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Global accelerator invites Korean start-ups to Berlin

Apora Ventures, an Amsterdam-based start-up investment firm, is kicking off its operations in Seoul next month with a program inviting global-minded Korean start-ups to immerse their business in the European innovation and technology hotspot of Berlin.

The program, Accelerate Korea-Berlin, will nurture five start-ups younger than 3 years old for a four-month acceleration program starting June 1, including spending three months in the German capital, where they will have opportunities to form partnerships, share know-how and meet venture capitalists, the company said.

All expenses are paid, with support from the state-run Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development.

Apora Ventures’ Korea team at Google Campus Seoul
Apora Ventures’ Korea team at Google Campus Seoul

The company said that while Korean entrepreneurs had been showing their determination to become globally sustainable, they lacked globally experienced mentors to show them the way.

The acceleration program, which is conducted entirely in English, pools together a global network of serial entrepreneurs that Apora has curated since 2009 to give the start-ups with the skills to break into any global market, it added.

“Although Korean entrepreneurship is largely in its earliest stage of globalization, their potential for globalization is now very high,” said Carlo Jacobs, the program director. “As business developers and individuals who are passionate about start-ups, being part of this process is extremely exciting and one could not ask for a better place to be.”

With its strong economy, massive buying power, a global-friendly start-up ecosystem and growing funding for tech ventures, Germany is a good jumpoff for Korean start-ups aiming for Europe or global markets, Jacobs said.

Accelerate Korea-Berlin kicks off in Seoul with a month of learning about the German market and gaining the basic skills to hit the ground running for the three-month immersion program in Berlin.

The accelerator will continue its support for participants after the four-month program, whether they want to keep working in Germany or return to Korea. Program alumni can keep in touch with overseas mentors with follow-up sessions, get additional support and build on the objectives made during the program, the company said.

Applications will be accepted until May 24, and selected start-ups compete in a pitch day to determine the five winning teams. Up to two team members, one of whom must be comfortable with English, can participate in the program. For more information, visit

By Elaine Ramirez (
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Korea Herald daum