Corporate Innovation in South Korea – Report 2023

Scaleup South Korea continues to follow a sustainable growth trajectory, excelling in all indicators and outperforming countries such as Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. The country is now home to over 1,500 scaleups, with capital investments reaching $55.8B.
These trends highlight the increasing importance of South Korea as a global innovation hub and position the country as a prime location for the forthcoming “AI Revolution”.

Then, it doesn’t come as a surprise that South Korea has become an increasingly attractive hotspot for global corporate venturing. A total of 71 multinationals from 15 countries and 3 continents have recognized the potential of South Korea’s scaleups and the local tech talent pool and established a dedicated innovation presence there. Half of them (41) have set up an innovation outpost in the last 5 years.
Traditionally a hotspot for Global R&D, South Korea is increasingly becoming a target hub for lean innovation presences, serving purposes such as tech scouting, reporting, trend spotting, and fostering investment opportunities. This trend is similar to what we observed in other tech hubs (Israel and Silicon Valley*).
These lean outposts were virtually non-existent just ten years ago. Recently, they have become the majority among newly established organizations (22 out of 41).
Since 2016, we have tracked 5 new Antennas, 12 new Innovation Labs, and 5 new CVC Offices.
The majority of Innovation Outposts are concentrated in the capital city of Seoul, which acts as the de facto Korean open innovation landing platform.