Korean Startups to Bring Fresh Ideas to TechCrunch Disrupt

A host of startups from South Korea will be joining us at the upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco next week. Presented by NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency), this pavilion of startups comes from vastly different industries. They range from a couples’ app to an indoor exercise bike that is able to suggest customized exercise programs to a tool that helps find which of a competitor’s patents are invalid. These startups represent the burgeoning startup community in South Korea, a country that industrialized in a span of a generation to become one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.

Between, the first of the aforementioned startups, is an app for couples to chat, interact, schedule dates, store photos, and share content with each other in a private space. Between has been downloaded by over 8 million users in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, and Southeast Asia, who have cumulatively sent over 16 billion messages.

RX Cycle was created by ConsiderC, whose goal is to make exercise more effective and personalized. It is paired with an app that tracks and analyzes riding patterns and is able to create customized exercise programs for users.

Founded by one of the patent lawyers involved in the Apple vs. Samsung litigations, PatentKO was designed to stop patent wars. It is a tool with which a company can use to find out which of its competitors patents are invalid. With intellectual property theft becoming increasingly common, PatentKO intends to introduce efficiency to this process, while at the same time combatting patent trolls.

Here are the other startups that will be showcasing at the pavilion.

  • Cloudike provides customized cloud storage solutions for OEMs, mobile, and internet service providers under their respective brands.
  • ToGoBox aims to add a layer of security to consumers that use cloud services, and is able to automatically encrypt and secure files.
  • BridgeMobile is a mVoIP, or mobile voice over IP service. It allows users to make phone calls free of charge without having to choose which phone service they want to use. Once it is set up, users can make calls like normal and BridgeCall will automatically choose to place a free call over mVoIP.
  • Qaster is a search engine of all questions and answers that have appeared on Twitter.
  • Quryon is a real-time search and analysis of product reviews, and is able to transform a large volume of text into meaningful information.

PatentKO and Quryon are currently in stealth and not open to the public.

The rising interest in startups in Korea is evidenced by the fact that the startups showcased in this year’s pavilion have all raised funding, which was not true of the companies in the years prior. It has become impossible to ignore the growing presence of startups in Korea. Kakao, a startup founded in 2006, acquired Daum, a popular web portal, in May, and Rocketpun.ch recently partnered with CrunchBase to consolidate data and showcase Korean startups.

Startup sectors that have recently piqued interest include cryptocurrency and the Internet of Things, and there has been increasing interest both on the domestic front and overseas on the part of investors looking to fund the next big idea in Korea.

Image by Tri Nguyen/Flickr

  • Originally published September 4, 2014, updated April 26, 2023