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Top 30 Startups To Watch In Seoul

The advent of supercomputers has led countries around the world to compete for the title of “most technologically advanced nation in the world.” A cursory look at technology usage around the world reveals that Seoul, South Korea is a serious contender for the title. (Authors: Silicon Luxembourg, and G3 Partners)

When walking the streets of Seoul it is common to see people using the latest technologies. Furthermore, Koreans are known to experiment with new technologies and are eager to participate in consumer testing studies. This information is hardly surprising however, considering the fact that South Korea is one of the most wired countries the world. Approximately 95% of the country is Internet accessible and its connection speeds are unmatched. It goes without saying then, that South Korea’s connectivity and openness toward technological advancement make it the perfect breeding ground for innovative startups.

In fact, the current president – Park Geun-Hye – has taken advantage of these conditions by creating government-sponsored programs that accelerate the growth of Korean startup companies. The most notable program, the Creative Economy Initiative, annually invests $2 billion USD into the country’s startup ecosystem.   Increased governmental support and shifting cultural paradigms have lead to an upsurge of startups operating in Korea. A considerable number of these companies have million – in some cases billion – dollar annual revenues. The increasing profitability of Korean startups has piqued the interest of investors, accelerators and incubators around the world. These developments suggest that South Korea is well on its way toward becoming the Silicon Valley of Asia. Below is a list of 30 Korean startup companies that investors should look out for in 2016.


4:33 Creative Lab is a mobile game company that publishes and develops games across multiple platforms. They specialize in hack and slash MMORPG games and strive to bring mobile gamers a “console like” gaming experience. – See more at 433.co.kr


8PERCENT is a Peer-to-Peer lending startup and online financial community that matches trustworthy borrowers and savvy investors. Their service allows users to negotiate the particulars of their loan without involving a middleman. – See more at 8percent.kr


Seoul-based startup Baedal Minjok is the fastest growing restaurant delivery app in Korea. The app displays a list of restaurants according to a diner’s food preferences and allows them to place orders through the app without having to visit a separate site. – See more at baemin.com


BankSalad is a financial startup that provides its users with credit card, savings and checkings account recommendations based on their lifestyle and purchase behavior. – See more at banksalad.com


BEAT app is a streaming service where music fans stream the latest K-Pop songs and share them with friends. They can also use the app to keep track of what their favorite musicians are listening to and interact with other K-pop fans. – See more at beatpacking.com


CarbonEyed is a development studio that creates unique, fresh and entertaining games. They specialize in games with visually stunning graphics and simple interfaces. – See more at carboneyed.com


DiGiFi is a global company that developed a low-orbit satellite that enables Internet access across large areas of land. – See more at digifign.com


Dunamu is the developer of News Mate, a mobile application that provides digital copies of newspapers and magazines in Korea. They also designed the Kakao stock tracker app (Stock Plus). – See more at dunamu.com


Funda is a P2P lending platform that allows small specialty shops and retail stores to secure funds. The app helps the owners of small stores locate and negotiate terms with investors with an easy-to-use interface. – See more at funda.kr


Good Choice is an O2O platform providing access to over 4,000 accommodation options. The service lists and categorizes lodging options according to their location. Good Choice also allows customers to rate and review their visits. Currently, the service is the most popular O2O platform in Korea. – See more at goodchoice.kr


IGAWorks is a company that creates integrated mobile marketing and intelligence platforms. Their services enable app publishers to monetize their apps and increase their profitability. – See more at igaworks.com


JANDI is an office messenger custom-built to meet the needs of business teams and empower them via real-time messaging, file sharing and unlimited data storage. – See more at jandi.com


Kaminot is the first robot that teaches children how to code. The robot uses an open-source programming interface that allows the robot to be programmed via computer or tablet. The robot’s appearance is fully customizable. – See more at kamibot.com


Korbit is Korea’s leading bitcoin exchange, wallet and merchant processor. Currently, the startup has 33,500 members and 2,400 merchant accounts. – See more at korbit.co.kr


MangoPlate is South Korea’s number one restaurant recommendation app and has a database of over 200,000 restaurants. – See more at mangoplate.com


This one-of-a-kind company combines the worlds of beauty and tech. Memebox collaborates with YouTube celebrities and beauty gurus to create beauty packages that address the needs of numerous demographics. – See more at memebox.com


MyMusicTaste is a crowdsourcing platform helps music fans organize concerts and live events in their city. The site helps bring performers to cities they may otherwise have overlooked. – See more at mymusictaste.com


Opportune is a rewards-based platform created by the Korea Finance Platform, Asia’s first and largest crowdfunding source. This service allows individuals to locate sponsors for their desired projects. – See more at opportune.co.kr


Park Here helps drivers locate and reserve parking spaces in advance. This easy to use service is especially useful in large, densely packed areas. – See more at parkhere.co.kr


PATI Games is a mobile game developer. Their company specializes in games for younger demographics and social networking sites. – See more at patigames.com


Send Anywhere allows anyone to send files across various platforms, without logging in or signing up for an account. – See more at send-anywhere.com


Socar is an eco-friendly car sharing service that allows travelers to locate and drive nearby rental cars. Similar to Zipcar, users receive a keycard when they sign up for an account. Users are charged according to how many hours they drive the car. – See more at socar.kr


Toss is an application that makes it incredibly easy to transfer funds without remittance fees. The app is less complicated than traditional online banking apps and allows users to make secure transactions via text message. – See more at toss.im


This company is responsible for the creation of the beauty device Wayskin, a portable gadget that analyzes the skin’s moisture content. Afterward, the device provides suggestions based on current environmental conditions and user hydration levels. – See more at wayskin.com


Wemakeprice is a Korean e-commerce platform and Internet advertising service. The company specializes in mobile shopping services and is an innovator of product pricing. – See more at wemakeprice.com


YAP is a location-based O2O platform that helps consumer locate doctors, restaurants, parking spaces and more! It also compiles a list of coupons that can help members save money on purchases. – See more at yap.net


Yogiyo is a Korean subsidiary of the Germany based delivery service Delivery Hero. It is an online mobile food-ordering platform that helps deliver food to customers with the click of a button. – See more at yogiyo.co


Yolk is an innovative solar power company that recently launched “Solar Paper,” the world’s thinnest and lightest solar charger. – See more at yolkstation.com


Zig Bang is a real estate app that helps house hunters find new homes. To date, the app has information on roughly 70% of Seoul’s real estate offerings and has customizable settings that allow users to browse properties that fit their needs. – See more at zigbang.com


Zikto is a fitness and activity tracker that analyzes your unique walking pattern to help you walk with the best posture possible. It is also capable of helping users monitor their sleep patterns and the amount of calories burned. – See more at zikto.com

This article was first published in SILICON

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