Top40 K-Startup – A Korean Success Story

Following 3.5 months in Seoul AAAccell is proud to have been selected as a top 40 startup of the K-Startup Grand Challenge.

It was a long journey from almost 2’000 applications and 80 finalists competing during the first stage. With a high demand for advanced WealthTech, AAAccell made it to the second phase lasting from January to June 2019. We want to congratulate all the other startups that have made this journey with us.

AAAccell in Seoul

Since late August AAAccell has been in Seoul, as part of the K-Startup Grand Challenge Accelerator. The program allowed a deep-dive into the local business culture for an advanced feasibility study, facilitating a possible transition to Korea. Three months into the program and we signed our first partnership agreement, started employing a local workforce and are well on our way in establishing our first presence in Asia.

Need for new technology in Korea

The Korean economy has been growing at a moderate 2% to 3% over the last decade. However, a disastrous year on the stock market and tremendous demographic pressure are cause for concern. The latter trend stems from an ageing population and a generation showing little interested in having children, resulting in the world’s lowest fertility rate. These two dynamics are especially worrisome for the domestic pension funds. The National Pension Service, the world’s third-largest pension fund with around $579 billion AUM, has been forced significantly increase its asset allocation to overseas and alternative investments to diversify its holdings. Despite the efforts, the national pension’s fund is set to be depleted by 2057 under the current system. As a result, Korea is looking for new technologies that would help to source additional investment opportunities and to avoid a financial calamity in the next 39 years. To attract this kind of technology the government is pouring millions into the support of innovation.

K-Startup Grand Challenge

The K-Startup Grand Challenge is government supported Accelerator in its third year, offering predominantly international startups a chance to access Seoul. A total of 80 startups made their way into the time-intensive program providing support in many crucial business areas, primarily related to the administrative and legal efforts. Besides, there are substantial networking opportunities that come by participating. However, it was essential not to rely entirely on the care provided by the program. Very quickly reaching out to the local Swiss Business Hub, visiting different companies and contacting supporting organisations to build a network promptly was an essential part of creating a Korean success story for AAAccell.

Winners of the K-Startup GrandChallenge 2018

SBCN Partnership

In less than two months AAAccell was able to establish a partnership with SBCN – a Korean robo-advisory founded in 2014 and located in Seoul. In addition to the robo-advisory solutions, SBCN offers services related to blockchain development, big data analytics (including machine learning and artificial intelligence), and financial analysis. The journey from the first meeting all the way to signing the MoU was well reported on local media and highlighted the positive development between the two entities:

  1. First Contact
  2. Kick-Off Meeting
  3. MoU Conclusion

Other Successes across Asia

We are happy to announce that AAAccell pitched itself into the Top 5 companies as the only non-Korean entity during the final pitching day at Seoul Metropolitan Government Tech Demoday during their Seoul Startup Conference & Expo. [Read More].

Also, AAAccell is proud to announce the 4th place at the pitching finals during the Hong Kong Fintech week. Prices for the fourth place include tremendous incorporation support and free office spaces. We thank the organisers and congratulate the winners and participants. [Read More].

4th place at the pitching finals during the Hong Kong Fintech Week

Strategy for 2019

The primary strategy for 2019 will build on a successful product launch with our business partner SBCN. We plan one initial project, after which we can pursue other possible collaborations. Following the hiring of a Korean programmer (programming team) to customise our solutions later next year, we expect to engage in different projects, including research with local universities. As we are a university spin-off ourselves, we place a high emphasis on increasing our academic connections in Korea, in our aim to develop local IP.

Reach Out to us

Do you have any questions about the Fintech Ecosystem in Korea? Please reach out to AAAccell or contact Julian Osborne directly.

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