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Marking 10 years, KB accelerator nurtures 255 startups

April 30, 2024 - 16:16 By Park Han-na
KB Financial Group Chairman Yang Jong-hee (fifth from left) and KB Kookmin Bank CEO Lee Jae-keun (third from left) pose during an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the KB Innovation HUB Center on Tuesday. (KB Financial Group)

More than 250 startup companies have joined KB Financial Group’s accelerator program over the past 10 years to scale up businesses into unicorns in the fintech industry.

KB Financial Group held an event on Tuesday marking the 10th anniversary of the KB Innovation HUB Center, the first organization dedicated to fostering and supporting startups in the financial sector.

Since KB Innovation HUB Center’s inception in 2015, the group launched its startup accelerator program, KB Starters, every year to select firms with innovative technology and provide support needed by them to survive.

Through KB Starters, a total of 255 firms have been selected to take part in the program, which offers office space for participating startups as well as consulting services in finance, law and patents.

The group invested 210 billion won ($152 million) into the program and facilitated 312 collaborations between its affiliated companies and startups.

“We will actively cooperate with startups not only in the financial sector, which is KB's strength but also in non-financial and new technology areas so that many global unicorn companies can be born in KB Stars,” KB Financial Group Chairman Yang Jong-hee said.

Some 200 people from the country’s regulator Financial Services Commission, state-run investment institutions, venture capital firms and startups gathered at the event, according to the financial group.

The heads of communication platform Sendbird Korea, artificial intelligence financial data provider AIZEN Global and accommodation booking service provider Tripbtoz shared their stories on the experience of developing business plans with KB Financial during the event.

In the following session, officials from government investment institutions, venture capital firms and KB Investment had mentoring time for startups on financial consulting, corporate fund management and government-supported projects. KB Kookmin Bank, KB Securities, KB Insurance, and KB Kookmin Card officials also joined the networking session.

"KB Financial is actively supporting startups, promoting cooperation with startups in various fields, and practicing world-changing finance," a KB Financial official said. "We will continue to discover business models that can coexist with startups in the future.