From finding items to attracting investment, Korea University has become a startup accelerator
Those working on a startup often want to focus on idea actualization and commercialization, but many startup representatives are frustrated because of the many facets to be considered when it comes to securing funding and attracting investment.
But startups and investment attraction are inextricable. Korea University has been faithfully fulfilling the role of a startup accelerator by mobilizing all infrastructure so that young entrepreneurs who are experiencing difficulties in the early stages of their business can concentrate on starting a business. A startup accelerator is a group that plays a role in excavating new startups at the stage where only ideas or items exist and to support non-core tasks such as provision of office space, marketing, and public relations. In addition to providing office space and consulting services to startup companies, the startup accelerator also arranges connections to marketing and strategy experts as mentors. In other words, Korea University is organically cooperating with the whole campus and acting as an accelerator.
In particular, after the completion of the three- to four-month long support program, the accelerator will provide a demonstration day (demo day) for the media and investors. At this event, presentations cover the issues faced in the market that the company is trying to enter, the direction of the business must take to resolve them, and the business performance to date.
Since 2017, 'Startup Station,’ the KUBS Startup Institute, has held its CHOO CHOO DAY
each spring and autumn. Some of the teams that completed the startup station’s almost 6-month incubation program join on-campus startup companies as they make their debut through CHOO CHOO DAY.
The competition to become a KUBS Startup Institute resident is fierce, with failure to acceptance ratios exceeding 10-to-1. Selected groups pass document review and interviews. They are allocated a maximum operating cost of 5 million won per company and office space within the Iljin Center for Startup Incubation on the 2nd floor of the Business School, as well as networking, public relations and marketing services. Although the KUBS Startup Institute is a university research institute and cannot directly invest in startups, it is engaged in finding and supporting promising startups in connection with various domestic venture capital companies and accelerators. CHOO CHOO DAY showcases the on-campus startup companies and attracts about 200 people including investors, universities, institutions, media companies, private companies, and prospective entrepreneurs. On this day, startup officials from accelerators, angel investors, venture capitalists and representatives from organizations that have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Business School, including Kim & Chang, Samil PwC, Amazon Web Services, and Y Crowdfunding, attend and provide practical advice on investment consulting and startup development.
The Startup Station has reported that as of August 2013, 33 startup companies passed through the KUBS Startup Institute and attracted 2.86 billion won in government support and investment.
▲On-campus startup representatives and officials attending the 2018 First Semester CHOO CHOO DAY
Korea University Holdings is becoming a key player in the technology entrepreneurial ecosystem.
While KUBS Startup Institute plays a role as a starting base for startups, Korea University Holdings is leading the technology commercialization through the establishment of subsidiary company by discovering superior technology. It was selected as the 2017 University Entrepreneurial Fund Project and the biotechnology-specific TIPS program operator to support investment so that the entrepreneurial education of the university can lead to actual business establishment. Recently, Korea University Holdings completed registration as an accelerator with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. As a result, Korea University Holdings has been actively discovering and investing in early startup companies every year and has served as a strong support force for early-stage companies to grow rapidly.
In addition, Korea University Holdings has recently been selected as the final operator of the Korea Fund of Funds Social Impact B investment project, establishing the 12.5 billion won ‘Future ESV Investment Association No. 1.’ Social venture companies that pursue social value while generating economic benefits from innovative ideas differ from ordinary venture companies.
It is expected that this investment association will support social venture companies that have difficulties in management and will provide practical help.
Laying the groundwork for people to take on challenges and planting potential is important, but recognizing that potential and nurturing it is an equally important value to startups. Korea University, which cultivates a pioneering intellect, is showing a new path as a key player in growing the healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem of Korea.
Korea University's startup demonstration day event, ‘CHOO CHOO DAY’
The Korea University College of Business held its "CHOO CHOO DAY 2018" on November 8 at LG-POSCO Hall, Korea University. This event is a startup demonstration day held each spring and fall whereby the young entrepreneurs who have resided in the KUBS Startup Institute of the Business School for six months and have completed the startup program have the opportunity to publicly present their products and services. About 200 people attended this year, including investors, universities and public institutions, media companies, private companies, and prospective entrepreneurs
Interview – Yoo, Young-wook, Managing Director, SK Group
Ultimately, the relationship between an investor and an entrepreneur is a person-to-person relationship. The attitude and self-discipline of the entrepreneur also affects decision making.
Q. As an investor, do you have any memorable or impressive startup companies that you have encountered through CHOO CHOO DAY?
“Of the Korea University startups, I got to know Taling and engaged in an angel investment with them. When I first encountered them, it was so early that it was hard to judge the success of the business, but after several months of mentoring, we became better acquainted with each other and this led to the investment. It was especially important in my decision making that I was confident in trusting that they would not give up should they face difficulties in the future, and would closely listen to advice of their surroundings.”
Q. From an investor's perspective, what are some of the things you need to know and prepare to successfully attract investment?
"I think for startup investment, unlike stock investment, the human relationship between investors and founders also affects decision making. For example, it seems that investors can make comfortable decisions if they are introduced by people whom which they have had a long trusted relationship. In that sense, I think Korea University's startup support service, which is provided through many channels, plays an important role. "
Q. What do you see most important when deciding to invest in startups?
"Since it is an initial investment, I think the growth potential of the business is the most important, and I also look at whether they have a source of competitiveness that will enable this growth. I also think that the attitude and self-discipline that the founder has about the business is also important.”
Q. What is your view on the recent emphasis on college startup culture?
“I think that if the business model is good, and if it is a field that you are enthusiastic about, everything would be perfect. However, as there are a lot of students here compared to outside startups, there have been tendencies where their senses of reality were a little off because of their lack of experience in working in a company or on other projects. In particular, if the startup is based on an innovative business model rather than a technology, it is necessary to know the reasons why there are no such projects on the market, and solutions are needed, but sometimes there seems to be a lack of understanding of that part.