Panoramic view of Seoul Bio Hub, a support hub for biomedical startups, in Seoul's Dongdaemun-gu District (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Panoramic view of Seoul Bio Hub, a support hub for biomedical startups, in Seoul’s Dongdaemun-gu District (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

By Koh Hyunjeong

Seoul is the world’s ninth-best city to launch a startup, with the value of the capital’s startup ecosystem worth KRW 308 trillion (USD 237 billion).

Startup Genome, a San Francisco-based global advisory and research company that evaluates the global startup environment, on June 10 released this year’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said on June 11.

The capital ranked ninth among the world’s best cities for launching startups, higher than Tokyo (10th) and Shanghai (11th) as well as select European capitals famous among entrepreneurs such as Paris (14th) and Berlin (15th).

The value of Seoul’s startup environment skyrocketed from KRW 52 trillion in 2021 to KRW 308 trillion this year.

The report said the city received perfect or near-perfect scores in four categories: a 10 in fundraising and nine each in ecosystem activities, creativity experience and talent nurturing, and knowledge accumulation. The market entry score of seven was a huge jump from just one last year.

Seoul got a perfect 10 in fundraising, ranking first in Asia and fifth worldwide in the category.

The city’s aggressive fundraising was exemplified through its Future Innovation Growth Fund (KRW 3.6 trillion from 2019-22) and Seoul Vision 2030 Fund (KRW 1.3 trillion from last year to March this year), which will be raised to KRW 5 trillion by 2026.

Deputy Seoul Mayor for Economic Policy Lee Hae Woo said, “Under the goal of becoming one of the world’s top five startup cities by 2030, we will launch an integrated and cutting-edge high-tech commercialization system to intensively develop companies based on innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, bio, robotics and quantum. We will also boost exchange and cooperation in domestic and foreign startup ecosystems.”

“By 2030, we will form a startup ecosystem spawning 50 big unicorn corporations that attract global attention.”