Korea Development Bank Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Ryu Heui-kyoung makes an opening speech before the SparkLabs 4th Demoday with KDB begins at the KDB headquarters in western Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of KDB
By Choi Kyong-ae
Korea Development Bank (KDB) will help domestic venture startups grow into global markets, with the U.S. Silicon Valley's Y-Combinator used as a role model, the state-owned bank said Thursday.
In cooperation with the KDB, SparkLabs, the Korean version of Y-Combinator, held an event on Thursday in Yoeido, western Seoul, to introduce eight venture startups from three countries ― Korea, China and Japan ― and their businesses it has financed and raised, KDB said in a statement.
"In Korea, there should be global accelerators such as Y-Combinator which give financial support to idea-rich and technology-driven startups," KDB Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Ryu Heui-kyoung said in the statement. "KDB will give a full support as much as it can."
KDB does not financially support venture accelerators such as SparkLabs, but the state bank provides its headquarters in Yoeido as a location for venture-related events and programs.
In the "SparkLabs 4th Demoday with KDB" Thursday at the bank's headquarters, 600 people ― including those associated with would-be venture startups, university students, investors and venture capitalists, domestic and foreign journalists ― took part in the event, according to the statement.
SparkLabs was jointly set up in December 2012 by three Korean and Korean-Americans with the purpose "to help great startups go global." The venture accelerator has selected 20 potential startups every year since 2013 to invest $25,000 per company in exchange for a 5 to 6 percent stake in the companies.
SparkLabs has successfully helped 32 venture hopefuls at home and abroad such as Memebox, KnowRe and 5Rocks begin their own businesses.
The eight SparkLabs-funded venture companies are Beacon Dodor, BuyFi, Hud Inc., N. Thing, Onnuri DMC, Stayes, Vengine and Water Strider. The event also featured an appearance by Ken Segall, who worked with Apple for 12 years as an advertisement creator for the technology giant, it said.
Y Combinator, established in 2005 in the Silicon Valley, has raised 560 venture firms, and nine out of every 10 startups it supported survived, the statement said.