betahausX marks a third-year milestone in providing a complete landing pad for Korean startups

South Korea is on the cutting edge of global technological trends in consumer electronics, digital solutions, biotech and other fields with high relevance for the present and future. The country has an inspired startup scene and a government agency that is eager to help. Korean startups operate in a sound environment from where they can set their sails for international markets. betahausX successfully completed three launch pads as a logistic partner of the Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED). 2021 was a milestone in that regard. Our comprehensive stewardship served ten Korean startups whose business leaders were able to become sensitized to the markets in Germany and Europe and meet potential clients and partners.

Challenges

  • Meeting the right people and companies in a new business environment
  • Navigating the specific legal frameworks and discovering funding opportunities
  • Providing a custom program for each participating company

Outcomes

  • betahausX organized a full schedule of engagements for each participating startup, resulting in 161 working meetings
  • Ten companies became immersed in European business culture, met with industry peers, leaders and potential clients
  • Each startup met with more than 20 potential clients, approached with revised, stronger Value Proposition 
  • Three startups entered partnership agreements with companies in Europe

The Journey

The Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED) chose betahausX as its primary partner in providing Korean startups with a comprehensive business experience in Europe that can lead to expanded networks and potential clients.

Among the ten companies that were part of the betahausX 2021 Global Acceleration Program for Startups (GAPS) were an AI and robotics company, smart AI sensor developer, VR content developer, automation solutions and consulting company, biosignaling technology innovator, high fashion fabrics brand, and more. 

Our mission was to help the companies build on their strengths towards localizing their solutions for European clients and also to bridge the challenges and unknowns that new competitors are facing upon arrival in Europe from abroad. 

betahausX organized two landing pads for the KISED-supported startups in 2016 and 2017. Our most successful year was 2021. It was also the year that posed greater challenges than the previous years. 

Due to the covid pandemic our team had to redevelop the program into a hybrid model in order to serve all of the participants. Nevertheless, the model gave notable outcomes and resulted in accelerating ten Korean startups for their European business venture.

Prior to the companies’ representatives arrival in Berlin, they became familiarized with the German and European business ecosystems via online seminars and customized 1:1 mentoring. 

On our end of the job, the team worked to understand the core strengths and blind-spots that each company might have, down to the grainy specifics. By getting to know every product and solution, and the people behind, betahausX was able to develop a custom roadmap, and thereby, an immersive experience, for each one. 

During this leg of the journey, experts in various fields imparted crucial knowledge in EU legislation, understanding the business environment in their field, identifying market readiness, narrating and defining their products and services, coming up with a sound value proposition and more. 

The 2021 GAPS program for the ten Korean startups was spread out over ten weeks filled with activities. All of the participating companies had the option to continue the full scope of the program online or continue their experience from the betahaus business ecosystem in Berlin. 

By selecting either option, online or on-site, the companies received 1:1 coaching from business experts and entrepreneurs from the betahausX network. During this period we focused on preparing the participants for the coming demo days and meetings with company representatives. 

Our team relied on a dynamic toolkit to ensure the success of the program. This was not limited to reaching out to hundreds of experts, industry leaders and entrepreneurs in our German, European and International networks to find experts for subsequent 1:1 meetings. 

The meetings proved especially useful early-on as they informed the participants about the impinging EU legal frameworks, identified possibilities for funding, updated their GDPR approach and more.

For the next phase we contacted hundreds of potential clients and partners from our network of more than 1500 companies, which range from multinational corporations to niche-market players. This intense-yet-immersive part provided the participants a real-world platform where they can finally begin to make inroads and reach valuable insights. 

During the ten-week program we made multiple checkpoints where we re-evaluated the progress for each startup together with its representative. This enabled us to build on their performance and implement lessons learned along the journey, like reformulating their communications strategy and developing a better sales pitch. 

Thanks to a sound response and interest from our network outreach, each startup in the 2021 GAPS program met with more than 20 potential clients. The end-result makes this year our most-successful one to date as some of them signed memorandums of understanding with research institutes and companies and some established their first partnerships in Europe. 

All the while, the participants who were in Berlin felt completely at home in the betahaus coworking office space where they met new people and talked about issues that matter with exceptional minds.

Conclusions

Our feedback questionnaire was filled by nine startups. Among them 55.6% are "Extremely satisfied" with their own progress towards their KPIs and 33% responded "Satisfied".

Five out of nine respondents indicated that their coordination and communication with betahausX was "Extremely smooth". Two startups gave a satisfactory grade of 7 out of 10.

On our end, to successfully complete the online phase of the program the team dedicated 45 working hours to each startup; 161 working meetings were set up in total with 16 hours dedicated to seminars. 

Overall, 2021 gave us the satisfaction of serving ten Korean companies, meeting their leaders and teams, and providing them with the tools and knowledge that can advance their businesses in Europe.