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South Korea’s Premier Global Startup Festival COMEUP 2023 Set to Soar With Record International Participation


Global Participation from 29 Countries, Including Middle East, at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul from November 8 to 10, 2023



The South Korea Ministry of SMEs and Startups, in partnership with the Korea Startup Forum, is thrilled to unveil the much-anticipated "COMEUP 2023," scheduled from November 8 to 10 at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, COMEUP 2023 is poised to become an extravagant global startup festival, surpassing all prior editions in scale and significance, with an expected 60% of startups from outside of South Korea. Embracing its 2023 slogan, "We Move the World," COMEUP underscores its commitment to fostering continuous innovation and nurturing a global startup ecosystem.

Convergence of the Global Startup Ecosystem

Launched in 2019, COMEUP has blossomed into a global startup event uniting South Korea's thriving startup ecosystem with a worldwide audience. This year, the festival will unite innovative startups, visionary investors, and entrepreneurial leaders from 29 countries, reflecting a substantial increase in participation compared to the previous year. 

The international influx is partly attributed to collaborations between the Korean government and various overseas counterparts. The event's attendance has steadily increased over the years:

Visitors (number of people):

  • 2019: 21,102
  • 2020: 59,054
  • 2021: 50,291
  • 2022: 57,560

In COMEUP 2023, the event extends its reach to 29 countries, compared to 20 participating countries in 2022. This expansion affirms COMEUP's dedication to evolving into a global startup festival.

Vision for COMEUP 2023

Minister LEE Young of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups has underscored, "The world has entered the 'digital era of exploration,' where competition knows no borders. In this new era, the role of startups, with their flexibility, speed, and digital technology, is paramount." She anticipates that COMEUP 2023 will facilitate interactions between Korean startups and the global community, fostering international engagement.

What to Anticipate at COMEUP 2023

1.    International Collaboration: Exclusive Global Community Zone 

The standout feature of COMEUP 2023 is the creation of a "Global Community Zone." This dedicated zone is the result of COMEUP's active outreach to global startup communities and government visits to startup-friendly countries, most recently Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

COMEUP 2023's Global Community Zone will bring together delegates from all over the world, including the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Indonesia, Cambodia, Senegal and Uganda, etc.

The Global Community Zone will feature IR pitches for investment attraction through a dedicated stage and conferences. This year, COMEUP has implemented an online business matching program, operating year-round to expand investment and collaboration opportunities vital for startup growth.

 2.    Global CVC Conference – Paving the Way for Investment 

For the first time in 2023, COMEUP will host a "Global CVC Conference,” where more than 160 venture capitalists (VCs) will participate. The Global CVC Conference, a collaboration between British media company GCV and the Korea Venture Capital Association, will be held on November 9-10. The Global CVC Conference, a collaborative effort between British media company GCV and the Korea Venture Capital Association, will take place with the goal of facilitating substantial investments and international market entry for startups.

 3.    Nurturing Innovation: COMEUP Stars 

COMEUP 2023 continues its groundbreaking "COMEUP Stars" initiative, aimed at discovering and nurturing innovative startups with the potential to become the next unicorns in the world of entrepreneurship. This program seeks to support and accelerate the growth of early-stage startups, both from South Korea and overseas, by providing them with a unique platform for mentorship, networking, and investment opportunities.

The COMEUP Stars program for this year involves 13 top Korean and foreign VCs and accelerators working closely with 10 promising startups each. The objective is to discover and nurture early-stage startups. The selected startups receive intensive mentoring and pre-matching with investors, maximizing their investment potential. 

The program is divided into different leagues to cater to startups at various stages of development, including the Rookie League (for startups with accumulated investments of less than KRW 1 billion/approx. $738k), the Rocket League (for Series A and B stage startups with investments ranging from KRW 5 to 50 billion/approx. $3.69 to $36.9 million), and the Academy League (for prospective entrepreneurs or startups founded within six months).

4.  Open Innovation Day: Celebrating 20 Years of Collaboration 

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Open Innovation Concept, COMEUP 2023 designates the second day of the event (November 9) as "Open Innovation Day." This day will showcase successful cases of collaboration between large and medium-sized companies and startups. Over 20 global companies, including NVIDIA, Dassault Systèmes, Hyundai Motor Company, Naver Cloud and BMW, will participate to present collaboration models, forging a vision for future coexistence between startups and established corporations. Participants can expect a panel talk format that delves into various aspects of open innovation, with a focus on practical insights.

The program features the presentation of use cases, where large and medium-sized companies engage with startups to discuss real-world examples of successful collaborations achieved through open innovation. These use cases offer tangible evidence of how innovative partnerships can drive value and growth. The program includes a panel talk session that explores the vision of win-win cooperation between companies.

5. Inspiration from Prominent Voices at COMEUP 2023 

COMEUP 2023, the global startup festival, is prepared to captivate audiences with dynamic conference sessions featuring renowned personalities from the world of startups and entrepreneurship. The event will bring together musicians, industry leaders, and government representatives to share valuable insights and inspire startups and entrepreneurs.

The conference will consist of multiple sessions, each addressing vital topics relevant to the startup lifecycle. These topics are selected to cover the major challenges startups face on their journey and will serve as a rich source of knowledge and practical advice for both aspiring and established entrepreneurs.

The conference's keynote speaker is Zior Park, a musician and influential figure with over 10 million views on YouTube. Zior Park is also an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand SYNDROMEZ. He is widely known as the K-POP musician Zior Park in Korea and continues his work as a video director under the name Chet Black. Zior Park is celebrated for his innovative approaches and creative thinking, making him an invaluable source of inspiration for startups aiming to push the boundaries of what's possible.

In addition to Zior Park, the conference will feature approximately 60 global speakers, including industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. A keynote speech will also be delivered by Mahdi Shariff, founder of Humble, a data-based deep learning platform, angel investor, co-founder of Stealth, and a 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia honoree. These speakers will share their stories, experiences, and insights into the dynamic world of startups, providing invaluable lessons and motivation for attendees.

COMEUP 2023 transcends geographical boundaries, hosting foreign panels and speakers who will contribute a global perspective on startups. Notably, the UAE Minister of Economy and the Saudi Arabian Minister of SMEs and Startups will actively participate in the conference, offering a firsthand account of the startup and venture ecosystem in the Middle East, providing a unique and insightful look into the region's entrepreneurial landscape.

Don't miss this opportunity to be part of an extraordinary global startup festival.

Join us at COMEUP 2023 from November 8 to 10 in Seoul.

For more information and registration, please visit the official website: 

COMEUP 2023 - 

For inquiries, please contact: Doyeon Kang +82-2-6211-9400

Hosted/Organized/Cooperated by: Ministry of SMEs and Startups & Korea Startup Forum

Original Source: South Korea's Premier Global Startup Festival COMEUP 2023 Set to Soar With Record International Participation
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