What makes Korea's startup space very unique/different?

Keen to know thoughts of others regarding Korea's startup space

Tony Choi

17 Jan, 2022

2 Answers

sungho choo

Cheif editor of startuprecipe

The Korean startup ecosystem has grown by the Korean government. It contributed to boosting investment by creating a fund of funds to strategically grow venture companies.

These efforts have created an active ecosystem in Korea. This is a phenomenon that can be seen in other countries, but I think Korea is a country that has produced successful results.

The advantage of Korean startups is that they have excellent technology. With a high educational background, the rate of studying abroad and returning to start a business is increasing. Recently, young Koreans are choosing startups instead of going to large companies. Currently, many startups offer similar salaries to large companies, so many talented people are going to start-ups.

Another is the tenacity and hardworking sprit of Koreans. Korea is one of the countries that work the most hours and has many sincere talents. In addition, its strength is that it has excellent business execution power.

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Korea has prioritised the production of capital intensive goods since the 1970s, alongside other east Asian countries such as China and Japan. This is because they realised they were not reaping the benefits of their export industries by being labour intensive and losing out in trade benefits to Western countries that prioritised price inelastic manufactured goods that were more expensive.  This led to governments prioritising technology and innovation to stay ahead of the market and capitalise on exports of manufactured goods till today.

So how has this affected the startup space? The government has always prioritised investing resources into innovation and tech.  This is a benefit that startups in Seoul can reap as other governments may be hesitant or lack resources to invest in this space. 

Seoul is also a densely populated city that is both technologically advanced and has a very educated/ capable labour market.  People are more likely to be willing to integrate new technologies and solutions allowing the startups to see faster growth.

This video provides more details on the potential and trajectory of Seoul startups

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