Over the last 12 months, Korean tech sector continued to mature, with a steady flow of venture capital poured into fintech, real estate tech, healthcare, and travel industries, to name a few. It’s never a bad time to recognize ten Korean startups that are driving its innovation community.
Tech for Korea has carefully selected 10 Korean startups based on the momentum these companies have been able to generate. However, there may be some great Korean startups that missed the cut, so feel free to let us know who you think is the hottest Korean startup in the comment section.
3Billion (Health Care)
3billion provides comprehensive rare disease screening service to end the diagnostic odyssey of rare disease patients. Using whole exome sequencing, 3billion screens for over 4,800 rare diseases from the patient’s saliva sample. Through its service, 3billion aims to build the largest rare disease genome database to work with pharmaceutical companies to drive treatment discovery process. 3billion recently won 1776 Challenge Cup Seoul and will represent South Korea at the Global Final at Challenge Festival.
Read more about 3billion here.
AIM (Robo Advisor)
AIM is the first B2C robo advisor company in Korea, similar to Wealthfront and Betterment in the U.S., that aims to provide optimized investment returns for individuals at low cost. The company has developed a system which works alongside existing investment institutions, leveraging not only its resources but a brokerage’s resources in an efficient way. Currently, AIM is yet under beta service with 300 selected users. However, there are more than 4,000 pre-signup customers with $170M in assets waiting for its public launch in December.
Read more about AIM here.
Bespin Global (Cloud Management)
Bespin Global is a cloud management company that provides consulting, cloud architecture, migration, managed services, automation, and solution for hybrid cloud environment. Founded in December 2015 by Hanjoo Lee, a former founder of Hostway USA, it has shown exceptional prowess in growing their business, serving over 150 mid-sized to large companies in Korea and China. It recently raised $15 M in Series A funding In July.
Read more about Bespin Global here.
Croquis (E-commerce aggregator)
Croquis is the parent company of ZIGZAG, a fashion e-commerce aggregator. ZIGZAG compiles all female shopping websites into a single place and offers features such as the weekly popularity ranking and customized recommendation based on the user’s pattern. Since its launch in June 2015, ZIGZAG has surpassed 7 million downloads of which 2 million are women in their 20’s. Croquis raised $6.15M in May and plans its global expansion next year.
Read more about Croquis here.
Hogangnono (Real Estate)
Hogangnono is a residential real estate search engine that offers migrant population statistics, verified transaction history, apartment supply data, and mortgage rate comparison at one place. Unlike other real estate applications that generate revenue from listing ads, Hogangnono does not have apartment listing ads. Instead Hogangnono positions itself as a data analytics company with a focus on data collection and visualization.
Read more about Hogangnono here.
Looxid labs (VR based emotion recognition)
Looxid Labs is a VR startup with an emotion recognition system. It’s emotional recognition system consists of three components: ‘VR headset-mounted EEG sensor and eye tracking camera’ (hardware), ‘Machine learning algorithm’ and ‘Scalable API’ (software). Looxid Labs was the only Korean company that was featured among 23 top early stage startups pitching to top judges at TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield 2017 in San Francisco.
Read more about Looxid labs here.
Lunit (AI Image Recognition)
Lunit is a deep learning based medical imaging startup that can spot visual abnormalities in x-ray pictures and computerized tomography (CT) pictures. Lunit’s digital image recognition system studies medical scans in five seconds and provides analysis with an accuracy rate of 95%. Lunit ranked top 5 at ImageNet Challenge in 2015, and was the only Korean company in “The AI 100” by CB Insight in 2017.
Read more about Lunit here.
LUXROBO manufactures modular robotics platforms that contain micro operating systems. Its recent development ‘MODI’ allows its users to easily program and create products by providing an intuitive graphics-based software that has access to LED, speakers, infrared ray, microphones, motors, and gravitational sensors. Thanks to its high degree of completion and simple instructions, ‘MODI’ is popular in the global market for programming education such as the United Kingdom and Dubai. The company plans on reaching out to 30 global markets by the end of 2017.
Read more about LUXROBO here.
Socar (Car Sharing)
Similar to Zipcar, Socar is an online car-sharing company, allowing individuals to make car reservations that are billable by the hour or day. Driven by practical young consumers wanting to experiment with a wide range of vehicles rather than own a car, Socar passed the 3 million member mark for the first time in the Korean car sharing industry in September this year, meaning that 1 out of every 10 drivers in Korea is a member of Socar.
Read more about Socar here.
Viva Republica (Fintech)
Viva Republica is a fintech startup to provide P2P money transfer service through a mobile application called “Toss”. The company closed a $48M Series C funding round from payment giant Paypal in March. Over the course of funding, Toss has gone beyond peer-to-peer transfers and branched into consumer financing. With 18 of Korea’s 19 major banks as partners, it launched a financial dashboard (Similar to Mint.com), credit scoring (Similar to Credit Karma) and micro-loans service in a bid to make financial services as frictionless as possible in Korea.
Read more about Viva Republica here.
Image Source: TechCrunch