COMEUP 2022, a global startup festival held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul between the 9th and 13th of November is now privately led for the first time. The concept, organisation and program details are to revolve around the startup ecosystem – Backed by the government. An event that promises to rise to the nature of startups everywhere: Dynamic, interconnected and sparking interest.
“We move the world” – COMEUP 2022
The improvements to the startup ecosystem were consulted on by a total of 52 advisors, as well as the global and new companies, investors, and experts in the field. Indeed, as the planning of the event reflects, many improvements can be made in the ways startups interact with investors, each other and the global market in general. The key interests of startups were reflected by the four axes of conference, namely pitches, open innovation, connections, and global collaboration. The information and discussion was much needed, as Minister Young Lee of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups put it:
“Though the global market is facing tough economic times, we hope that ‘COMEUP 2022’ can serve as a catalyst for startups in Korea and abroad to come as one to overcome this crisis and show the potential to lead the digital economy.”
Minister Young Lee of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups
And as she also assured, her ministry was to actively provide policy support. The event does not however, solely lean on the Korean government for support, as during the ‘Global Collaboration Session’, overseas startup ecosystem officials like the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM), UK Department for International Trade in Korea (DIT), Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur), and the Tanzania Startup Association presented the startup policies and direction of their respective countries and promoted global exchange.
Among the many discussions raised by the experts present, such as reforms that hinder growth of startups, cold winters for investment, strategies for conquering the global market, AI, relevant fields of science and high tech, painted a picture of an exciting future for the startups. The goal was to investigate into what mattered to startups, and plunge those depths in terms of topics covered – Which was successful, as proven by the vast amount of subjects that were given consideration.
The diversity in subjects wasn’t the only distinguishing feature of the event however, as unlike others, COMEUP opened on a candid conversation by officials in a relaxed atmosphere rather than formal lectures. The competitive edge of COMEUP also factors into the interest that this event generates. The Rocket League and COMEUP STARS competed for placements at extremely adverse odds, breaking records. Heated pitch-offs raised tensions and spirits, as the competitors advocated for themselves on stage.
The Rookie Leagues, while less evolved then their competitive peer startup companies, were mentored by the ten companies, the Pinkfong Company, My Real Trip, Megazone Cloud, Musinsa, Musicow, Backpacker, IGAWorks, Yanolja, WoowaBros, and Deel; these shared know-how with newbies in a congenial way, helping their growth and part-taking in IR pitching.
The opportunities don’t end here: OI Ground, an Open Invitation program all about the demands of startups, allowed reverse pitching to take place to propose business models and projects to startups wishing to collaborate with global corporations. Among the attendees were Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Company, NAVER, GS Retail, Google, Microsoft, and IBM, who spoke on their open innovation strategies in group talking formats.
The event was a success in international networking, as there was representation from 19 countries around the world, approximately 250 people attended, among them prominent speakers such as Klaus Wehage, the author of the Wallstreet bestseller ‘Global Class’ and the CEO of 10X Innovation Lab, CEO Magnus Grimeland of the global investor, Antler, CRO Shou Wang of the HR management platform, Deel, CEO Youngdeok Kim of the startup growth support institution, Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs (D.CAMP), and Lia Kim, a famous choreographer at the forefront of K-culture and CEO of the startup 1Million Dance Studio.