KDB headquarters building in Seoul (Herald DB)
The amount of venture capital investments made in the South Korean market last year reached a record high of 4.3 trillion won ($3.8 billion), according to state-owned Korea Development Bank on April 15.
The startup industry has seen an increasing inflow of capital in recent years. The amount of venture investment pumped into the startup market came in at 3.4 trillion won in 2018 and 4.2 trillion won in 2019.
The startup segment is expected to gain further momentum thanks to the government’s push to form a fund of 20 trillion won over the next five years to vitalize the economy.
Riding the wave, the government-owned development bank is planning to establish a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.
The bank’s venture capital unit will help Korean startups to make forays into the US and other overseas markets, and nurture a startup unicorn with a valuation exceeding 1 trillion won.
The planned establishment of the venture capital firm is one of the bank’s key initiatives.
“Innovative growth is something the bank has been aiming to achieve,” Lee Dong-gull, the KDB chairman said in a press meeting earlier this year. “KDB will prepare various types of funds not just to help find promising startups but also scale up innovative startups.”
During his visit to Silicon Valley in 2019, Lee met with executives from Plug and Play, a US accelerator and an early investor of tech firms Google and PayPal.
The Seoul-headquartered bank is also planning to hold its third startup conference “NextRise,” which gives opportunities to early-stage firms and individual entrepreneurs to attract investment from venture capitals.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)