A Fintech Accelerator Program – Why Startups Should join Seoul Fintech Lab
These days joining an accelerator program is a must for many startups. There are various accelerators in Korea that accept startups from a broad variety of industries. While these programs provide helpful support on how to operate or finance a startup, it could be difficult to receive specialized mentorship and training for a niched field. This is why nowadays, more accelerator programs focus on one particular vertical.
Seoul Fintech Lab, for example, is a fintech accelerator program completely funded by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Our customized program supports the various needs of fintech startups. The goal is to provide fintech startups with long-term opportunities in not just Korea but around the world. Therefore, Seoul Fintech Lab has been actively building its network outside of Korea.
With a well-curated program and a vast network of key mentors, advisors, and partners in the fintech industry, we equip startups with the necessary tools to attract investment and scale. In addition, fintech startups will be working in close proximity to other innovative fintech startups.
An Innovation Hub for the Fintech Industry
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has partnered with various institutions such as the Financial Supervisory Service, the Korean Fintech Industry Association, Hana Bank, and KB Financial Group to build a strong ecosystem for fintech startups. Their aim is to make the Seoul Fintech Lab in Yeouido an innovation hub for the fintech industry. KB Financial Group also runs its own Fintech Lab called the KB Innovation Hub. Together with the Seoul Fintech Lab, both organizations collaborate to help with overseas expansion.
The Seoul Fintech Lab in Yeouido is the largest fintech startup incubation space in Korea. It covers 6 floors and currently holds 100 fintech companies and over 1,000 financial innovators and entrepreneurs. Seoul Fintech Lab started with just 27 tenants back in April of 2018.
Why Should Fintech Startups Join the Seoul Fintech Lab?
South Korea offers many unique advantages for fintech startups in particular. First of all, South Korea has one of the best internet and mobile penetrability in the world. Add this to Seoul’s density which accounts for half of Korea’s population (50 million), and you have access to a mass of people ready to adopt new technologies very quickly. This is why P2P payment services and mobile commerce have taken off in Korea in a short period of time. Fintech startups at the Seoul Fintech Lab are constantly focused on building products and services that provide a better experience to people.
Startup Education Programs Residents of the Fintech Accelerator Program
While Seoul Fintech Lab is a fintech accelerator, we offer foundational startup education on how to run a successful business to their residents. These startup education programs take place 2-3 times a month. Some of the topics include:
UI & UX
Mentoring Programs for Seoul Fintech Lab Residents
Seoul Fintech Lab offers 3 types of mentoring programs. Whether a startup needs help with growth, fundraising, marketing, or legal services, the mentoring programs at Seoul Fintech Lab have them covered. The application process for a mentorship session is very simple. A startup fills out a survey based on its needs. We will then create a mentorship plan based on the survey results. Mentoring sessions are scheduled and afterward, the startups submit a review of the mentorship session.
The Fintech Lab offers 3 types of mentorship:
Investment-related mentorship provides help on the startup’s IR Deck and how to pitch to investors. Mentors for these kinds of sessions have worked with hundreds of fintech startups and know what it takes to get the attention of an investor.
Most fintech startups might not have the budget to hire a design or marketing team. Therefore, general mentorship will be for startups looking to connect with experienced experts in the field of marketing, branding, design, accounting, and more.Seoul Fintech Lab also has expert mentors for legal advice, software development, or other topics that are not covered through investment-related mentoring and general mentorship. Fintech startups can request help for a particular topic and we will match them with the right mentor within their network.
Seoul Fintech Lab Demo Day
The Seoul Fintech Lab Demo Day attracts angel investors and VCs from around the world that are interested in the fintech industry. Therefore, the Seoul Fintech Lab Demo Day offers them a chance to see some of the top innovative fintech startups that have been filtered by the accelerator program. The filtering process starts right away as Seoul Fintech Lab holds monthly demo days for their residents. These monthly demo days are in partnership with other Fintech organizations and VCs. Some of the demo day partners in the past include Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance, DB Asset Management, NLVC, and more.
Monthly Demo Days:
1) The monthly demo day can be one of two types. One type is when a partner institution picks the startups they would like to see at the monthly demo day. Then the startups submit the required materials to participate in that month’s event. The startups then pitch and a winner gets selected by the partner organization.
2) The other type of Demo Day will be when Seoul Fintech Lab selects the theme for the month’s demo day. Similarly, startups submit the required materials to participate. Partner institutions are invited to the demo day and a winner is selected.
The Official Demo Day
The startups that got picked for the monthly demo days get the opportunity to pitch at the final demo day which is annually held in Mid-November. The official demo day brings in all partner institutions, angel investors, and VCs in the Seoul Fintech Lab’s network. For the official demo day, Seoul Fintech Lab offers support to the fintech startups by helping with their deck design, pitch coaching, and creating a promotional video for the event. After the final event, we will continue to monitor the startup’s process through follow-up matchmaking with potential investors and partners.
Success Story from Seoul Fintech Lab Demo Day
Seoul Fintech Lab’s resident 90days, a P2P payment solution, attracted $73 million in Series B investment from the Korea Growth Investment Corp (K-Growth) after pitching at the Seoul Fintech Lab Demo Day. The investment came from K-Growth’s Fintech Innovation Fund. This investment was the first major investment in a P2P company in Korea in 2020. With this investment 90days plans to expand their development and focus on R&D to become the leading fintech company in Korea.
“The current P2P industry is meaningful in that it was carried out in the midst of a tightening of related regulations ahead of the enforcement of the Online Investment-linked Financial Act on August 27th,” said the CEO of 90days, Kwak Ki-Woong.
Seoul Fintech Lab’s Global Expansion Programs
In order to help fintech startups extend globally, the Seoul Fintech Lab has been partnering with fintech startup ecosystems from around the world. Our expansion approaches include co-branded events with global players. One of them was the online meetup event 10X Extension in Luxembourg. Through this initiative, 5 fintech startups from SFL were able to meet key players in the Luxembourg financial industry. Furthermore, the Seoul Fintech Lab hosted a 6-week fintech-focused mentorship program together Plug and Play. 9 selected startups were able to participate and learn about global expansion strategies into the United States and Singapore.
BC Labs, a resident at Seoul Fintech Lab won the Best Fintech Startup prize at ‘Supernova Challenge”, a pitch competition at Gixtex Future Stars 2020. BC Labs was also one of five fintech startups (others being Quotabook, Finhaven, XQuant, and Spiceware) to participate in an online meetup event held with investors and financial industry experts in Luxembourg.
Furthermore, to help fintech startups enter the Southeast Asian market, Seoul Fintech Lab signed an MOU with the Singapore Fintech Association. You can see the MOU signing below:
Seoul Fintech Lab will continue to help startups establish overseas branches to make inroads into foreign markets easier. This is why they have been actively signing MOUs with fintech ecosystems around the world to explore markets outside of Korea.
Key Features of SFL’s Global Expansion Program of 2021
6-week mentorship program + Demo Day
English IR deck/video production support, English content and English pitching consulting
10X Extension in Singapore with Singapore Fintech Association (3 Business matchmaking + IR/Networking)
10X Extension in Luxembourg (3 Business Matchmaking + IR/Networking)
Support for participation in overseas exhibitions/conferences (Singapore Fintech Festival, Future of fintech, Finovate west, Fintech connect)