U.K. fintech incubator opens hub in Seoul

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U.K. fintech incubator opens hub in Seoul

XNTree, a British fintech start-up accelerator, will establish operations in Korea, a move to bridge the vast financial resources of London with Seoul’s nascent yet vibrant fintech scene.

Fintech refers to a line of business involving financial platforms or services built on advanced technology.

The name of the newly-minted Seoul unit is XNTree Hub Asia. It is an affiliated member of Level39, Europe’s largest start-up accelerator for finance. Established by real estate developer Canary Wharf, the London-based Level39 provides mentoring and space for fintech start-ups.

The start-up incubator center run by XNTree Hub Asia will be located in Yeouido, western Seoul, where the headquarters of securities companies and investment firms are clustered.

For the first batch of start-ups, XNTree will choose eight to 12 local ventures and train them for 12 weeks.

The unit will then take the selected companies to London and connect them with global investors. The accelerator hopes to provide access to seed and growth capital to scale up businesses.

“We are looking for promising companies focused on the fintech and smart city sectors,” Peter Chun, head of XNTree, said over phone.

Smart city refers to the use of Internet of Things technology including sensors and data management tools to make urban infrastructure more efficient and smarter.

XNTree held an opening ceremony on Tuesday at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul. Jeffrey Evans, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and Eric van der Kleij, a former CEO of Level39 and special adviser to UK Trade & Investment, attended the event.

“Large corporates are under pressure to innovate, and innovators need to access customers, investors and new markets,” Chun said. “One of the key features of the hub is to create innovation programs designed to make the connection between innovators and large corporates mutually successful.”

“Korea is the perfect location for Asian market expansion” said Nick Searle, head of XNTree Global.

“There exists great balance of the best connectivity, excellent technology corporates, ambitious startups, government support and strategic geographical positioning.”

The accelerator announced a range of local partners including BNK Busan Bank, Korean Electric Power Corporation, Hansoll Textile, The Floor, and the Association of High Potential Enterprises of Korea.

Down the road, XNTree Asia is expected to share resources with Level39. Level39 supports more than 180 companies.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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