South Korea’s top internet portal operator, Naver Corp., said Tuesday that it has invested 40 billion won (US$36 million) in a total of 70 startups ? mostly early-stage tech firms under its accelerator scheme that started in 2015.
The investment was made over the past six years since the tech giant created D2 Startup Factory, an accelerator for tech startups under its arm.
Naver has supported promising entrepreneurs with advanced technological skills since 2015.
Naver said the startups were able to attract a total of 337.8 billion won, with their value jumping an average of six times to a combined estimate of 1.3 trillion won.
Naver said 71 percent of the startups are seeking ways to cooperate with Naver in various services, such as those related to autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.
D2 Startup Factory, which currently has an office space for startups in the posh Gangnam area in southern Seoul, will be equipped with more office space at Naver’s second headquarters currently under construction.
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.