Seoul: Where (Business) “Unicorns” Thrive – CBS San Francisco


Seoul is where forward-thinking entrepreneurs and savvy investors come together. It is a place where “unicorns” – start-ups that grow into billion-dollar companies – not only exist but also thrive. This city is a giant incubator where new ideas, innovative technologies and trend-setting content start, develop and grow into real-world companies – and highly profitable companies at that.

Why Silicon Valley’s Altos Venture Came to Seoul

Seoul is one of the fastest-growing markets for investors and venture capitalists. Opportunities abound in its cosmopolitan environment, where more than 11 million people live, study, work, shop and invest. With its deep bench of brilliant, innovative and highly educated young people, it is in essence an Asian Silicon Valley. That is what attracted Silicon Valley-based Altos Ventures to set up shop in Seoul. It has funded 100 “so-called unicorns” as co-founder Han Kim refers to the start-up companies in the portfolio of the local branch of Altos Ventures. As Kim explains:

“Seoul is a very cosmopolitan city with lots of people. It presents a much, much bigger opportunity than you ever would imagine. The level of entrepreneurs here is just as good as those in Silicon Valley.”

Seoul: Where Fearless Entrepreneurs Succeed

Altos Ventures is but one of many firms that has discovered, supported and helped Seoul’s unicorns come alive. Han Kim is not shy about explaining what he and others are looking for – and have found in Seoul.

“The common trait among the successful companies we have been involved in is the entrepreneurs that are not scared of going after some very scary portfolio opportunities,” he says.

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Woowa Brothers: From Five Employees to 34 Million Orders Monthly

Woowa Brothers is one of those fearless unicorns. “We started back in 2010 when smartphones first came out,” says Woowa’s Bong Jin Kim. “We began as a small company with five people. Now we hold over 10 million users and 34 million orders monthly.”

Woowa Brothers is the acknowledged leader in the food delivery revolution. They own Baedal Minjok, the largest food delivery service in South Korea.

“The food business is very labor-intensive which can lead to a price rise to the customers,” Kim says. “So we are investing in future mobility such a robot delivery service.”

The “Battle Royale” Began in Seoul

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is another Seoul-based start-up backed by Altos Venture. The video-game company also known as PUBG, “created a new game genre called Battle Royale,” explains CEO Chang-Hn Kim. “It is a fight among 100 combatants until only one survivor is left. We hold seven Guinness records since we launched in March of 2017.” Now PUBG has become a global brand, with sales of over 50 million copies in just two years.

These are just two of the hundreds of examples that show why so many investors have come to Seoul. So come on, as the saying goes, and make Seoul, your next destination for opportunities.



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