COMEUP 2023, which concluded on November 10th, proved to be a truly global festival, breaking records with a remarkable international turnout. Held over three days at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, the annual event garnered widespread participation from startup founders, venture capitalists (VCs), investors, and key business stakeholders.
Organized by the Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups in collaboration with the Korea Startup Forum, this fifth-year festival marked a significant expansion, with 60% of participating startups hailing from countries beyond South Korea. Notably, the event attracted a substantial number of international participants from regions such as Saudi Arabia, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
Future Talks and Insights: Navigating Challenges, Scaling Up, and Breaking Barriers
The culmination of the festival on its final day featured engaging Future Talk sessions that provided a comprehensive experience. Esteemed guests from around the globe shared insights on a diverse range of topics, offering valuable information for startup founders, technology experts, and investors. Discussions delved into scaling up globally, resilience in the face of challenges, overcoming regulatory obstacles, achieving unicorn status, generative AI, and tackling age barriers in the startup ecosystem.
A highlight of the final day was the session titled “From Emerging Market to Global Stage,” led by Klaus Wehage, founder of 10X Innovation Lab and author of the bestseller “Global Class.” Henry Mascot, Founder of Curacel, and Mafal Lo, CEO of PitchPalabre, joined the discussion, exploring strategies for startups and companies to scale their businesses globally and addressing the major hurdles they encounter in the process.
Startup Showcase and Success Stories: International Perspectives
For the startup founders exhibiting at COMEUP, the event provided a platform to showcase their products and services to an international audience. Yeonjoo from Tissenbiofarm, a Korean startup specializing in cultured meat development, expressed satisfaction, stating, “It has been a busy three days as we got to meet many potential partners and collaborators for our product.”
Rashid Al Dallal from Marssad, UAE, shared his excitement about the learning experience, saying, “This is my first time at COMEUP, and I’ve gained valuable insights into the global startup ecosystem that I will apply to my startup in the UAE. I hope to visit again next year.” The COMEUP Stars event on the final day showcased the grand finale for Rookie and Rocket League startups, where participants pitched for top prizes. The best startups from both leagues presented their innovative ideas and pitches to a panel of international judges.
Beyond talks, conferences, and competitions, COMEUP 2023’s final day also featured the participation of members from the Uganda Youth Startup Academy and the Tech4Good Summit from France. Additionally, there were the “2023 Innoforest Awards and Pitching” by COMEUP X Mark & Company and COMEUP X Korea Institute of Design Promotion, along with the STYLETECH talk & Meet-up. The festivities concluded with the COMEUP X Afterparty, sponsored by the French Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, providing a vibrant end to this globally celebrated event.
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