COMEUP 2023: Global Extravaganza Celebrating Innovation & Entrepreneurship

A spectacular global startup festival of unmatched scale and significance, COMEUP 2023 is poised to surpass all previous editions as it celebrates its fifth anniversary.

COMEUP 2023: Global Extravaganza Celebrating Innovation & Entrepreneurship

A spectacular global startup festival of unmatched scale and significance, COMEUP 2023 is poised to surpass all previous editions as it celebrates its fifth anniversary.

Anticipating a remarkable participation of 60% startups from outside South Korea, the event embraces its 2023 theme, “We Move the World,” reaffirming its dedication to driving continuous innovation and fostering a thriving global startup ecosystem.

Taking place from November 8 to 10 at Seoul’s iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), the event is jointly organized by the South Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups, in collaboration with the Korea Startup Forum.

Since its inception in 2019, COMEUP has evolved into a global startup event that unites South Korea’s vibrant startup ecosystem with a diverse international audience. This year, the festival will bring together innovative startups, visionary investors, and entrepreneurial leaders from 29 countries, marking a significant surge in participation compared to the previous year.

The surge in international participation can be attributed, in part, to collaborations between the Korean government and various overseas partners. Over the years, COMEUP’s attendance has seen steady growth, from 21,102 visitors in 2019 to 59,054 in 2020, 50,291 in 2021, and 57,560 in 2022.

In 2023, the event expands its reach to 29 countries, up from 20 participating countries in the previous year. This expansion affirms COMEUP’s steadfast commitment to evolving into a truly global startup festival.

Minister LEE Young of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups emphasizes, “The world has entered the ‘digital era of exploration,’ where competition knows no borders. In this new era, the role of startups, with their flexibility, speed, and digital technology, is paramount.” She anticipates that COMEUP 2023 will facilitate interactions between Korean startups and the global community, promoting international engagement.

A highlight of COMEUP 2023 is the introduction of a dedicated “Global Community Zone.” This special zone is the result of COMEUP’s active outreach to global startup communities and government visits to startup-friendly countries, including recent visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

COMEUP 2023’s Global Community Zone will bring together delegates from around the world, representing countries such as the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Indonesia, Cambodia, Senegal, Uganda, and more.

The Global Community Zone will feature IR pitches focused on attracting investments, facilitated through a dedicated stage and conferences.

This year, COMEUP has also implemented an online business matching program, operational year-round, to expand investment and collaboration opportunities crucial for startup growth.

In a first for 2023, COMEUP will host a “Global CVC Conference,” expected to see participation from over 160 venture capitalists (VCs). Organized in collaboration with British media company GCV and the Korea Venture Capital Association, the Global CVC Conference will take place on November 9-10. This initiative aims to facilitate substantial investments and support international market entry for startups.

COMEUP 2023 continues its innovative “COMEUP Stars” program, designed to identify and nurture startups with the potential to become the next unicorns in the entrepreneurial landscape. This program seeks to provide early-stage startups, both from South Korea and abroad, with a unique platform for mentorship, networking, and investment opportunities, accelerating their growth.

This year’s COMEUP Stars program involves 13 top Korean and foreign VCs and accelerators, working closely with 10 promising startups each. The goal is to identify and nurture early-stage startups, providing intensive mentoring and pre-matching with investors to maximize their investment potential.

The program is segmented into different leagues to cater to startups at various stages of development, including the Rookie League (for startups with accumulated investments of less than KRW 1 billion/approx. $738k), the Rocket League (for Series A and B stage startups with investments ranging from KRW 5 to 50 billion/approx. $3.69 to $36.9 million), and the Academy League (for prospective entrepreneurs or startups founded within 6 months).

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Open Innovation Concept, COMEUP 2023 designates the second day of the event (November 9) as “Open Innovation Day.”

This day will showcase successful cases of collaboration between large, medium-sized, and startup companies. Over 20 global companies, including NVIDIA, Dassault Systèmes, Hyundai Motor Company, BMW, and Naver Cloud, will present collaboration models, forging a vision for future coexistence between startups and established corporations.

The program will feature use cases, demonstrating how large and medium-sized companies have successfully collaborated with startups. These cases offer concrete evidence of how innovative partnerships can drive value and growth. The program also includes panel discussions that explore the vision of mutually beneficial cooperation between companies.

COMEUP 2023, the global startup festival, is set to enthrall audiences with dynamic conference sessions featuring renowned personalities from the startup and entrepreneurship sphere. The event will bring together musicians, industry leaders, and government representatives to share valuable insights and inspire startups and entrepreneurs.

The conference will comprise multiple sessions, each addressing vital topics relevant to the startup lifecycle. These topics are selected to cover the major challenges startups face on their journey and will serve as a rich source of knowledge and practical advice for both aspiring and established entrepreneurs.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Zior Park, a musician, entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand SYNDROMEZ. Widely known as the K-POP musician Zior Park in Korea, he is celebrated for his innovative approaches and creative thinking, making him an invaluable source of inspiration for startups aiming to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Additionally, the conference will feature approximately 60 global speakers, including industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators.

A keynote speech will also be delivered by Mahdi Shariff, founder of Humble, a data-based deep learning platform, angel investor, co-founder of Stealth, and a 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia honoree. These speakers will share their stories, experiences, and insights into the dynamic world of startups, providing invaluable lessons and