Naver announced that over the past six years since the launch of D2SF, it has invested a total of 40 billion won in 70 startups. D2SF is a startup fostering organization (enterprise accelerator).
On June 8, Naver held an online press conference to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the launching of D2SF, and revealed its investment results and plans for the future.
Most of the startups that Naver “picked” were in the early stage of technology that have just started or are about to start the business. Among them, 99% of them are still in business. Also, 70% of them succeeded in attracting follow-up investment. According to Naver, these startups have attracted a total of 337.8 billion won in investment so far, and their corporate values now add up to 1.3 trillion won.
Yang Sang-hwan, the leader of D2SF, said, “Rather than looking at how well the business is doing now, we have been investing based on the potential the company has such as technology, and how it will be used and ultimately the synergy it will create with Naver services.”
The most exemplary company is Furiosa AI. The semiconductor company Furiosa AI received spotlight by attracting a total of 80 billion won from a number of investors including Naver D2SF. Furiosa AI CEO Baek Jun-ho said, “Naver D2SF was the only investor who sympathized with us and stood by us in 2017 when we weren’t even incorporated. It is the partner that understands the value of technology and hardships of technical startups.”
In addition to investment, Naver is also working hard to collaborate with startups. According to Naver, 71% of the investment teams have found contact points with Naver and are discussing details regarding ways to cooperate. Autonomous driving startup Morai built an autonomous driving simulator using data from NAVER LABS, and by using this, NAVER LABS created an advanced autonomous driving system.
Naver also plans to set up one floor of its second office building scheduled to be completed this year as a space for startups. Leader Yang said, “In addition to investment, the startups located in D2SF space consider network with Naver as the most important factor of growth. Network and cooperation instead of one-directional support to support growth are what we do best, and what we can only do.”
Pangyo Technovalley is an innovation hub for global companies comparable to the Silicon Valley in the US, Zhongguancun in China, and STATION F in France. It is an Asia tech hub with 1,259 IT, BT, CT, and NT companies that possess innovative products and technologies. Located just south of the metropolitan area, it provides the best environment for Korean companies to do business with great transportation access and infrastructure.
Various high-tech companies are located in Pangyo Technovalley, and it is occupied by 64,000 full-time employees, many in their 20-30s. In terms of industry, the companies are engaged in information technology, contents technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
With the support of innovative companies with global capabilities such as Kakao, Naver, AhnLab, Krafton, NCSoft, Nexon, and Hancom, companies in Pangyo Technovalley recorded 107 trillion won in sales last year. Investment and infrastructure growth in Pangyo is expected to continue, with the Metaverse hub entering Pangyo this year.