Kakao, South Korea govt form $27M startup fund

The fund, jointly created by KakaoTalk's developer and South Korea's Small and Medium Business Administration, aims to support the country's rapid growth of startups in the ICT sector especially in mobile technology and apps.

The developer of South Korean chat platform KakaoTalk has collaborated with its country's government to support startups with a 30 billion won (US$27 million) fund.

The "Kakao Young Entrepreneur Fund", worth US$27 million, aims to support startups especially in mobile technology and apps.

According to ET News on Monday, the country's Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) and Kakao signed an agreement to create the "Kakao Young Entrepreneur Fund". This is the first time a technology company has paired up with the government to create such an initiative.

The fund, set to be launched in May and includes a 10 billion won (US$9 million) contribution from Kakao, supports the rapidly increasing number of young companies working with mobile technology, apps and the ICT industry in general.

Specifically, founders aged under 40 years old with less than three years of experience, and companies with more than half their workforce aged under 30 years old are the targets.

Seok-woo Lee, Kakao president said, in the report the new venture is "different [from] existing funds which only invest" because the fund's investors will also share entrepreneur experience and guide the targets.

The move by Kakao and SMBA is line with South korea's new administration, headed by then president-elect Park Geun-hye, who in February, unveiled plans to foster technology startups and help them secure funds through angel capitalists , to revitalize the South Korean economy and create more jobs.

Just earlier this month, Kakao introduced a new mobile content platform to allow users to download and upload content, moving beyond its mobile messaging business to generate revenue.