In this episode, we will introduce the Challenge With POSCO brand.
Challenge With POSCO brand was created to revitalize venture ecosystem and foster new growth industries. The department in charge operates a nurturing system that creates a startup infrastructure that enables venture businesses to conduct business and research at the same time and helps startups grow smoothly. Based on these efforts, creating the foundation for POSCO Group’s new growth businesses, creating jobs, and enhancing economic vitality is the future that the Challenge With POSCO brand is going to create.
POSCO is pushing for various projects to realize the vision of the Challenge With POSCO brand. It is also striving to find future growth engines for POSCO Group by investing in venture funds and matching businesses between POSCO Group and POSCO venture companies. Let’s take a closer look at the brand’s core businesses and the newly launched programs in 2021 one by one.
l Venture Business Incubation Center
POSCO supports startup spaces by creating incubation spaces for venture businesses, including the CHANGeUP GROUND SEOUL, a public–private partnership incubation center (Ministry of SMEs and Startups).
The CHANGeUP GROUND SEOUL made up of seven stories above the ground and one basement floor is different in size from the existing venture startup space launched in Korea. In the meantime, many companies and universities in Korea have operated nurturing and support programs such as venture startup support programs, space provision, and investment but CHANGeUP GROUND is entirely different in scale and research support and investment nurturing programs show a different evolution in scale and systematic aspect.
What makes POSCO’s venture incubation center ‘CHANGeUP GROUND’ special? First of all, venture businesses that have moved in aim to be listed on the global stock market, including the United States. This strategy was established to set a business direction with the goal of targeting the global market from the beginning and decided to have global competitiveness by fiercely challenging businesses and Research & Development. From platform companies to bio ventures, the business situation is getting fiercer. The business model of global companies has changed to an open growth model through venture investment and symbiosis, and it has become difficult to survive with romantic and slow-paced models such as starting a business in a garage. POSCO supports companies to succeed in challenges in these difficult situations and has three systematic support systems for venture companies. Let’s take a closer look at what kind of system POSCO has built.
① Selecting supplier from ESG perspective
The first among them is Research & Development and business space. It enables the utilization of technological infrastructures that are difficult to find in other venture incubation infrastructures. Using the infrastructure of POSTECH, a world-class research-oriented university, including the 3rd and 4th generation of radiation accelerator owned by POSTECH, new materials are developed and big data is processed. It has helped to overcome the reality that existing startup companies like artificial intelligence platforms had the only choice of challenging limited modules.
② Financial links
The reason why existing startups could not dream of challenging the global market was that it was difficult to secure funds. POSCO has established investment-related conditions and raised venture funds with a total of 800 billion won to ensure that venture businesses are not restricted in terms of research size with insufficient energy and funds needed to attract investment. It plans to invest 400 billion won in promising fields and another 400 billion won in new growth domains by utilizing excellent domestic and foreign operators.
③ Business Network support
Including POSCO CHANGeUP GROUND SEOUL which opened in 2020, it is currently forming a CHANGeUP GROUND network regardless of location. It has also formed a business network with startup networks secured through Idea Market Place (IMP) and global companies in Korea and abroad so that there is no problem with global cooperation if only technology and business models are in place. Such infrastructure will be of great help not only to venture businesses but also to open collaboration and global expansion of POSCO Group’s various businesses.
In addition, POSCO has been providing technical support and expanding the business scale by directly participating in various projects promoted by venture companies, as well as a venture business nurturing platform and idea discovery since 2021. The challenge of Challenge With POSCO continues until the day when it succeeds by widening the gap with the startup craze in China and other regions!
l Industry-Academic-Research cooperation eco-friendly energy projects to foster venture business and contribute to carbon neutrality
POSCO, POSCO Chemical, and POSTECH are proceeding with eco-friendly solar energy production projects with Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, an energy platform startup ‘H Energy’, and battery ESS business startup ‘PMGROW’ and it is a project of industry-academic-research cooperation.
This project is a business that installs solar energy modules on the rooftops of private buildings of residents in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province and sells eco-friendly energy produced from the modules.
Once the project is on track, POSCO will be able to reliably purchase solar energy needed to achieve carbon neutrality. POSCO’s Global Quality & Service Management Office supports research on weight lightening of energy modules using Giga steel, high tensile steel, and high corrosion-resistant steel and is also pushing to supply “Posmac.”
Gyeongsangbuk-do Province plans to provide low-priced electricity to vulnerable groups in the region by utilizing a portion of the generated energy revenue. The plan is to contribute to revitalizing the local economy, creating jobs, and welfare for low-income groups and the data generated from power platforms will be processed worthily by POSTECH’s AI analysis and used to build the data ecosystem of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province.
l Development of battery standard model for eco-friendly small and medium-sized electric vehicles
The next business to introduce is cooperation in lightening battery packs for eco-friendly electric buses and automobiles. This business is in partnership with PMGROW, an electric vehicle service platform startup. It is pushing to replace low-priced steel plates or aluminum-based electric vehicle battery cases with high-quality steel materials. In particular, it is planning to propose the shape and steel of optimal battery pack case in line with the battery pack performance enhancement bill that is to be revised from July 2021.
With the technical cooperation between the two companies, PMGROW expects to extend the usage time and lighten the weight by increasing battery capacity and reducing the cost compared to Al. The first goal is to apply in new electric buses that will be released in the first half of 2022. In particular, the completion ceremony of the PMGROW’s mass production plant was held in the next-generation battery regulation-free zone located in Pohang, and it signed an NDA with POSCO for the development of lightweight battery packs under the supervision of the Automotive Materials Marketing Office. It is also planning to develop batteries that will be used for electric vehicles, electric bikes, and small electric vehicles in the long term.
PMGROW also participated as an angel investor in POSCO Capital and if its corporate value increases by continuously strengthening its competitiveness, it can contribute to POSCO’s profit generation.
We took a look at new programs that POSCO is launching with the goal of Challenge With POSCO. I am so excited that there are a lot of interesting programs and I am looking forward to it. Until the day when the startups fostered and supported by POSCO become decacorn companies beyond unicorn companies, POSCO’s challenge will continue in 2021!
A brand created to revitalize the venture ecosystem and foster new growth industries, Challenge With POSCO! POSCO will continue to carry out activities that create a foundation for new growth businesses, create jobs, and enhance economic vitality.