Rewinding back to February this year, we interviewed a new batch of companies that soon became one of our many activities to support the market entry efforts of foreign startups in the US.
The startups came from a program that was originally created by a government agency with a base in Seoul, South Korea, called KISED (Korean Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development).
This wasn’t the first time KISED selected us as their official partner to run this activity. Our relationship formed in 2016 — we were selected to be the US organization that would support the growth of local Korean early-stage startups and help them build the foundation for a healthy and structured scaling path.
Fast forward, this year alone we received over 80 applications to the program, and diligently reviewed every entry submitted by the startups to identify the 10 that we’d be working with.
Selecting Korean startups for the acceleration program
**note: Mind the Bridge is not a traditional accelerator, when we talk about an acceleration program (no equity nor funding we give) we mean a fast track to access the local ecosystem by functioning as a connector for foreign startups.
The selection process involves evaluation of the product, market size, traction, business model, team strengths, and communication skills.
In this round, we selected roughly 30 companies to move to the second phase of the selection process which entails a one-on-one interview and final selection of the 10 best performers.
During the interview, we heard from Business Canvas, “the fastest-growing South Korean startup”. When I heard that I thought, yeah ok, let’s see what they have.
From a personal standpoint, Typed (Business Canvas’ product), was very interesting. It had all the game-changing elements, team, vision, and speed to implementation (when we interviewed them they were 8 months old).
That said, it was still unclear how this would look, function, and work in the practical sense. Great concept, but we couldn’t quite see it in the wild.I asked to be onboarded to their platform and to be shown how it would work.
After an exhaustive onboarding session, the product was clear, “Typed is a simple-to-use digital workspace designed to streamline document and knowledge management.”
Getting selected into the program
After review, we identified that the website and storytelling weren’t quite there yet. We decided to involve our partner, Penati & Partners, which supports startups hands-on with branding, communication, and marketing.
While working on branding, amongst other things, we made the final selections and, Business Canvas was selected as one of the startups to join the Global Startup Acceleration Program.
The Global Startup Acceleration Program
Within our program, we focused on two main pillars to help Korean startups.
- Immersion – focuses on providing the startups the right info and basis to develop a healthy, scalable business, as it has been repeatedly done in Silicon Valley.
- Market Entry or Scaleup Program – focuses on putting the more mature startups in front of potential leads, investors, partners, clients, and so on, to fast track their opening of a local entity and consequently business activation.
The perfect storm
The company joined and participated in our various activities while continuing to fine-tune their communication. This dedicated work became the making of a “perfect storm” both in the media and with investors.
This is the moment Mirae Assets and Kakao Venture got in touch with Business Canvas (+ and Nextrans Inc.).
We are excited to announce that Business Canvas has raised $2.5M for their Seed round during our, still ongoing, program, which comes as a result of the hard work and extreme dedication of the Business Canvas team.
Beyond that, we are thrilled to be working with such an A-team and trust that the momentum has only begun. We are here looking forward to the next big news.