She has been striving for several years to establish a maximum partnership between the Luxembourg ecosystem and the Korean ecosystem, relying on the willingness of Korean startups to develop in Europe from Luxembourg and Luxembourg-based startups to want to enter one of the nerve centers of technology in the world. Here’s our interview with Seungeun (Semi) Park at the launch of two new flagship events.
Photo: Seungeun (Semi) Park founded LUXKO to act as a bridge between Luxembourg and South Korea / Credits © LUXKO
Tell us about LUXKO.
When you think about South Korea, names of innovative and technologically advanced multinational companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, KIA may pop into your head. We at LUXKO (which stands for ‘Luxembourg multiplying (X) with Korea’), want to bring these similar innovation-driven companies from South Korea to Luxembourg and act as their business accelerator.
I also believe in Luxembourg with their supporting infrastructure and openness towards startups, becoming a unicorn hub for startups, while acting as a gateway for innovative Korean companies to enter the EU market. We have already developed a strong foundation for Korean startup ecosystem with our Korean / Luxembourg investors, entrepreneurs, and accelerators.
How did you come up with the idea?
I was born and brought up at Gangnam (famous for ‘Gangnam Style’) and the centre of Seoul (capital of South Korea). During my early 20s, I got the chance to travel to Germany and England due to my bachelor’s study exchange program and explore the culture of EU, which lighted up my inner soul and imagination. Later, my MBA program in Hamburg, Germany made me adamant to someday start my own consulting company in the EU.
Finally, in 2007, around 13 years ago, I arrived in Luxembourg and started working with a Korean tech SME having around 40 employees for their EU sale, which was shortly after that listed on the stock exchange. Since then, I have been working tirelessly with Korean tech SMEs who want to move to the EU market. In 2016, I finally got a chance to take over one innovative Korean hardware security company (ICTK) after they did a successful M&A. After this stint, I founded LUXKO consulting.
What services do you offer?
LUXKO consulting provides a business with one-stop-shop to enter the EU market. Before they enter the EU market, we offer market research by experts (who worked in these field for 15+ years), business partnerships or business test PoC. After they decide to enter the EU market, we support them with investor matchmaking.
For example, currently, for platform, fintech, and AI based companies, we actively work with 2be.lu VC (Venture Capital), where LUXKO sourced a successful investment deal worth 1.1mn from South Korea (see our article “VNX Exchange Completes First Issue On Blockchain“). We also have an extensive Korean investors network, which means if any Luxembourg based innovative tech company would set-up their premises in Seoul, we would support their incubator journey to enter the Asian market.
Another future business lineup that we are working on is LUXKO Media, where we will be working with top graphic designers, videographers, and local PR agencies to help promote our clients business and strengthen their social media presence.
“In October, we presented 8 Korean AI companies at our LUXKO Demo Day and in November we have lined up 2 more Demo Days.”
What are Korea’s tech strengths?
South Korean tech companies have to compete with China’s low labour costs on one side, and Japan’s high-tech, capital – intensive industries on the other side. Thus, the need to produce and develop advanced technology, while being agile.
Currently, the Korean AI and Fintech sectors are extraordinarily strong, and that area has a lot of similarities with the blooming Luxembourg’s Fintech ecosystem. However, we should not forget about the growing Automotive Campus (Bissen) where Luxembourg can host self-driving car related AI companies too.
How do you help Korean startups to develop in Europe, from Luxembourg?
Around a year ago, LUXKO invited CONTEC Space, which is the first spin-off from KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) to be incorporated in Luxembourg to develop their EU business (Ground station, Satellite image processing services). After their successful ground station setup in Jeju island, we want our client to establish another ground station in the EU region and find right clients for their business. LUXKO will support their business activities and help them in finding local EU investors.
Usually, it takes a long time to persuade a Korean client to make Luxembourg their new home, which would normally require matching and finding mutual common points. Currently, LUXKO is working with a major Korean AI company, which is focused on ‘Autonomous Driving’. After our lengthy market research, they have found Luxembourg as the suitable candidate to setup their business rather than Berlin or Paris, thanks to the new automotive campus in Bissen, which may soon house Nvidia, Google and its Data Centre.
Nevertheless, our clients always wish to expand into the EU market with the right talent. The right matchmaking is a key factor for their success. If you think that you are the tech-savvy sales manager, who is fascinated with Korean tech SME, and interested in a local partnership, please contact us at any time!
And vice versa?
We act as a bridge between Luxembourg and South Korea! One client example is, VNX (Luxembourg based fintech platform), which made a successful partnership with the top Korean fintech firm Streami with our support. We travelled to Seoul every second month to conduct due diligence to find the right partner, while providing them with PR support to reach the right audience. This is the high value of LUXKO consulting as we have strong partnership with Korean media companies.
A last word on your demo day event series?
In October, we presented 8 Korean AI companies at our LUXKO Demo Day in partnership with Commax Venturus, and in November we have lined up 2 more Demo Days, one with K-Accelerator (24th November) and Seoul Fintech Lab (26th November). Register now!