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Startups in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

In South Korea, the first big startups became successful in the 1980s with the development of computer technology and increase in internet coverage. However, the recession in the early 2000’s struck the then booming dot com bubble. The government and stakeholders at different levels provided significant support for self-employed to create a more business-friendly society. As a result, 14.9 percent of South Koreans were involved in business startups as of 2019, the second-highest in Asian countries after India.

After the financial ups and downs over the course of the last two decades, the startup ecosystem seems to be settling down. A total of 11 unicorn companies have been founded in South Korea, including Woowa Brothers which bought by a German company. As of 2019, there were over 1.7 million startups in South Korea, creating 2.9 million jobs. That year, e-commerce platform WeMakePrice was the leading startup in South Korea which has attracted investment totaling approximately 470 billion South Korean won.

The Korean investment market has grown exponentially, 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. There has been a constantly increasing number of registered venture capital firms in South Korea and the amount of venture capital investment recorded 4.3 trillion South Korean won as of 2019. The most active venture capital firms that year were Korea Investment Partners, KB Investment, and Smilegate Investment. Industries favored by such investors were the biotech or healthcare sector, ICT services, and logistics.

As the number of startups with high public awareness, such as Toss, has increased, the positive perception of the startup ecosystem has also increased. More and more people are starting a business with a relatively simple start-up process compared to other countries. According to a survey, more than 40 percent of startup founders answered that securing initial capital or increasing investment is the most important part of building a sustainable startup ecosystem in Korea. This shows that the growth of Korean startups is expected to continue when the government's regulations on startups are eased and investment at the corporate level continues.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 24 most important statistics relating to "Startups in South Korea ".

Startups in South Korea

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Leading markets in South Korea

Venture Capital in South Korea

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