On April 25, a signing ceremony was held between KAIST and venture capital firm Company K Partners to establish the development of a fund to support startups within the university. Through this agreement, starting from this year, Company K Partners will donate a total of 100 million KRW to Startup KAIST’s End Run project throughout the next two years.
The End Run project aspires to support KAIST members with brilliant startup ideas or innovative technologies in order to help them successfully commercialize their products within a short period of time. The project’s name originates from the play in American football in which a player attempts to score by running straight into the opposing defensive line while evading defenders.
Promising professors and students who participate in this project receive the necessary tools and knowledge to start and manage a successful startup. The project provides participants with various legal advice, assistance with attracting investors, and aid with regard to networking and marketing.
Founded in 2006, Company K Partners is a venture capital company that invests in a variety of fields, ranging from software to healthcare. It currently operates a cumulative fund of about 400 million KRW. The company has placed its focus on KAIST to help not only through the development fund, but also by providing support as a mentor and by transferring its expertise as a venture investment company.
Hak-beom Kim, CEO of Company K Partners, stated, “It is time for KAIST members, the most talented in the field of science and technology in Korea, to vitalize the national economy through startups,” and that “With this arrangement, Company K Partners will continue to play an active and comprehensive role as a sponsor, not only through economic support, but also through the incubation of startup teams.”
The signing ceremony took place on the main KAIST campus. Several vice presidents from Company K Partners accompanied CEO Kim to the event. Representing KAIST, President Sung-Chul Shin, Vice President O Ok Park, Vice President of Research Heekyung Park, and Startup Director Byoung Yoon Kim were among the attendees of the event.
President Shin said, “KAIST is leading the domestic startup culture by producing around 1,500 venture startup companies, including Naver and Nexon.” He added, “We will carefully use the funds from Company K Partners to develop the most advanced startup support model in Korea.”