The government of Seoul, South Korea’s capital city will financially support blockchain startups as part of its commitment to invest as much as 1.2 trillion won (or $1.07 billion) in major innovations in the coming years. Other innovative technologies targeted include wearable tech, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence, smart city, autonomous vehicle, robotics, sharing economy, and 3D printing.
Purpose of the Startup Funds
According to crypto news outlet Coindesk, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on Monday that it was injecting the funds to help startups that currently struggle to access funding through Series A or seed funding rounds.
It explained that the government wanted to increase the average seed investment available to innovative South Korean companies compared to those in other parts of the world. “The average investment per company in Korea is about $ 1.1 million, compared with $ 7 million in London and $ 6.5 million in Silicon Valley,” it noted.
Breakdown of the Startup Funds
The fund which will be disbursed through the Seoul Innovation Growth Fund will be released from 2019 till 2022 with a focus on innovative technologies. Among some initiative mentioned are the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Smart City, and cultural content projects.
The government plans to invest a total of about $18 million in 2019 broken down into the first and second halves of the year and further segmented into five tranches in each half.
During the first half of the year, the Seoul Innovation Growth Fund will release about 13.25 billion won ($11.75 million USD). This includes 2 billion won ($1.77 million) each for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Smart City, and cultural content projects, as well as 2.25 billion won ($2 million) into startup support and another 3 billion won ($2.66 million) earmarked for rehabilitation support.” It plans to disburse 8.4 billion won ($7.45 million) in the second half of this year.
Investing in Blockchain Innovation
In a loosely translated piece, Jo In-dong, the head of the economic policy department at the Seoul Metropolitan Government hailed the development as a “key driver of innovation venture growth.”
Dong was quoted as saying:
“Innovative start-up investment will be the cornerstone of corporate growth that creates innovation in our society and will be a key driver of innovation venture growth. I will make a virtuous circle structure that will activate the start-up investment market and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
As reported, the Seoul Metropolitan Government recently issued appointment letters to new members of its blockchain governance team charged with the responsibility of working on the integration of blockchain technology in the administrative services in the city. Blockchain startups stand to benefit greatly from smart city initiative which was originally announced last October.
On the national level, South Korea last August earmarked 5 trillion won (about $4.4 billion) for Blockchain and eight Innovative Sectors including blockchain.