COMEUP 2020- the biggest startup event held in South Korea ended successfully on 21st November. The event was a great success even though it was held virtually due to the pandemic. The three days of the event saw many topics relevant to both present times and the future. This year’s event was a second edition under the theme “Meet the Future- Post Pandemic.” It was an insightful and inspiring three-day event that showcased businesses’ integrity to overcome the challenges even during the time of crisis.
The last day was a mixed bag of various conferences, competitions, startup pitches, workshops, and festivals. It was attended by renowned business leaders, experts, startup founders, aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, and media.
Special Session In COMEUP 2020
There was a special session in COMEUP 2020 with Alberto Savoia, author of the book ‘The Right it,’ founder and Chief of Pretotype Labs LLC. Mr. Alberto has been a serial entrepreneur; he gave an insightful talk to all the attendees. He shared his experiences and challenges he faced as a startup founder. Mr. Alberto gave a few of his personal examples to describe ways to overcome failures. He shared excerpts from his book and gave a few mantras to the startup founders on how to be successful.
Youth BizCool Festival
The Youth BizCool Festival, backed by the Ministry of SMEs and startups, ended on the last day of COMEUP 2020. The festival started as a Youth Entrepreneurship Project in 2002 that supports several entrepreneurship activities. The ministry is eager to develop entrepreneurship skills at an early stage; KISED has already given 6.7 billion Won to approximately 495 schools. The festival connected schools and teenagers from across the globe via online channels under the name ‘Up with Online.’
On the third day of the event, the theme of the festival was ‘developing entrepreneurship’ and was hosted by the chairman of the National Bizcool Teachers’ Association, Park Jong-Pil, and Yoon Hyung-Bin.
The young startups that will face the new non-face-to-face era post-pandemic were introduced by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in the Chung-Chung Contest. This contest seeks to hire entrepreneurship talent in non-face-to-face ideas in 6 fields- education, living consumption, Smart Healthcare, smart business and finance, logistics & distribution, and entertainment.
The startups that participated in this contest gained benefits from KISED and TIPS programs and also stood a chance of winning up to 120 million Won worth of support for the initial commercialization. This year the competition saw the highest number of applicants; out of 758 applications, 60 teams were selected to participate. The winners of the competition were given awards, and the ceremony was headed by Minister Park.
The K-Startup Challenge included pitches from the 25 finalists selected in the Demo Day program that was held on the second day of the event. The winners received grants for their success and settlement support, which showcased that the K-Startup Challenge exposes the startups and their exceptional innovations to potential investors. The challenge received more than $1.2 billion in investments from both international and local companies. Besides that, more than 881 startups landed a co-operation deal with big firms in the market.
For the participating startups, a founder networking session was also held where they could meet the senior startup founders. A real-time chatting and Q&A session was conducted by Senior Partner/Managing Director of BCG Korea, Yeon Hee Kim.
‘Hallyu’ or the Korean Entertainment trend has attracted entertainment lovers globally. K-Drama and Korean movies, K-Pop, games, webtoons are in high demand across the world. With Korean movie ‘Parasite’ winning an Oscar, BTS, a K-Pop band making record-breaking numbers, online games developed by Korea, and the popularity of webtoons are enough reasons to have entertainment as part of the COMEUP 2020 event. Global and domestic experts, Korean Startup founders, entertainment companies, entrepreneurs participated in discussions and talks on the last day of the event.
The keynote speech on the topic of entertainment was made by the CEO of SM Entertainment, Chris Lee. He said that culture-technology would shine in the non-contact era. He also spoke about Korean entertainment startups and companies that have made a global expansion. He advised startups in the technology industry, startup founders, and the students to advance in technology and lead the new normal in the entertainment business.
Followed by Chris Lee’s speech, an insightful session was held with the CEO of Watcha, Taehoon Park, about the changes in the OTT market and media landscape. Besides that, there was a panel discussion held on globalizing entertainment platforms. This session was led by the investment specialist with FuturePlay, Ye Sol Jeong. The main purpose was to discuss how content can be improved and what type of content can suit the global audience. The discussion was also made about the challenges faced by entertainment startups concerning the content and other things.
Another panel discussion in COMEUP 2020 was held on the new media moving beyond portal and social media becoming an integral part of the entertainment. This discussion was led by the EO of Korea’s number one media on entrepreneurship and startups, Tae Yong Kim. The panelists discussed their entrepreneurship journeys, how to get customers, and the funding process.
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly changed the way of the education industry. While the schools and colleges are closed, the avenue for online-learning and homeschooling has opened up. Technology will play an important part in the future of the education industry. Various talks and discussions were held on education and what it holds in the future.
The topic of education began with a talk from the chief content officer at Coursera, Dr. Betty Vandenbosch. She spoke about the future of education in the post-COVID-19 era. She also spoke about the role of online education in South Korea and how startups have the opportunity to use technology for building more ee-learning platforms.
There was a panel discussion held about the EdTech startups and their future post the pandemic. The panel consisted of some prominent EdTech startup founders. The session was led by the co-founder and CEO of Riiid, Young-Jun Jang. He was joined by the CEO of tutor matching service ‘Jacaranda,’ Seo Jung Chang, and the founder of the first online class platform, Dave Cho. There was an insightful discussion on the impact of this pandemic on the industry, and they also shared their experiences of starting their ventures.
The next panel discussion on education was led by a newspaper critic, head of D-Camp Center for the Bankers Youth Startup Foundation, editorial writer for the JoongAng Daily, and executive secretary of Cheil Worldwide, Nari Lee. The panelists discussed how e-learning had changed the landscape of education and the benefits, especially during this pandemic. They also discussed on future of education and learning can become more interactive with technologies with augmented reality and virtual reality playing an important role.
E-Commerce In COMEUP 2020
E-commerce businesses have seen a boom, especially during this time of COVID-19. Most people have been using e-commerce platforms for their shopping needs. There were panel talks on the future of e-commerce with several entrepreneurs and experts in the industry.
Discussions on e-commerce began with talks led by a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group at Seoul Office, Yeon Hee Kim. She has more than two decades of experience in leading design and organization and transformation & change management. Yeaon spoke about taking a macro look at the sector of e-commerce post-pandemic, the impact of the present crisis on the Korean industry, and lastly, she spoke about the beauty and fashion sector in the e-commerce business.
After the talk on e-commerce, she also led a panel discussion on the future of e-commerce. The entrepreneurs who have been in the e-commerce business spoke about the situation during the COVID-19 and future expectations.
The second-panel discussion under the topic of e-commerce was a video recorded session led by the Director of Business Development at the Korean Startup Forum, Josh Choi. Panelists also included people from the fashion industry. The panelists discussed their products, specialties, and work projects. Panelists also discussed how artificial intelligence could create a high-end consumer experience and also how there is a need to make fashion more sustainable. They also spoke about the impact of the pandemic on the business and strategy that worked for them.
For more details on the event COMEUP 2020 and the Korean startup ecosystem, please visit www.kcomeup.com.