Market Entry to South Korea

A structured, multi-phased approach to exploring and de-risking entry into the South Korean market

The Programme

Rainmaking Expand: South Korea is a market entry programme for startups and SMEs looking to expand and de-risk entry into the South Korean market. We do this by collaboratively working with your company to strategically validate the best method for your business to enter into South Korea and support the execution by connecting and building commercial opportunities.

Companies in the programme will go through three phases, adapted to your specific needs, readiness and schedule. We do this because we understand that market expansion cannot be timeboxed and can vary between each company. In the programme, you and your team will work closely with an Expand Lead—who will guide your overall development and expansion— as well as a Partnerships Lead—who will connect you to our broader network in-market to generate strong business leads and support your expansion with the goal to achieve commercial success.

Applications for this programme are currently open.

Programme Timeline

The programme is cohortless with regular onboarding. We will be accepting companies like yours into the programme every month, allowing for flexible and dynamic approaches to the South Korean market, which is inline with both your company plans and with the opportunities discovered in-market.

Startups and SMEs who join this programme will go through three phases: Go-To-Market Review, Go-To-Market Execution and Post-Programme Support. The time spent in Phase 1 and Phase 2 will depend on your timeline, market readiness and identified opportunities. After connecting with various commercial leads and making progress towards commercial agreements in Phase 2, companies are able to access 18 months of post-programme support in Phase 3.

Phase 1

Go-To-Market Review: De-Risk Your Market Entry

This phase focuses on working with your company to identify a clear understanding of the market potential for your business in South Korea and validate your market entry.



The process for this is tailored for every company as we recognise that no two market entry strategies are the same.

Therefore we will adapt the process to your unique situation while also utilising our proven methodology to:



  • Identify assumptions on the business model
  • (re)Define the customer segments and the value proposition best suited to them
  • Master a clear presentation for South Korea



This phase takes 4 weeks to complete.


Phase 2

Go-To-Market Execution: Validate Commercial Opportunities

This phase focuses on the execution of the Go-To-Market strategy. During this phase, we focus on connecting with key players within South Korea and developing relationships with potential partners.

You can expect us to collaborate and navigate introductions which can lead to commercial outcomes while also:

  • Confirming and executing the expansion strategy
  • Generating high value market counterpart introductions
  • Creating high potential opportunities
  • Achieving concrete commercial engagements

This phase can take 12 weeks to complete.


Phase 3

Post-Programme Support: Commercial Engagement Development

After completing Phase 1 and 2, your company will move into Phase 3 which focuses on post-programme support. Phase 3 consists of regular check-ins and ad-hoc business introductions when we identify new potential leads in relation to your business needs.

In order to maximise your success in South Korea, this post-programme support is tailored to your needs and requirements.

This phase is available for 18 months after the completion of Phase 2.

Selection Process

Application


This programme is cohortless, and has regular onboarding. Applications are open throughout the year, allowing startups and SME’s to apply and join the programme at the timing that best suites you.
If you are interested in joining, or considering market expansion please register your interest below to meet our team and discuss your expansion.

Interview


If your application passes the initial stages, you’ll be invited to an online call for further review. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the programme, and for us to better understand how we might support your expansion goals.

Internal Review


Upon completing the interview, our team internally reviews your company and your expansion plans for Seoul and South Korea.

Agreement Review


Upon a successful selection for the programme, we work with you to decide the best timing for your entry into the market and enter the agreement process review to align expectations and outcomes for the programme.

Why South Korea?

Welcomes International Startups

South Korea welcomes high potential startups like yours through initiatives like the K-startup Grand Challenge and established Free Economic Zones (FEZs).

Global Innovation Hub

South Korea has produced 17 unicorns and has topped the Bloomberg Innovation Index for seven of the nine years that it has been published.

Strong Government Support

The government plays an active role in promoting and nurturing the local startup ecosystem and boasts some of the world’s most generous grant funding programmes for entrepreneurs.

Growing Despite COVID-19

South Korea’s 4% growth rate in 2021 is expected to remain robust through 2022 and 2023. Under the Korean New Deal, the government is investing $133bn to accelerate the transition towards a digital and green economy.

Major Trend & Tech Testbed

Consumer trend-sensitivity and strong purchasing power makes South Korea an ideal market for global brands wanting to test and refine new products and technology, giving rise to the idea that where the “Korean-wave” goes, the rest of the world follows.

Proximity to Key Asian Markets

Located in the centre of Northeast Asia, South Korea acts as a launchpad for accessing 2 billion tech-savvy potential customers.

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For Singaporean Startups & SMEs: Costs Supported by Enterprise Singapore

GIA × Rainmaking Expand: South Korea is a programme supported by Enterprise Singapore as an official partner of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA).

Singapore-based legal entities can benefit from financial support when joining this programme. If selected for the programme, the majority of participation costs will be subsidised by Enterprise Singapore for Singapore-based legal entities. A small, remaining participation fee will be paid by participating companies.

Programme Cost (After Enterprise Singapore’s Subsidy): S$ 8,736 per Company.


Testimonials

BeLive Technology

BeLive joined the South Korea programme in order to accelerate their entry into the market and build key connections in South Korea. Previous outreach had not been as successful, but by working with the Rainmaking Expand team during the programme, they were able to build a strong list of connections as well as engage with key leads which will enable their next steps in the market.

Rainmaking has been crucial to BeLive establishing business relationships with some of the largest technology and retail companies in South Korea. Thomas, Isabelle and Meghan have been incredibly supportive as our advisors as they provided unique insights into the South Korean market and helped us navigate business and cultural blockers. We are deep in discussions with more than half of the business connections that were established with Rainmaking, and would highly recommend the programme to startups at any stage.

— BeLive Technology

Smart Tradzt

Smart Tradzt joined the South Korea programme in order to get a better understanding of the South Korean market and what it will take for Smart Tradzt to succeed. Through the programme, the Rainmaking Expand team was able to hone in on and refine the value proposition and messaging for the South Korean market, and were able to connect Smart Tradzt to the key players within their industry.

The Rainmaking Expand programme has provided us with a better understanding of what it takes to enter the South Korean market. Various approaches were explored to gain access to relevant stakeholders in target client organisations. We were able to determine what worked and what didn’t. Overall the programme laid the foundation in our journey to expand to South Korea.

— Chee Kong Chung, Managing Director, Smart Tradzt

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Applications to this programme are open on a rolling basis. Apply now to start your market expansion journey!

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