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Startups

Startup foundation D.CAMP generates $6 bn in economic value

By Jan 29, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

D.CAMP hosts an online media roundtable Jan. 28.
D.CAMP hosts an online media roundtable Jan. 28.

D.CAMP, South Korea's largest non-profit foundation for startups, has generated 6.7 trillion won ($6 billion) in economic value, including 32,523 jobs, over the last three years.

“Since 2018, D.CAMP has injected a total of 188.7 billion, which led to creating over 6 trillion won in economic value,” said Park Nam-gyoo, a professor at the Seoul National University, during an online media roundtable on Jan. 28.

According to Park, a budget of 1 billion won created some 17.24 jobs, based on his survey of 240 startups and institutional investors.

“It’s a very impressive performance in terms of budget efficiency," Park said. “If the budget increases 20% annually for the next 10 years, then we’d be able to create 188,522 jobs by 2030,” he added.

The foundation also generated 33.5 trillion won in promotional value for startups through its demo day, D.Day, where startups pitch to a large crowd, including representatives from venture capital firms. A company with a successful presentation can earn up to 300 million won in startup capital and a one-year residency at D.CAMP.

D.CAMP has held demo days on 80 occasions over the past three years, during which a total of 4,331 startups registered, and 418 companies received the chance to pitch on stage. Major accelerators and VC firms have become regular attendees to scout potential startups.

The foundation has also launched the IF Festival, which showcases startup companies' products to the public, and partnership programs that connect overseas partners with local startups.


At D.CAMP's demo day, startups pitch to large audiences, including VC reps. (Courtesy of D.CAMP)
At D.CAMP's demo day, startups pitch to large audiences, including VC reps. (Courtesy of D.CAMP)


In addition to building an ecosystem for startup companies, D.CAMP is also an active investor, having injected 14.6 billion won ($13 million) into a total of 126 companies as of the end of last year since its inception in 2012.

Prior to 2015, the foundation used external managers to invest around 6.3 billion won in 58 companies. Since then, D.CAMP has directly invested near 8.3 billion won in 68 companies, which reached a combined enterprise value of 1.4 trillion won as of the end of 2020.

Some successful investment cases include laundry service Washswat, which surged by 1,390%; accounting software app operator Korea Credit Data, which soared by 10,150%; online financial product platform Finda, which jumped by 1,977%; and pet healthcare and diagnostics service provider FitPet, which rose by 2,500%.

D.CAMP fosters startups via direct and indirect investments. Around 17 domestic banks, including Woori Bank, Shinhan Bank, and the Korea Housing Finance Corp., have invested a total of 845 billion won into the foundation.

The foundation's primary business model is indirect investment through funds. It operates around 743.2 billion won in assets under management. 


Write to Min-ki Koo at kook@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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