KT opens start-up incubator near Seoul National University
Telecom operator KT has opened a start-up incubating center in Seoul’s Gwanak District, hoping to turn the area — best known as the home of Seoul National University (SNU) — into a hub for spearheading accelerator programs.
Dubbed Digico Open Lab, the center will offer free office space, cloud services and management consulting.
The seven-story building is a part of a joint project with the Seoul city government, the university and KB Financial Group to turn the Gwanak area into a start-up hub.
The city government has committed to inject 10 billion won ($8.7 million) through 2024 and SNU will invest 10.5 billion won. KT declined to comment how much it has invested in the project.
While the participating companies — KT and KB Financial Group — will be focused on supporting the infrastructure SNU will use to connect its students and alumni with the programs.
Seven start-ups that passed KT’s screening process will be the first to use the building.
They are: VPIX Medical, a developer of AI-based diagnostics system; Propwave, a provider of parking-lot management systems; Flatgarden, an education technology start-up; ActionPower, a developer of automated transcription tools; AlgoCare, a start-up specializing in personalized nutrition management; and data processing-focused start-ups Paprika Data Lab and Pi Media Lab.
Most of the tech firms are headed by SNU alumni.
The carrier said that the center will become a central point for the start-ups for sharing knowledge and networking.
An opening ceremony was held on Thursday with the heads of the entities involved attending. Key participants included KT CEO Koo Hyun-mo, SNU President Oh Se-jung, Minister of SMEs and Startups Kwon Chil-seung and KB Kookmin Bank Hur Yin.
The KT CEO expressed his willingness to work with the start-ups in developing different services.
“We aim to develop promising start-ups into unicorns and maintain a virtuous cycle of strengthening the competitiveness of KT’s digital platforms with them,” he said.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]