Last week, I had the privilege of attending the COMEUP2023 event in Seoul, representing EU-Startups.
As the largest startup event in Korea with thousands of attendees, COMEUP2023 showcased exceptional startups from the Korean startup ecosystem to a global audience, fostering connections with international startups and investors.
The event, held from 8 to 10 November at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul, was a modern spectacle that perfectly mirrored the city’s innovative spirit.
Beyond a stunning venue, the atmosphere was charged with a palpable sense of excitement and wonder. Particularly noteworthy was the significant presence of women, intent on contributing their innovations and ideas to the ecosystem. The government’s proactive initiatives to include more women in this ecosystem were evident, fostering an inclusive and dynamic environment.
The international atmosphere of the event was unmistakable, marked by substantial delegations from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as representatives from around 37 countries including France, the US, Italy, Spain, Germany, Cambodia, Senegal, and a host of attendees from across South Korea.
The event featured insightful talks, a compelling pitch competition, and a showcase of the latest trends in the Korean startup ecosystem.
Korean beauty solutions attracted interest from the French contingent, while innovations in AI, such as XL8, a startup utilizing AI translation tools that provided real-time translations on screens, stole our attention. Additionally, groundbreaking solutions in medtech, hydrogen solutions, and robotics innovations were prominently featured.
COMEUP2023 offered a first-hand view of Seoul and South Korea’s rise as centers of innovation, hosting exceptional startups and pioneering solutions to modern challenges, bolstered by consistent government and industrial support.
In terms of unicorns, South Korea has surged from 10 in 2019 to an impressive 14 in 2022, showcasing the rapid growth of startups. Among them are, for example, Toss, a mobile financial management platform, and ZigBang, a real estate marketplace that offers an apartment hunting app. Domestic investments have also doubled in the last four years, soaring from $5.4 billion in 2019 to a staggering $9.7 billion in 2022.
These figures underscore the significant growth within South Korea’s startup landscape. We look forward to future developments, as the prospects for substantial breakthroughs seem promising.
The event mantra ‘We Move the World‘ perfectly encapsulates COMEUP’s ethos, placing the startup ecosystem at its core and emanating the dynamic energy and resilient spirit inherent in innovative startups. The essence is to unfold the ever-evolving story of the startup landscape, emphasizing its continuous innovation and transformative impact on the world.
COMEUP2023 was not merely an event; it presented a unique opportunity to witness a thriving ecosystem, engage with diverse networks, and participate in an extraordinary gathering centred on innovation and modernity in the beautiful city of Seoul.