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D.CAMP: Spearheading the Startup Scene in Seoul

From a single accelerator five years ago to over 20 startup programs today, the startup scene in Seoul, South Korea has evolved, and D.CAMP is a sizeable part of that mix.

D.CAMP is a nonprofit in Seoul supporting young entrepreneurs and the local startup ecosystem. The Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs created D.CAMP in 2012 to serve as a convening hub for startups, boasting 45,000 square feet of coworking, lounge, lecture, event and dedicated office space.

D.CAMP recently hosted Challenge Cup Seoul, and team member Sonia Lee shared her on-the-ground perspective on technology and startups there.

Where does the most funding come from for your startup ecosystem? What facts about your program’s startups stand out to investors or partners?

D.CAMP is one of the most effective and important incubators and startup hubs in Korea.

A non-profit and non-government startup hub with a half of a billion dollar endowment from Korea’s banks, D.CAMP provides programs, network, space and financial support which includes both seed and limited partner investment. With these four essential elements, we empower startups and enrich the ecosystem.

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D.CAMP has limited partners in 10 different venture capital funds and also provides seed investment to selected startups up to $100,000 in return for less than 5 percent equity. The startups need to go through a rigorous procedure to be selected.

We have a monthly competition demo day, which is one of the signature events in the Korean startup ecosystem. We run a batch program every six months to help early stage startups.

D.CAMP’s investment acts as an endorsement leading to follow-on investment by other top VCs.

What emerging technology are you most excited about potentially having a significant impact in your region?

Korea, recognized as the most innovative country by Bloomberg Innovation Index for three consecutive years, is leading information technology sectors; fourth revolution, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are leading trends. We still need to invest more into talents and technology in these areas.

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How are you working with local government or other businesses in your region?

Yes, all the time! We closely work with the government and other accelerators, incubators and VCs.

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