It’s hard to find the good wording for FuturePlay, as its founder Jung-Hee Ryu says it’s not an accelerator per se, and the entities they take care of are not “startups” but “techups“, to stress the strong technology DNA of the ventures he supports in their growth.
So no e-commerce or photo-sharing app here, but rather amazing technologies developed in part by engineers from KAIST, Korea’s MIT, and their Korean or US partners.
Jung-Hee himself is a KAIST PhD and entrepreneur, as he sold a previous startup in face-recognition to Intel.
From tech founders to global entrepreneurs
His bet with FuturePlay is to empower hardware companies, traditionally strong in Korea as well as Taiwan and Japan, and turn them into global players. A key support he provides is patent and IP services.
So far, 39 of these techups have benefited from the support of his team, made out of 5 partners and 11 specialists in IP, design, hardware and more.
The methodologies they use help technologists to create actual business, which answers needs. To do so, FuturePlay help them to refine the technology and make it a useful product.
For instance Awair, a sensor and app of the air quality, was originally a body sensor, but after several rounds of study with doctors, the team found out it would be better as a standalone product and a dedicated app. Today, they work closely with the Mayo Clinic to help their staff get data on the quality of air in the rooms.
“Manufacturing is not an issue, we focus on the business side. Iterations of the product itself happen every week or so, and after a year of support, those companies reach a stage where they can raise more fund and go to market”, he says.
A look at FuturePlay’s portfolio
- Qeexo allows for touch screens to recognise different types of touches, like knuckle touch, it can be used for a greater variety of interaction with the phone
- Looxid Labs uses a headset to both track the eye movement and the brainwaves to analyse what level of focus or concentration the user exerts. Potential usage in education, or re-education
- Melephant is a video sharing and streaming platform which compresses the video file to make it faster to download or use. It can also create a cloud of videos around a given event such as a concert
- Vuno uses Artificial Intelligence to help doctors better read the X-ray scans and other materials from scan in hospitals
- Huinno can analyse blood pressure through optics, when it usually required heavier material
- Alleys Wonderlab offers a video-based navigation map which can prove useful for delivery or tourists
- Qlip is a fintech startup which analyses your spending data to notify whenever you do spend less or more on given items.
We’ll be visiting again FuturePlay during our learning tour in Seoul later this year in November. Feel free to ask us details and join us!