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ICT Ministry to commit W16b to digital media startups

A nightscape of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Courtesy of Dongdaemun Design Plaza)
A nightscape of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (Courtesy of Dongdaemun Design Plaza)
The Ministry of Science and ICT said Friday it plans to commit 16 billion won ($14.7 million) to Seoul-based venture capital house K & Investment Partners as part of the government-led initiative to foster the domestic digital media ecosystem.

The commitment from its fund-of-funds, managed by Korea Venture Investment Corp., will be used to create a 26 billion-won fund by March next year. K & has been selected as the ICT Ministry’s only external partner to manage the fund out of 10 bidders.

The fund will mainly invest in startups dedicated to over-the-top media services or video content creators. The fund’s life span will be at least seven years, with the ICT Ministry investing for four years. The remaining 10 billion-won commitment will come from private sector investors.

The government said that at least 60 percent of the fund‘s dry powder will go to “small and medium-sized enterprises and startups devoted to broadcasting services, online video streaming services and one-person media content,” while another 20 percent will go to content integrated with technologies associated with 5G, artificial intelligence, information and communications.

The news comes as the ICT Ministry rolled out an initiative in June to strengthen the domestic digital media industry’s competitive edge over rivals in the global stage through deregulation and state funding.

“The digital media industry will promise SMEs and startups a chance to create a new business model and to make inroads into foreign markets,” Song Jae-sung, head of broadcasting promotion policy bureau at the ICT Ministry, said in a statement.

Founded in 2015, K & has managed 173 billion won worth of assets, comprising 13 venture capital funds and one private equity fund.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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