As Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin executives arrived in South Korea Wednesday as part of a trade mission, the names of the 10 South Korean companies that will be participating in an entrepreneurship accelerator at the Midwest Energy Research Consortium this fall were revealed.
[caption id="attachment_322586" align="alignright" width="458"] David Jaewon Choi from Greenpoint Asset Management, Seung Hun Lee from DGIST, and Kim Sang Kyu from DGIST meet to discuss the Wisconsin accelerator program at a Starbucks in South Korea.[/caption]
Walker on Thursday will meet with representatives of most of the participating companies, several of which have plans to set up U.S. operations and may partner to create joint go-to-market strategies with Wisconsin companies in the delegation, said Teresa Esser, managing director of Silicon Pastures Angel Investment Network.
Those companies and their key leaders are:
Livicon, Youngjae Jeon. Makes a thin film that can be attached to window or appliance glass and turned opaque or clear at the touch of a button.
Moim Soft, Byunggu Choi and Chanshik Kim. Manufactures hair and skin analysis device and linked smartphone app that cosmetics sales clerks can use to advise consumers on products.
Endovision, Minho Jung. Creates medical devices such as specialized plasma probes and spinal scopes used by spine and orthopaedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, and urologists and gynecologists.
Jinsung Industrial, Minjung KO. Manufactures cable ties that construction companies use to hold air ventilation ducts in place.
Crespirit, Andrea Kwon and Judy Jeon. Developed customizable Internet of Things module to monitor factory equipment and fleets by attaching sensors.
Haebora, Dusik Shin. Makes noise-canceling earsets under the name Ripple Buds.
Lab by Lab, Hyukjin Choi, Myunghyun Kim, Sanha Kim, Jongsu Kim and Hyejin Kim. Created software platform to encourage collaboration between universities and research labs.
Jinjoo Soft, Lewis Lee, Eugene Chin, Jay Yoo and Hyunjin Cho. Developed web application and web-based logbook for hotels.
GIB Korea, Jeongheon Oh. Manufactures thermal camera and analysis algorithm to detect slag in the steel manufacturing process. The system is used by POSCO.
FountAI, Youngbin Kim and Dongwon Joo. Uses algorithms based on natural language processing to develop artificial intelligence consulting and chatbot services for businesses. The company has a research and development partnership with Professor Minsu Kim of DGIST.
Esser has formed a partnership on behalf of MWERC with South Korean university Daegu Gyoungbok Institute of Science and Technology and Madison-based Greenpoint Asset Management to create the four-week business accelerator exchange. Greenpoint is run by Michael and Patrick Hull, who previously managed the Wisconsin Funeral Trust, which went into receivership in 2012.
One goal of the program is to encourage investment from angel investors such as Silicon Pastures or venture capital firms such as Greenpoint. POSCO, a South Korean steel company, could also be an investor through its venture capital arm.
And the participating companies are looking closely at expanding into the U.S., potentially to Milwaukee. DGIST has a family of spinoff companies seeking a path to expand into the U.S. Participating companies also could find new channel distribution partners; develop a joint go-to-market strategy with a Wisconsin company; or source Wisconsin-made products to resell in Korea.
In addition to the accelerator companies, Walker will meet with leading South Korean biotechnology firm Orient Bio and Wauwatosa-based pharmacogenomic testing platform developer RPRD Diagnostics to discuss potential collaboration between the companies. Walker also will meet with Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon; Kim Hyun-chon, South Korea minister for trade; and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon to discuss political and economic conditions and potential partnerships between Wisconsin and South Korea. And he will lead two “Opportunity in Wisconsin” events for business leaders interested in establishing or expanding U.S. operations.
“Our visit to South Korea will help raise awareness about Wisconsin as a destination for foreign direct investment,” Walker said in a statement. “We will meet with political leaders, industry associations, and business leaders to discuss opportunities for Korean businesses in Wisconsin and ways that Wisconsin businesses can partner with Korean companies.”
There are 22 members on the eight-day trade mission, which first stopped in Japan. Eight Wisconsin companies have sent 13 executives, who will meet one-on-one with potential business partners. The Wisconsin companies being represented, aside from RPRD, are: