Pangyo Techno Valley, Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea— Marking another step in Korea’s progress towards establishing its own Silicon Valley, the newly commissioned Xinova-GBSA Global Acceleration Center, located in Pangyo Techno Valley 1, has begun operations. Xinova won a highly competitive selection process to manage and direct the Global Acceleration Center for the city of Pangyo’s Techno Valley, which is located in Korea’s richest province, Gyeonggi, where a vibrant startup scene bustles alongside the country’s top corporate players, including Hyundai, Samsung, SK and others.
The Global Acceleration Center’s building has been completed; the paint is freshly dry, and several areas are still being built out. But the lights are on at the Xinova-GBSA offices and the first seven startups it invited into the incubator have moved in, with three more companies expected to be invited to move in by the end of May.
Provincial government officials have expressed enthusiasm for the quality of companies Xinova has brought in as part of the contract awarded by Pangyo Techno Valley to manage the incubator/accelerator program, in which Xinova Korea offers and manages office space and WeWork-style services as “in-kind” contributions to Xinova’s local ecosystem in Korea.
Pangyo Techno Valley, located 20-minutes-by-subway south of Seoul’s Gangnam district, is an industrial park housing over 1,400 companies whose activities span the gamut of technological fields, from gaming to biotech. The government-planned innovation hotbed was completed in 2016, with Techno Valley 2 recently completed, and Techno Valley 3 scheduled for completion in 2023. In under a decade, Pangyo Techno Valley has established itself as the fourth of Korea’s three traditional core business districts, all in Seoul: the CBD, Yeouido and Gangnam.
The team overseeing the accelerator’s management is lead by Xinova APAC chairman, Yong Sung Kim, who is serving as Head of Global Acceleration Center; Youngii Moon, Program Manager of the center; and Minseok Jang, Innovation Service Manager, is establishing bridges between the innovation center and the Xinova network. We caught up with Minseok to help fill us in on what’s happening in Pangyo, how Xinova got there, and what’s on the horizon.
Xinova: Congratulations to you, YSK, Youngii Moon, and the whole Xinova Korea team! What an accomplishment. Let’s begin with the basics: what is the official name of this center?
Minseok Jang: Thank you very much. Being selected to manage this program truly is an honor and it speaks to the quality and capabilities of the Xinova global network. In answer to your question:
Global Acceleration Center
Xinova-GBSA, Pangyo (GBSA: Gyeonggido Business & Science Accelerator)
Xinova: Who are the companies in this space, and how were they invited and selected?
MJ: The purpose of the Xinova-GBSA program is to help startups go global. Our main criteria for selecting startups was determining how globally competitive they are. We received applications over a period of 3 weeks, and we invited an external panel for review. Seven companies were selected in the first round and we are trying to invite at least 3 more companies this May. Officials from the province already told us they are quite happy with companies we’ve drawn to the accelerator.
Xinova: What was the process by which Xinova got selected to manage the program?
MJ: The selection process for this program was very competitive. Eight companies applied for this program. Existing accelerators have not been successful at helping local Korean startups enter the global market. We at Xinova Korea emphasized our extensive global network and open innovation model. Xinova stood out as better equipped to connect local startups with global markets.
Xinova: How does this center compare with other spaces like this around Seoul?
MJ: Pangyo is a specially-planned city devoted to nurturing the start-up sector and next-generation industries. Pangyo has a good balance of startups, MNCs, and SMEs. With the support of the regional government and Xinova, startups in the center can have many opportunities to collaborate with MNCs and SMEs.
Xinova: What is Xinova’s role in managing this space?
MJ: We are going to provide programs to make them more competitive. Using the Xinova network, we are trying to connect start-ups to demand or collaborative partners. Additionally, we are planning a global collaboration program with an overseas partner.
Xinova: Can you summarize Pangyo Techno Valley’s mission, and how it compares to Silicon Valley?
MJ: Pangyo Techno Valley was recently established to lead Korea’s new growth engine by benchmarking Silicon Valley. It is still lacking in terms of innovation and diversity, but it is growing dynamically with diverse support.
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