telecom, since 2013, has launched multiple startups in mobility, big data, and 5G.
He emphasized that SK Telecom is trying to accelerate startup in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) segment, and the company has collaborated with top tier players in the segment. The company has partnered with around 300 startups and is running a collaboration project with 40 startups to pursue balanced growth. The company provides acceleration, collaboration and funding to startups with innovative ideas and currently, it is seeking to collaborate by creating two selection segments. One is for the ESG startup, and the other segment is about True Innovation that seeks startups with unique disruptive ideas.
Lotte X Startups = Light it up like startup!
Jong-hoon Lee, the Managing Director (& CIO) in charge of investment at Lotte Ventures, introduced us to his company’s open innovation hub and its programs. Corporate venture capital (CVC) serves as Lotte Group’s Open Innovation Hub.
Lee started by explaining how earlier big conglomerates looked down upon startups and were always lurking down the corner to pounce upon the slightest opportunity to either steal their idea or buy it for cheap. However, times have changed, and COMEUP 2021 represents what Jong-hoon Lee termed as the new normal.
Later, he explained to the audience why Lotte Ventures had been started and the innovative methods that the company is deploying to identify potential startups to fund and collaborate.