Startups and venture capital in South KoreaThe South Korean startup scene has experienced exponential growth in recent years, supported by strong venture capital funding and government financing programs. The number of new businesses has almost doubled in the last ten years, while the number of technology-intensive SMEs, known as venture companies, grew from about ten thousand in 2005 to around 39 thousand in 2020. In 2021, South Korea had a total of 18 unicorns, including the fintech startup Viva Republica, which operates the digital payment platform Toss, and Kurly, one of the most widely used grocery delivery services in South Korea.
The South Korean investment market has also grown substantially, and this has been a key driver in the growth of startups. Especially, venture capital has played an important role when it comes to companies that have technological prowess but are difficult to raise funds. In 2020, the amount of new venture capital investments recorded about 7.7 trillion South Korean won.