If startups in South Korea really want to grow their global presence, there is no easier way to do so than join global accelerator programs. There are startup accelerator programs in Korea, however many are focused on the Korean market. For startups that have a product or service that can be applied in other countries besides South Korea, joining a global accelerator program is a must. COVID-19 has not made it easy to travel abroad, however, many global accelerator programs have launched virtual programs where any startup from around the world can join.

For startup founders in Korea, the early days of the startup journey are crucial as they must choose the right path, stay local or go global. For those that plan to go global, you will need the right advice, direction, network, and a little funding. This is where the global accelerator comes into play. Most are 3-4 month programs that will offer years of connections, mentorship, and partnerships you would get if you did it on your own.

Below is a list of global accelerator programs that Korean startups should consider for 2021. We will continue to add to this list as we come across the right programs that fit startups in Korea.

Expert DOJO International Accelerator

Global Accelerator ProgramsKorean startups that are in their early-stage should look into this virtual global accelerator program at Expert DOJO. Expert DOJO helps both US and non-US companies scale up quickly in the global market. They have a vast network in the US, Europe, and Asia. They help founders bridge their skill gaps in order to strategize their business operations and hit their goals as quickly as possible.

The program is constantly on the lookout to discover and invest in startups, focusing on underrepresented and underserved talents from around the world. To date, they have helped over 800 startups and made over 100 investments in the last 18 months for the accelerator programs. They have a network of over 14,000 investors and 400 mentors. These mentors play a key role in the program as they help startups close deals, sell, and secure investments.

The Expert DOJO International Accelerator program is 3 months long. 80% of the startups who have participated in the Expert DOJO accelerator program got an investment within 6 months (avg. $1.5 million). Their weekly investment demo day averages 40-100 investors and it is run throughout the program. This is why most of their startups secure follow-on funding within 6 months of the program.

The Expert DOJO selection process

Expert DOJO focuses on the startup’s level of execution, the makeup of the team, product-market fit, market size, business and marketing strategies, and potential. Startups in any industry can apply. However, they should be in the pre-seed/seed stages. The program has an investment fund that gives $100,000 (7% equity) to each startup along with the 3-month accelerator program. Through the program, startups will have access to further investment opportunities. Expert DOJO is the perfect program for those looking to break into the North American market but lately, they have started to grow their network in the Asian market.

Why Should Startups Join?

What makes Expert DOJO different is its startup community. All entrepreneurs in the program have agreed to support the whole community in order to get stronger together. They are dedicated to helping startups get to the next round and work with them to not only set their milestones but help them get there. Startups will receive guidance and training sessions from Expert DOJO team members to help them grow at every level during the program and beyond. This is why graduates of the program get funding (relatively) quickly and are also prepared to grow exponentially on their own.

2021 Upcoming Cohort Dates

  • #1 2021 “Build your Own Unicorn Program” – February 8th, 2021
  • #2 2021 “Build your Own Unicorn Program” – April 5th, 2021
  • #3 2021 “Build your Own Unicorn Program” – May 31st, 2021
  • #4 2021 “Longevity Program” – July 26th, 2021
  • #5 2021 “Build your Own Unicorn Program” – September 13th, 2021
  • #6 2021 “Build your Own Unicorn Program” – November 1st, 2021

As you apply for the funding application here. please contact Robin Lee, Head of Asia Region at robin@expertdojo.com since she will be in charge of all Asia investments.

Intel Ignite

Intel Ignite is a 12-week global accelerator program led by Intel in Tel Aviv, Israel. Due to COVID-19, they moved their global accelerator program online. They select 10 startups through an online interview process. They focus on early-stage startups working on AI, machine learning, and autonomous systems. Intel offers startups access to global experts in technology and business and their vast network of investors. It is considered one of the most challenging and competitive accelerator programs in the world. South Korea has been at the forefront in AI/Autonomous systems recently. With the success of Socar and the continued support of Hyundai in startups focusing on autonomous driving, this accelerator program by Intel should be on these startups’ radar.

Intel Ignite has expanded its focus to other industries for 2021. If you are a startup in Korea that is working on disruptive technology like cybersecurity, IoT, or other deep technology fields can also apply. They don’t have to solely focus on AI or autonomous machines. However, startups need to have raised their seed funding and have a strong founding team. Intel will not take any equity or percentages for participating in the program.

Apply here.

Brinc Accelerator

Global Accelerator ProgramsBrinc is a VC firm that offers a global accelerator program that is open to startups from across the world. To date, the program has invested in over 150 startups from 38 countries. They focus on startups that are looking to fundamentally change the way we move, eat, feel, and where we live for the better. What makes the Brinc global accelerator program so great is that they offer 17 global accelerator programs across 12 verticals.

The 12 verticals are listed below.

  • Alternative Protein – Focused on developing new food alternatives and processes to address the inefficiencies in food supply chains.
  • CleanTech – Address pressing energy efficiency, optimization and emission challenges for industrial applications.
  • Climate Resilience – Focused on solving the many problems that coastal cities face as a result of climate change.
  • Food Technology – Technology to solve deep-rooted inefficiencies in the food system and create a more sustainable food supply.
  • Food Waste – Upcycling food surplus to save precious resources, both economic and natural, from being unnecessarily squandered.
  • Hardware & IoT – Designed to support commercialization for new technology growth-stage startups.
  • InsurTech – Digital solutions to help people live healthier lives, protect their families, and secure their future.
  • Logistics – Solving the deep-rooted inefficiencies in the supply chain to create a more sustainable system.
  • MedTech – Medical technologies that engage at every phase of the patient pathway.
  • Mobility – Solutions focusing on technologies within smart cities, in moving people, assets, and goods.
  • New Materials – Sustainable food packaging alternatives to minimize the environmental footprint of food consumption patterns.
  • PropTech – Startups who can unleash their innovation and creativity onto cities, to bring the world of tomorrow, today.

Startups will up to $100,000 in exchange for equity. In addition, startups that graduate from the accelerator program average $1.1 million in follow-on funding. Their 3-month intensive accelerator program ends with a Demo Day whereby startups will get a chance to present their refined pitches to the local startup ecosystem. Moreover, the programs for 2021 will be 100% online and remote. Therefore there is no need to be physically present in the location for the duration of the programs. Startups in Korea can get the same benefits from Korea.

Apply here.

SkyDeck

SkyDeckUC Berkeley’s SkyDeck accelerator program is among the most prominent university accelerators in the U.S. It is partly funded by one of the top VC firms in the world, Sequoia Captial. Startups from around the world can pitch their startup via Zoom. Once accepted, the SkyDeck program will be operated entirely remotely. Therefore startups will be taking instructions and working with advisors, investors, and other collaborators through online technologies like Google, Zoom, and Slack. It is one of the longer global accelerator programs. It is a 6-month program that starts in late March and runs until the Demo Day which takes place in Mid-September.

This program is the best way for startups in Korea to grow their network in Silicon Valley. The mentors, startup founders, investors, and advisors are all key players in Silicon Valley. SkyDeck is known for focusing on building businesses through connecting startups from around the world with all of the resources of UC Berkeley. While the program was mainly accessible to startups that are willing to move to California, the online version of the program will allow startups in Korea to join without having to travel abroad. This is only temporary which is why startups in Korea need to apply for their 2021 Cohort. The online program has been expanded during COVID-19 with more workshops, Advisors, and connections to UC Berkeley talent and alumni.

Berkeley SkyDeck Fund

The Berkeley SkyDeck Fund is the investment partner for UC Berkeley’s SkyDeck Accelerator Program. The fund invests $100,000 into each startup that goes through SkyDeck as well as participates in later stage investment rounds. They are one of the most active seed investors in the Bay Area. They have made over 100 investments in 3 years. In addition, the program had 11 startups exit, and 2 out of every 3 startups get follow-on funding after graduating from the program.

Apply here.

APX

APXFor startups in Korea that are in their very early stage should think about applying for APX. APX is based in Berlin and is backed by Axel Springer and Porsche. The program supports and partners with startup entrepreneurs from not just Europe but from all around the world. They are no longer an accelerator but rather a very-early stage VC. They focus on investing in the best founders from around the world. To date, they have invested in over 70 startups across more than 20 industries. However, don’t think that since APX is based by Porsche, they focus on mobility startups, they are free to invest in any industry as long as the team is great.

Each startup that joins APX will be assigned a “champion” at both Porshe and Axel Springer. The champion will provide first-hand contacts and opportunities with each of their investors. Startups do not have to physically be in Berlin. Therefore, most of their formats and interactions are done virtually. While their accelerator program has changed to a more long-term partner for startups they invest in, the good news is that the initial funding amount has doubled to 55 million Euros. In addition, they have a great network of over 10,000 mentors, experts, investors, corporate connections, and portfolio founders.

Investment Strategy

APX invests in 3-6 companies every month and for the first month, there is an intensive venture development that is tailored to the startup’s needs and challenges. Then they will continue to work with the startups as long as they want. The 55 million Euro investment for a 5% equity stake in the startup comes with their pledge to join follow-on investment rounds. Moreover, this can be up to 500,000 Euros as a lead/co-investor for the founders to raise an extended pre-seed and seed round faster and more effectively. Therefore, startups in Korea looking to expand into the European market, it doesn’t get better than APX, not technically an accelerator program anymore, but the best VC support program for startups looking to enter Europe.

Send them your pitch deck here.

Dreamit

DreamitThe Dreamit global accelerator program is known for helping startups looking to rapidly gain customers, initiate new partnerships, and raise additional capital. These are some of the main issues for Korean startups looking to go global. They are the accelerator for Dreamit Ventures. Dreamit Ventures only invests in startups that have gone through the Dreamit program. Each of their programs is for 14 weeks. However, these now operate entirely online due to COVID-19, therefore startups are not required to relocate to graduate from the program.

Their program is broken down into 3 industries.

Dreamit Healthtech

This program is designed for digital health, medical device, and diagnostics startups. Moreover, founders pitch, pilot, and partner with leading health systems, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers, and self-insured employers.

Dreamit Securetech

This program is designed for cybersecurity, anti-fraud, risk & compliance, and physical security startups. In addition, founders pitch, pilot, and partner with leaders at Fortune 1000 companies, hospital systems, federal agencies, and the military.

Dreamit Urbantech

This program is designed for real estate tech and construction tech startups. Moreover, founders pitch, pilot, and partner with C-suite executives at some of the nation’s leading real estate and construction companies.