​​Seoul to Berlin: Korea's Sports&Health Tech Leap into Europe

In an enlightening conversation with Brian Kim of 'Kim Venturous', we delve into the ambitious journey of Korean sports and health tech startups advancing into Europe via the Global Market Expansion Program (GMEP). Sponsored by KISED and facilitated by betahausX, this initiative not only showcases the potential of Korean innovation but also the roadmap to success in the intricate European business landscape.



Brian Kim, 19 years bridging the gap between East and West

Thank you, Brian, for joining this interview, we're excited to discuss the prospects and challenges for Korean startups in Europe and their involvement in the GMEP program. 

For context, the Global Market Expansion Program (GMEP) is sponsored by KISED, the Korean Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED), and this program in particular is  in partnership with the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation (KSPO).   

The GMEP program is designed and operated by betahausX. Korean Startups seek business partnership and fundraising opportunities in Europe.  

To begin, could you introduce yourself, your company, Kim Venturous, and share insights about the Global Market Expansion Program - Sports and Health, Investment Track (GMEP)?

I'm Brian Kim, the founder of Kim Venturous, an accelerator that has invested in 11 startups. We assist startups in expanding globally, including the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia. My journey began 19 years ago, working alongside the Israeli government.

Brian Kim

I managed the foundation between Korea and Israel, overseeing collaborative R&D projects and startup investments. This experience paved the way for my current accelerator role.

Interesting. What drove the establishment of a GMEP track specifically for sports and health startups from Korea?

Sports is an expansive market in Korea with significant investments. Despite its size, it lacks a clear business model. With digital transformation, the market is changing. Startups are now taking the lead, prompting the Korean government to increase investments in this area.

What unique benefits can startups anticipate from the GMEP program?

Korean startups recognize Europe's advancement in sports tech, especially Germany's prominence in football and renowned sports brands. Many are eager to learn from the European market and ecosystem. That's where GMEP comes into play.

I recall you meeting the 9 participating startups of the GMEP at Seoul Techno Park.
What are the strengths of these GMEP Korean startups?

I was amazed to learn that many GMEP-participating startups are not novices; some have been in the industry for about seven years. They've endured challenges, generated sales, and even expanded to markets like Japan. I see immense potential for them in Europe.

Click on the image to learn moe about each startup

When expanding to a diverse market like Europe, what hurdles do Korean sports and health startups face? How does GMEP equip them to tackle these obstacles?

Expansion is tough. Successful startups often have founders deeply committed to their target markets. They have teams equally devoted to achieving success in foreign territories. The GMEP program, with the expertise from betahaus and its German mentors, ensures that the startups are adequately prepared.

What significant cultural differences have you observed between Korean and European startups, particularly in their approach to sports and health?

Korean founders often dream big. They aim to create vast business empires even when they're in the early stages. Their ambition sometimes overshadows their current capabilities. In contrast, European and US startups tend to be laser-focused on their niche. GMEP offers guidance, ensuring startups prioritise correctly.

Can you share any memorable startup stories?

One standout story involves a startup founder who moved to the UK. He sought a better understanding of the market and believed that full immersion was the key. Such dedication is vital for international success.

How do partners like betahausX and Seoul Technopark enhance the GMEP program?

Both entities bring their strengths. Seoul Techno Park excels in patents and intellectual property, while betahaus is a leading European startup ecosystem Their combined strengths enhance GMEP's value proposition, offering synergies for participating startups.

Looking ahead, where do you envision the Korean sports tech industry globally in the next five years?

Korea's sports tech market is still evolving. With increased investments and rapid technological advancements, I anticipate significant growth. In five years, we could be looking at a completely transformed market where Korean startups are making waves in Europe and beyond.

Any top recommendations for Korean startups considering global expansion?

Think globally, aim high, and always approach challenges differently. These mindsets can guide startups towards success.

What should Korean startups know about fundraising in the EU, especially in terms of regulations and approaching venture capitalists?

Within the context of cross-border investment between the EU and Korea, there currently exists no governmental regulation.

This means that, from a regulatory perspective, Korean startups face no specific hindrances. However, success in the EU market requires more than just the absence of regulatory challenges. Startups must demonstrate exemplary prowess in their technological offerings and products, establish a solid business model, devise a strategic market approach, and present a comprehensive scale-up plan.

Furthermore, it is important to understand the nuances of the European venture capitalist ecosystem. This community is notably selective, often displaying reticence towards unsolicited engagements. Cold calls might not always get a warm reception. For Korean startups eager to secure investment, diligent networking is paramount. So, for startups aiming to make an impression, it's about balance: proactive networking, genuine interactions, and, yes, a friendly attitude at networking events can go a long way.

Lastly, what message would you convey about the significance of global market expansion for Korean startups in the sports and health sector?

Many Korean startups have already proven their resilience. They have innate strengths and, with the right guidance and opportunities, can achieve remarkable growth in Europe and beyond.

An inspiring note to end on. Thank you for your insights, Brian.

About d.quarks and betahausX

Auf diese Fragen müssen alle Unternehmen und Organisationen schnell eine Antwort finden: Wie bleiben wir zukunftsfähig? Wie werden wir nachhaltiger? Mit welchen Geschäftsmodellen sind wir im digitalen Zeitalter genauso erfolgreich wie in der Vergangenheit? Unsere Partnerschaft hilft Antworten zu geben, denn wir verbinden den Zugang und das Wissen von Berlins ältester Startup-Community betahaus mit der Transformationserfahrung im Mittelstand und bei Familienunternehmen von d.quarks.

Mit Haltung gehen wir neue Wege.Wir machen Mut, mit den Veränderungen jetzt anzufangen und befähigen Menschen die Transformation selber durchzuführen.Dafür teilen wir unser Wissen, damit sich unsere Kunden in ihrer eigenen Geschwindigkeit verändern können. Dazu schaffen wir Dialogräume und entwickeln positive besetzte Zukunftsbilder.Wir arbeiten mit anderen kollaborativ, partizipativ und kokreativ zusammen.



Lock-in your calendars! Meet these 9 promising startups at the KoreaTech DemoDay on 8.11 at betahaus.

Register here !

What to Expect:

🔍 An immersive experience with live demos.

💡 Exclusive insights into disruptive technologies.

🗣 Engaging Q&A sessions with pioneering startups.

🤝 Unique networking opportunities with industry leaders

Don’t miss the chance to secure a face-to-face meeting!


For a deeper dive into our program and to get a sneak peek into the profiles of our participating startups, visit: https://www.betahausx.com/korean-startups-berlin