Seoul, South Korea - The annual Comeup startup festival took place last week in Seoul, South Korea, attracting some 66,000 attendees from 35 countries, according to organizers.
The three-day event featured startup pitches, policy discussions, and networking opportunities. Participation expanded this year with attendees from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Why It Matters
With some criticism that South Korean events have limited reach, including globally, and are too focused on the internal ecosystem,
Asia's leading startup ecosystem needed to show that the critics are just that - critics.
The Key Points
Major corporations such as BMW, Microsoft, AWS, and Nvidia sent representatives. Government officials also attended, including the UAE's Minister of Economy and the head of Saudi Arabia's SME Agency. In addition, global communities such as FKCCI and Viva Technology CEO (Chief Ecosystem Officer) attended the event.
A new Global Community Zone provided a dedicated space for delegations from 18 countries to connect and share information. Startups pitched ideas and made connections with the international audience.
Sessions focused on helping South Korean startups expand globally. Experts suggested strategies to make the local ecosystem more collaborative and open to the world.
CEOs from IPO companies SOCAR and LUNIT discussed challenges such as post-IPO life and scaling in emerging markets. CEOs of prominent South Korean startups spoke alongside lesser-known entrepreneurs.
The 20th anniversary of open innovation was celebrated with talks on startup-corporate partnerships. Major South Korean conglomerates discussed how they use open innovation.
A startup pitch competition resulted in 10 winners, including medical robotics company Intecmed. Over 1,000 investor meetings were facilitated through the online matching platform.
What They Say:
"We are encouraged by the significant increase in on-site visitors and global participants,"
said Chairman Choi Sung-jin.
He highlighted Comeup's evolution into a global connector for startups worldwide.
What Comes Next:
Organizers plan to share event content online to build momentum for next year.
Comeup aims to solidify its status as a top global platform for startups as international participation grows.