By Kim Boram
SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) — American tech giant Google has invested a total of 118 billion won (US$87.9 million) to incubate nearly 500 South Korean startups and help them expand overseas, an official of the company said Thursday.
The ChangGoo Program, launched in 2019 in collaboration with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, is designed to identify promising young developers and fledgling businesses and aid them in becoming profitable companies through Google’s IT infrastructure and global network.
The program includes various educational workshops and conferences, mentoring activities and networking events.
Kay Shin, senior director of marketing, APAC platforms & ecosystems, said the program is unique to South Korea as Google has recognized Korean developers for their ambition and capability, citing the example of Korean developer Sohn Ho-yeol, who won the 2023 edition of Google’s data science and technology competition, Kaggle.
“There are many successful startups from our incubation program,” she said during a press event. “We’ve poured more than 118 billion won into the ChangGoo Program since its launch to support those young companies.”
She said Google has invited 80 potential startups annually to its program since its launch in 2019, and the number was increased to 100 for this year. Nearly 500 companies have participated in the program over the cited period.
Participants in the ChangGoo Program have seen downloads of their applications soar 140 percent and revenues 62 percent from 2019-2021. About 69 percent of them also do their business outside Korea, she added.
“Our primary goal is to serve as a bridgehead for helping Korean developers go abroad,” the Google official said. “This year, we will join forces with Japan’s Google for Startups program and let Korean developers meet with Japanese experts before starting their businesses in the neighboring country.”
Google for Startups is the tech giant’s startup incubation program at the global level.
At the press event, the three best-performing startups from the ChangGoo program — Petpeotalk, Medility and Zackdang Company — also presented and promoted themselves.
This image provided by Google Korea shows the logo of the ChangGoo Program, Google's startup incubation program. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)