Seoul, 8 April 2019: The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on April 8 that it will open its second Fintech Lab in Yeouido, the financial center of the city, in July of this year. The city’s second fintech lab will be located within WeWork, a global platform that provides space, community, and services.
The second fintech lab of the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be the first case of a space dedicated to fostering local startups on the global shared workspace platform ‘WeWork’. The city plans to select and support 17 fintech startups on one floor of the location, which will open in July, and plans to expand further through additional funding.
Startups at the second fintech lab will benefit from WeWork’s global network and support for startups. WeWork has locations across 27 countries, 100 cities, 425 locations with over 400,000 members around the world, offering diverse business support programs, including, but not limited to, talent management, investment attraction and business branding.
The Yeouido area was designated as a financial center in 2009 and now is home to 32% of all financial institutions, 40% of investment advisors, and 26% of domestic life insurance companies in the country. The city plans to be develop Yeouido into a core area for future financial innovation, and the establishment of the second fintech lab is part of that plan.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will proceed with the initial selection of startups for the second fintech lab in May. Companies with four or more employees that have attracted 100 million won in investment and recorded 100 million won in annual sales can move into the fintech lab for free for up to two years. The fintech lab will choose outstanding fintech startups after assessing several criteria, including employment, investment and sales. In addition to workspace, the fintech lab will support various programs to help startups attract investment, expand into overseas markets, and network with local and international financial companies.
Meanwhile, 30% of the selected companies that move into the fintech lab will be foreign fintech startups, planning to expand into Asian markets. The city aims at creating a synergy effect by promoting collaboration with startup companies and creating jobs in Korea.
To attract capable foreign fintech companies, Seoul Metropolitan Government will meet with fintech startups with plans to enter Korea in London in early May and provide details on the requirements and benefits of moving into the fintech lab.
The second fintech lab was pursued in part to solve the office space shortage problem, continuously raised since last year. During the conference held for fintech and asset management companies on January 21, fintech companies in attendance pointed out a lack of space at the Mapo Fintech Lab, which opened last year, and Won-soon Park, mayor of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, promised to launch the second fintech lab.
There are 27 companies and pre-entrepreneurs in Mapo Fintech Lab, which was launched by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in April last year, after a 3.7:1 competition rate in the startup selection process. They have achieved notable results, attracting 5.1 billion won in investment and hiring 64 new employees within nine months of launch.
“With the opening of the second fintech lab, Yeouido will become a fintech industry hub based on new financial technologies as well as the existing traditional financial businesses in the area, such as asset management and securities firms,” said In-dong Cho, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We will continue to support the growth of fintech companies by providing more space as well as consulting and various networking programs,” he added.
“We hope that companies at Seoul Metropolitan Government’s fintech lab can succeed with the help of WeWork’s global network community of over 400,000 members in 425 locations across over 100 cities and 27 countries,” said Matthew Shampine, General Manager, Korea at WeWork.