KU Signs MoU with Israeli Venture Capital Firm, Yozma
Together with Yozma, whose funds reach KRW 4 trillion, the university will build the first “Yozma Campus” in Korea and focus on creating jobs and supporting startup companies.
▲ Yigal Erlich (left), Chairman of the Yozma Group, and Jaeho Yeom (right), President of Korea University, posing for a commemorative photo after singing the agreement.
Korea University will be the first college in Korea to have the “Yozma Campus” built in collaboration with the global venture capital firm – the Yozma Group – whose assets total up to KRW 4 trillion.
In 2016, KU opened “PI-Ville (π-Ville)” on campus in order to provide students with a space where they can create new knowledge. When President Erlich visited the university last November, he was deeply impressed by the existence of an on-campus creativity center for students. Keeping π-Ville in mind, he came up with the idea of building the Yozma Campus in order to create a synergy with the village.
Discussions on the business agreement between KU and Yozma have been taking place since March of this year. Both parties decided to sign the MoU agreement on July 3rd when Yozma President again visited Korea. The Yozma Group, established in Israel in 1993, possesses more than 20 companies that have been listed on NASDAQ, and within 10 years, its total value has surpassed KRW 4 trillion. The synergy, created by the combination of KU’s excellent infrastructure and Yozma’s business know-how, is expected to bring about a sweeping change to the ecosystem of venture business in Korea.
On July 3, at 7 pm, Korea University and the Yozma Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding stipulating that the partnership will aim to promote the establishment of start-up companies and exchange and commercialize technologies. Yigal Erlich, President of the Yozma Group, who attended the signing ceremony, once served as the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. Erilich, known as a master of innovation, was the one who literally designed and started the venture industry in Israel. The ceremony was also attended by Mordechai Sheves, Vice President of Technology Transfer at Weizmann Institute of Science, and Roni Einav, Chairman of Einav Hi Tec Assets. The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the world’s top three research institutions. Those who attended the ceremony had time to discuss what they can do together in order to support the start-up business education at the Yozma Campus.
▲ Heads of the two partner organizations are signing the agreement.
The agreement stipulates that Korea University will work to identify talented individuals and outstanding technology, while Yozma will nurture these individuals and attract investment based on its business experiences and network. The agreement is expected to raise the success rate of start-up companies.
At the Yozma Campus, students who dream of opening their own businesses will be offered a chance to receive entrepreneurship training, as well as taking part in mentoring and accelerator programs. The campus will also have the Y-STUDIO (or Yozma Studio) to support students who wish to create marketing and promotional content as well as videos for their new businesses.
In addition to the MoU, Gil-Sung Park, KU Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Wonjae Lee, the Country Head of Korea for the Yozma Group, made a detailed agreement that the two parties will cooperate to open the convergence education course for start-ups by combining the existing classes at KU with Yozma’s business know-how. Israel is well known for its Talmudic teaching, which encourages students to keep asking questions. The country also has the spirit of “Chutzpah” (spirit of not being afraid to fail and always challenging oneself, as described on the Yozma homepage) as a foundation that has helped it to become the innovation leader in the field of scientific technology. Through the Israeli way of education, based on these two concepts, it is expected that KU students will be equipped with a strong foundation for innovation that will lead them to ask straightforward questions and engage in active discussions to solve problems.
Recently, Korea University was selected as an “Advanced Industry-Academia Cooperation University” in the “Leaders in INdustry-university Cooperation (LINC+)” project, conducted by the Ministry of Education. The university was also selected as one of the universities focusing on start-ups based on scientific technologies by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. Against this backdrop, the startup-specialized program is slated to create a bigger synergy.
KU President Jaeho Yeom addressed the ceremony. “The construction of the Yozma Campus will be a turning point for us to vitalize the ecosystem of venture business in Korea. Offering training programs and supporting new companies will be a win-win strategy for both of us,” said Yeom.
President of the Yozma Group, Yigal Erlich, expressed his high expectations about the business cooperation. “Through the partnership with Korea University – the cradle of talent in Korea and the leader in fostering pioneering intellectuals, our group wishes to establish a Seoul-based foothold to strengthen the bonds with future or novice entrepreneurs. This will, in the end, bring to us return on our investments and to Korea University momentum to develop as the leading university of future,” he said.
The Yozma Group, first established in 1993 in Israel, is called the father of venture business ecosystem in Israel. It is a global venture capital firm that provides intensive financial support and accelerator programs to technology-based startup companies at their nascent stages. The group’s fund started with $256 million, but within a decade, the fund scaled up to $4 billion (equivalent to KRW 4 trillion). The group has recorded a high rate of return, as the companies it has invested in have been either listed on NASDAQ or have been merged or acquired by global enterprises.
▲ Yigal Erlich, President of the Yozma Group (sixth from left), and Jaeho Yeom, KU President (seventh from left), are taking a commemorative photo with other participants of the signing ceremony.