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[StartupRecipe] Korean Startups Step into UAE with Ministry Boost

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Jan. 23 ~ Jan. `27]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 37 billion.

AdddDigital Marketing-Series ADevsisters Ventures
DamahFoodtech1 billionSeries APosco Capital, Woori financial group
AteamventuresManufacturing Platform5 billionSeries BAltos Ventures, LX International, Hana Securities
HIGHERXStore management-Pre-Series A BridgeInfo Bank, IBK Capital
Future KitchenRobot kitchen-Bonchon International
Law&GoodLegal tech7 billionSeries A2Mirae Asset Venture Investment, HB Investment, Spring Ventures, Hanbit Investment, Now IB Capital
SoomgoclassEducation-M&AClass 101
SweetspotProphtech9.5 billionSeries BAltos Ventures, Signite Partners, Hanwha Investment & Securities, Hana Securities, ES Investor, Woomi, Son&Company
3BigsBio data-Hcarelink
ARC MediaMedia/Content-Kakao Entertainment
Recowaste treatment14.5 billionSeries B BridgeGS, Envisioning Partners, CAC Partners,

Major Funding

  •  Reco, which operates a one-stop waste pickup and transportation service named UpBox, has secured KRW 14.5 billion in a Series B bridge funding round. Its cumulative investment amounts to KRW 30 billion. Since the start of UpBox in 2020, the company has increased the waste types it can handle, and sales have more than tripled compared to the same period last year. The new investment will be used to upgrade the UpBox service and develop it into a comprehensive resource circulation platform.
  • Retail prop-tech startup Sweet Spot has raised KRW 9.5 billion in funding. It offers brokerage services across the whole retail business, including pop-up stores, commercial real estate as well as merchandising consulting. It achieved break-even in the second half of 2021.
  •  Law&Good, a legal tech company, has received an investment of KRW 7 billion. It is a lawyer search platform where you may get proposals from them before hiring one. It has over 2 million users and there have been 40,000 case requests so far.

#Trend Analysis

Korean Startups Step into UAE with Ministry Boost

South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are forging ahead with their plans to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Following President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to the UAE earlier this year, both nations are now working towards achieving tangible outcomes through bilateral cooperation in the field of innovation.

As part of its mission to prepare for the post-oil era, the UAE has launched the ambitious Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0 plan, which aims to promote startups and venture capital investment, as well as expand into new areas such as technology exchange and export. With a goal of fostering 8,000 startups and 20 unicorns by 2030, the UAE is taking a bold step towards positioning itself as a major player in the global innovation landscape.

To support the Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0 plan, South Korea’s Ministry of SMEs and Startups has launched a task force to promote cooperation measures. The task force is comprised of a variety of public-private partnership projects and programs aimed at nurturing startups and helping companies enter the UAE market. By working together, South Korea and the UAE hope to achieve their goal of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, positioning themselves at the forefront of the global innovation landscape.

<Major Cooperation Plans>

 1.Assistance with Korean startups’ entry into the UAE

Through the Super Gap Startup 1000+ Project, the Korean government will select startups to advance into the UAE in areas such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and eco-friendly energy, which are of interest to the UAE, and request the UAE Ministry of Economy to support them. As part of Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0, the UAE runs a support program for foreign businesses coming to the country. The Korean government will actively assist Korean startups in attracting investment in the UAE.

2.Encouragement of interaction between early-stage startups

The government will share more local information in collaboration with the South Korean Embassy in the UAE and more local information and hold networking events utilizing the Entrepreneurial Nation 2.0 platform. Additionally, it will encourage companies of various nationalities in the UAE to participate in COMEUP, the biggest startup event in Korea, which is set for November.

3. Increasing cooperation in the area of venture investment

It is one of the main agendas for implementing the business agreement between the South Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the UAE Ministry of Economy. Two countries have discussed enhancing their mutual exchanges and investment cooperation as well as setting up a joint fund to encourage investment in top companies. In particular, during the bilateral meeting with the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, there was a consensus on promoting joint investment in startups of both countries by utilizing the UAE’s $30 billion investment plan. Based on this, the UAE’s public-private task force will actively promote follow-up measures regarding investment attraction.

4. Increasing exports and technology exchanges

The Export Business Incubator in Dubai, which launched in 2006, will be restructured into a Global Business Center. It will come with improved features like open shared spaces, specialized programs, and local networking (during the first half of 2023). 11 businesses are housed in the 403㎡ wide area. There are various support facilities, a conference room with 12 seats, a small meeting room, a smart office with 15 seats, and more. The space is 403㎡ wide, and 11 companies are located there. It has a conference room with 12 seats, a small meeting room, a smart office with 15 seats, and other support facilities. It links UAE businesses looking for technology with Korean SMEs and venture companies with innovative technologies by hosting an online and offline technology exchange conference jointly with the UAE Ministry of Economy.

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