Google, on an international mission to rapidly connect with the global startup community, has recently announced that it will open a startup campus in Seoul, Korea next year. This comes at a time when Korean entrepreneurs are beginning to show that they have what it takes to make an impact, as exemplified by a statement from Google’s Bridgette Beam: “Korean innovators and entrepreneurs are some of the best in Asia, and Korean startups are making headlines around the world, especially in the mobile space. We want to support this booming community of entrepreneurs.”
Google will open a new space for entrepreneurs in Seoul, the company announced today. Called a Campus, it will include co-working spaces, programs like Campus for Moms,CampusEDU, and office hours with Google employees. The Seoul location is Google’s first Campus in Asia. Google has opened similar spaces in Tel Aviv and London, and also plans new Campuses in Warsaw and Sao Paulo. The London location was profiled by TechCrunch in December 2013, 20 months after it opened. As Mike Butcher pointed out, Google Campuses are high profile marketing for the company (when it opened, Google was under pressure by the UK government to drive tech entrepreneurship), but the one in London appears to be a success so far. By its second year it had 22,000 members and has “done a lot to act as a locus for startups in London,” Butcher wrote. Though Seoul’s startup ecosystem is growing, with accelerators like SparkLabs and KStartup, it’s startup scene is still very young. Like other nascent ecosystems, entrepreneurs have to deal with a lack of mentorship and funding and exit opportunities, so hopefully Google’s Seoul Campus will help provide them with more opportunities.