Global Startup Festival Closes with a Grand Finale, Attracts 66,000 Attendees
Global startup festival COMEUP 2023(컴업 2023) has concluded its three-day event. Held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) from the 8th to the 10th, COMEUP 2023 saw a record number of online and offline visitors (around 66,000).
Now in its fifth year, COMEUP 2023 has grown internationally as a global festival where stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem from 35 countries at home and abroad come together. It laid the foundation for evolving into a platform that helps promising startups grow by strengthening acceleration, and also introduced new initiatives such as building an open innovation community and establishing a business matching system.
COMEUP 2023 was significant for startups, investors, government agencies, and global corporations, large enterprises, and SMEs from 35 countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United States, France, Austria, Hong Kong, Senegal, and Cambodia, to collaborate with domestic ecosystems and expand the basis for global interaction.
Olivia Hervy, Chief Ecosystem Officer of Viva Technology, a French startup festival; Susan Marshall, Director of NVIDIA, a global AI semiconductor company that recently expanded into the Korean startup market; Howard Wright, VP, Global Head of Start Ups at AWS; William Bao Bean, General Partner of SOSV; and global companies and organisations such as BMW, Microsoft, the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) also participated in the festival.
In particular, the new Global Community Zone featured booths and a dedicated stage for presentations from 18 participating countries, including the national pavilions of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to enhance understanding of the global startup ecosystem and expand opportunities for information sharing and collaboration. H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the UAE, and Sami bin Ibrahim Al-Hussaini, Governor of the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, who visited Korea for COMEUP 2023, attended various sessions on the 8th and 9th to discuss startup cooperation with Korea. In addition, startups from North America, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia, including the United States, France, Senegal, Uganda, Laos and Cambodia, held enthusiastic pitches and networking activities, attracting great interest from participants throughout the three days.
Meaningful presentations were also made on policy directions for the Korean startup ecosystem to take the next step in the global market. Korea Startup Forum, Asan Nanum Foundation, D.CAMP and Startup Alliance hosted a session titled “2023 STARTUP KOREA! Policy Proposal Presentation: Research on Global Openness of the Korean Startup Ecosystem” to diagnose the level of global openness of the Korean startup ecosystem and propose practical policy directions.
In the “Future Talk” session of the conference, local and international entrepreneurs shared their honest and courageous stories based on their concerns that they have not been able to talk about. Starting with Jiwon Park, CEO of lifestyle platform SYNDROMEZ, who is also the singer Zior Park, Jae-Wook Park, CEO of SOCAR, Seung-uk Baek, Executive Chairman of Lunit, Jaesung Jung, Deputy CEO of Law&Company, Tae-Ho Kim, COO of HYBE, Kalus Wehage, CEOF of 10X Innovation Lab, and more than 70 other local and international speakers spoke about “It’s a different world after IPO”, “There are no failed exits, only different paths”, “Beyond regulations to real growth”, “Creating a global startup in a developing country” and other key issues that arise at each stage of a startup’s growth that resonated with the attendees.
In addition, Microsoft, Wrtn Technologies and others shared their insights on the latest technology issues related to Chat GPT and Generative AI, which have become hot topics in the industry since the beginning of this year, and held in-depth discussions.
The second day, which was held as ‘Open Innovation Day’ to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the concept of open innovation, attracted a large number of start-ups, large enterprises seeking new innovations and global corporations. JongHoon Lee, CEO of Xplor Investment, Sunghwa Lee, VP of GS Retail, Sungwoo Shin, Vice President of Hyundai Motor Company, and Juhee Kim, Team Lead of CJ Investment opened the day’s sessions with the theme “Open Innovation 2.0: 20 Years of Diagnosis and New Transformation” and discussed the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs at Google and guidance for startups preparing to enter Japan from Shinhan Future’s Lab JAPAN and Shinhan Venture Investment. In addition, global companies such as NVIDIA, Startup Junkie, Naver Cloud, KYOBO Life Insurance, Evezary, Modusign, and ABLY, as well as large, medium, and small enterprises and startups, presented examples of successful collaboration, raising expectations for the possibility of discovering new growth engines in the future.
COMEUP Stars 2023, a completely revamped startup selection and mentoring programme aimed at discovering and nurturing early-stage companies, also concluded the event with a fierce pitching race. More than 80 teams from the Academy League, Rookie League and Rocket League, which was introduced for the first time this year for (pre-)ultra-early stage startups, enthusiastically pitched. At the COMEUP Stars 2023 Awards on the final day, 10 companies – Lansik, Market Of Material, Star Pickers, STEMDEN, AGMO, allmytour, INTEKMEDI, FLOYD, Hopae and HomeCheck – were selected as the best pitching teams, with INTEKMEDI emerging as the winner based on a combination of pre- and on-site evaluations.
In addition, the online BizMatching platform, launched at the beginning of the year, continues to connect startups with investors and strengthen its role in facilitating investment. True to its title as a global startup festival, the event increased opportunities for both parties to meet online and offline without the constraints of borders, time and space, resulting in more than 1,000 pre- and on-site business matches. BizMatching continues after the event.
Sungjin Choi, Chairman of COMEUP 2023, said: “COMEUP 2023 has seen an increase in overall attendance, but we are particularly encouraged by the significant increase in on-site visitors and global participants. We will continue to serve as a medium for expanding the startup ecosystem as we move forward as a global festival connecting startup ecosystems around the world.”