Seoul’s Hongneung Gangso R&D Special Zone Begins Auditions for Third GRaND-K Startup School Competition (July 20, 2023)
- Date : 2023-10-11
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International Cooperation Team
Seoul's Hongneung Gangso R&D Special Zone Beings Auditions for Third GRaND-K Startup School Competition
On July 20, KIST (President: Seok-Jin Yoon) held auditions for the third GRaND-K Startup School Competition, with the event centering on KIST, Kyung Hee University, and Korea University, key technology institutions in the Hongneung Gangso R&D Special Zone of Seoul.
GRaND-K Startup School, which was established in 2021, is the flagship project of the Hongneung R&D Special Zone. It aims to provide joint startup training for prospective and early-stage (three years since established) startups seeking to launch technologies by holding an audition-type startup competition, the first of its kind in Korea, to enhance the capabilities of participating startup teams.
In the second GRaND-K program, held last year, 112 startup teams and 23 investment institutions took part in the competition, with the 20 finalist teams being selected after four rounds of competition which featured various programs, such as joint startup education. All of the winning teams were given commercialization subsidies, with the grand prize team, Neocannbio, and second prize team, Cureverse, being awarded the grand prize and second prize, respectively, at the R&D special zone national competition.
In this year's GRaND-K competition, the third of its kind, participating teams are undergoing individual evaluations to strengthen their capabilities, 1:1 mentoring services based on the results of those evaluations, and business model specification training to enhance their IR capabilities and management strategies. In addition, the competition promotes the sharing of best practices by senior entrepreneurs and attraction of investments by investment institutions by senior entrepreneurs through networking past GRaND-K participants.
Along with the competition itself, KIST and six investment companies took part in an investment agreement ceremony with the goal of expanding investment into GRaND-K. A total of 29 investment companies, including 23 investment companies that signed agreements last year and 6 newcomers, will participate in startup mentoring and screening to determine the winning teams during the competition.
The new institutions participating this year are Vision Works Ventures, Bigbang Angels, SBI Investment, SK Securities, Xntree Ventures, and Zephyrus Lab.
The GRaND-K program is an audition-type startup competition which consists of preliminary and main rounds, with venture capital firms (VCs) and accelerators (ACs), which are actual investors for the program, participating as judges to conduct consultations. The winning teams will be linked with the investment institutions that participated as their mentors for investment, and also receive support from the Hongneung Special Zone Project Group program with relocation, linkage to support projects, marketing activities, establishment as a research institute company, and overseas expansion.
Seok-Jin Yoon, the President of KIST, stated, "Last year, 23 investment institutions participated in the second GRaND-K competition, demonstrating their great interest in the participating teams, which were granted substantial Series A level and higher investments. Owing to the excellent ideas to be presented by this year’s participating teams and the insights of the investment institutions which discovered them, we expect this year’s GRaND-K competition to make a name for itself as a successful school for startups."
Located in Seoul, the Hongneung Gangso R&D Special Zone is actively contributing to the successful operation of the GRaND-K Startup School, with the goals of creating excellent jobs through cooperation with government-funded research institutes and universities and establishing itself as a role model for driving the country's future industries.