POSCO launched CHANGeUP GROUND Seoul in Gangnam-gu last year. After a year, POSCO opened another CHANGeUP GROUND in Pohang in July this year. There are more than 100 companies that are preparing to move into ‘CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang’, and they also dream of becoming unicorn companies that are comparable to Silicon Valley in the United States. The business areas span a wide range of fields. It includes machinery • materials, electrical • electronic • semiconductors, information and communication • software, bio • medical, and chemical • energy • resources. It has a solid technology that is good enough to be responsible for the technological boundary between Korea and the world. Now let’s get to know the details of CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang, the beginning for Another Pacific Valley.
l Take a look at CHANGeUP GROUND with a total area of 28,000 square meters
CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang boasts a scale of seven floors above ground and one basement floor with a total area of 28,000 square meters. It offers startup companies programs that are different from existing startup programs such as research support, investment promotion, and more. It is different in size and facilities from the incubating centers for startups so far. In particular, CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang is operated on different themes and subjects on each floor.
l CHANGeUP GROUND, the background of choosing Pohang as a base
Given its global competitiveness first, POSCO has come to the conclusion that the location is not that important whether it is in the metropolitan area or in Pohang. POSTECH is a strong supporter of CHANGeUP GROUND in AI research that requires novel materials, new drugs, and huge data centers.
In addition, POSTECH’s accumulated research results in science and technology can be important advisors and partners in solving technical problems for tenants of CHANGeUP GROUND.
After all, it is important how much higher the thinking and technology can be connected, and it is important to go one step further and have the infrastructure that can actually be implemented. Through these concerns, it has been concluded that it is optimal to set up a base for CHANGeUP GROUND in Pohang, where POSTECH is located. Pohang is a place that can be a cluster for startups as various infrastructures are already prepared for venture incubating.
The global growth of startup companies can be seen that they are responsible for the future of the country and region around the world. As Korea’s economic and cultural concentration is gradually deepening in the center of Seoul and the metropolitan area, if the connection between Pohang and Seoul is established and the foundation of the link to become a global company is laid, it will also be able to drive a new corporate growth model for Korea, not only fostering successful unicorn companies.
The reason why the CHANGeUP GROUND is taking on a global challenge under the slogan of ‘Another Pacific Valley’ is also the strong commitment to succeed by widening the gap with other regions by building a new business valley that can compete with the Silicon Valley of the United States.
l Leap into a global venture, Startup Support Program
CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang has various programs for tenant companies to become global ventures. The ‘Startup Support Program’, a venture company support program of CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang, consists of various support programs for these companies to make a substantial leap in four themes: Business Incubation, Market Support, Investment Connection, and Network.
l Efforts to create POSCO venture platform and venture ecosystem
POSCO created a startup ecosystem by utilizing POSCO’s industry-academic infrastructure in the promising field with active venture investment and created a win-win future industrial domain by sensing future promising industries and supporting excellent ventures for new business candidates through venture fund operation. The key is a Venture Valley, a startup ecosystem, and a venture fund for matching and supporting capital, which is promoting growth as a sustainable platform through continuous management and relationships, and discovery and support for subsequent ventures.
Venture Valley aims to produce 100 POSTECH startups and two unicorn companies every year by 2030. It is expected that it will not only discover outstanding talents and research results and link them to startups, but also contribute to revitalizing the local economy by laying the foundation for discovering new growth engines. To this end, it is creating an environment where a new industry-academic cooperation system establishment, the opening of CHANGeUP GROUND, the establishment of the world’s best startup infrastructure, and POSCO’s Idea Market Place can cooperate in a virtuous circle system.
In addition to the creation of a Venture Valley, POSCO is making efforts to find venture companies in the promising field and POSCO’s new growth strategy field through investment in venture funds. POSCO plans to operate the venture fund so that it can invest in the full-cycle of venture companies, from seed-stage startups to listed companies, secure profitability and minimize the risk of investment loss by utilizing excellent domestic and foreign operators, and reinvest the recovered funds to keep venture funds running in the long term.
In 2019, POSCO signed an MOU between POSCO – the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and Venture Business – Korean Venture Capital Association to create a cooperative foundation for the creation of venture funds. Since then, it has formed both seed/growth funds that invest in the promising field and strategy/CVC funds that invest intensively in the company’s new growth strategy fields, completing the basic framework of full-cycle investment. POSCO formed a fund worth more than 650 billion won with the approval of 225 billion won in nine funds operated by excellent domestic and foreign management companies, and has invested over 550 billion won in more than 330 domestic and foreign venture companies. POSCO plans to continue to invest in funds every year to expand its pool of excellent investment companies and contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the group in major promotion projects and creating new growth engines through Value-up activities.
CHANGeUP GROUND, a cradle where startup companies can grow into global companies, will continue to open the doors to much more prospective tenants. Also, it will continue to cooperate and support the companies even after they grow enough to graduate from the startup stage so that they can keep challenging the world through this space. We ask for your interest and anticipation for CHANGeUP GROUND Pohang, the beginning of our dream of creating ‘Another Pacific Valley’ on the west coast, along with Silicon Valley on the east coast of the Pacific Ocean.