South Korea’s biggest international startup festival is all set to host record participation from global stakeholders. The South Korea Ministry of SMEs and Startups, in collaboration with the Korea Startup Forum, will host “COMEUP 2023” from November 8 to 10 at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul. Celebrating its 5th anniversary, COMEUP 2023 promises to be a global startup extravaganza, expanding its scale and significance, with a remarkable 60% of startups from beyond South Korea. Forging ahead with its 2023 theme, “We Move the World,” COMEUP reaffirms its commitment to fostering innovation and cultivating a thriving global startup ecosystem.
Convergence of the Global Startup Ecosystem
Since its inception in 2019, COMEUP has evolved into a global startup phenomenon that unites South Korea’s dynamic startup ecosystem with a worldwide audience. This year, COMEUP will bring together innovative startups, visionary investors, and entrepreneurial leaders from 29 countries, showcasing substantial growth in participation compared to the previous year.
The surge in international participation is a result of collaborative efforts between the Korean government and global partners. The event’s attendance has witnessed steady growth:
Visitors (number of people):
- 2019: 21,102
- 2020: 59,054
- 2021: 50,291
- 2022: 57,560
In COMEUP 2023, the event extends its global footprint to 29 countries, a significant expansion from the 20 participating countries in 2022, highlighting COMEUP’s dedication to becoming a truly global startup festival.
Vision for COMEUP 2023
Minister LEE Young of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups emphasizes, “The world has entered the ‘digital era of exploration,’ where competition transcends borders. In this new era, startups play a pivotal role with their flexibility, speed, and digital expertise.” COMEUP 2023 is poised to facilitate interactions between Korean startups and the global community, fostering international collaboration.
What to Expect at COMEUP 2023?
- International Collaboration: Exclusive Global Community Zone
A standout feature of COMEUP 2023 is the creation of a “Global Community Zone.” This dedicated area is the outcome of COMEUP’s proactive engagement with global startup communities and government delegations from startup-friendly countries, including recent visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
COMEUP 2023’s Global Community Zone will host delegates from around the world, including the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Indonesia, Cambodia, Senegal, and Uganda, among others. The Global Community Zone will feature IR pitches for attracting investments through a dedicated stage and conferences. This year, COMEUP has introduced an online business matching program that operates year-round, expanding opportunities for investment and collaboration, crucial for startup growth.
- Global CVC Conference – Paving the Way for Investment
In 2023, COMEUP will host a “Global CVC Conference” for the first time, with the participation of more than 160 venture capitalists (VCs). This conference, a collaboration between British media company GCV and the Korea Venture Capital Association, will take place on November 9-10 with the goal of facilitating significant investments and international market entry for startups.
- Nurturing Innovation: COMEUP Stars
COMEUP 2023 continues its groundbreaking “COMEUP Stars” initiative, aimed at identifying and nurturing innovative startups with the potential to become the next global success stories. This program provides early-stage startups from South Korea and overseas with a unique platform for mentorship, networking, and investment opportunities.
This year’s COMEUP Stars program involves 13 top Korean and foreign VCs and accelerators closely working with 10 promising startups each. The program caters to startups at various stages of development, including the Rookie League (for startups with investments of less than KRW 1 billion/approx. $738k), the Rocket League (for Series A and B stage startups with investments ranging from KRW 5 to 50 billion/approx. $3.69 to $36.9 million), and the Academy League (for prospective entrepreneurs or startups founded within 6 months). The goal is to discover, mentor, and maximize the investment potential of these startups.
- Open Innovation Day: Celebrating 20 Years of Collaboration
To mark the 20th anniversary of the Open Innovation Concept, COMEUP 2023 designates the second day of the event (November 9) as “Open Innovation Day.” This day will feature successful cases of collaboration between large, medium-sized, and startup companies. Over 20 global companies, including NVIDIA, Dassault Systèmes, Hyundai Motor Company, BMW, and Naver Cloud, will present collaboration models, envisioning future coexistence between startups and established corporations. Participants can expect panel discussions and practical insights into open innovation.
The program includes the presentation of use cases, where large and medium-sized companies share real-world examples of successful collaborations through open innovation. These use cases offer tangible evidence of how innovative partnerships can drive value and growth, with a focus on win-win cooperation between companies.
- Inspiration from Prominent Voices at COMEUP 2023
COMEUP 2023, the global startup festival, promises dynamic conference sessions featuring renowned personalities from the world of startups and entrepreneurship. The event will bring together musicians, industry leaders, and government representatives to share valuable insights and inspire startups and entrepreneurs.
The conference comprises multiple sessions addressing vital topics relevant to the startup journey. These topics provide a rich source of knowledge and practical advice for both aspiring and established entrepreneurs.
Zior Park, a musician with over 10 million views on YouTube and the founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand SYNDROMEZ, will deliver the keynote address. Zior Park is celebrated for his innovative approaches and creative thinking, making him an invaluable source of inspiration for startups aiming to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
In addition to Zior Park, the conference will feature approximately 60 global speakers, including industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Mahdi Shariff, founder of Humble, a data-based deep learning platform, angel investor, co-founder of Stealth, and a 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia honoree, will also deliver a keynote speech. These speakers will share their stories, experiences, and insights into the dynamic world of startups, providing invaluable lessons and motivation for attendees.
COMEUP 2023 transcends geographical boundaries, hosting foreign panels and speakers who will contribute a global perspective on startups. Notably, the UAE Minister of Economy and the Saudi Arabian Minister of SMEs and Startups will actively participate in the conference, offering a firsthand account of the startup and venture ecosystem in the Middle East, providing a unique and insightful look into the region’s entrepreneurial landscape.
- Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of an extraordinary global startup festival!
Join us at COMEUP 2023 from November 8 to 10 in Seoul.
For more information and registration, please visit the official website: COMEUP 2023 Website.
For inquiries, please contact: Doyeon Kang +82-2-6211-9400
Hosted/Organized/Cooperated by: Ministry of SMEs and Startups & Korea Startup Forum
Read more about COMEUP,
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