South Korean Startups Need to Take Advantage of Free Data Sets

Data is Everywhere

South Korean Startups in the big data space need to understand that data is everywhere.  The question is not where the data is but rather who owns that data.  Blockchain as a technology tool has the ability to take away some of the issues in terms of who owns the data.  Which can be a very controversial component.  Something like agriculture and traceability, maybe farmers are concerned that Monsanto is going to own it or John Deer is going to own it or some other input company will own it.  So it is important to put it on the blockchain and know that it has public custody.   That information offers a lot more transparency into the system.

Creating Value with Big Data

If startups are going to start collecting a lot of information and put it into a database.  They will also need to write some tools and algorithms to ultimately create value.  It is important to be selling into a growing and profitable market and industry.  Therefore we’ve had some challenges with some of the startups we’ve worked with.  They had some really great big data solutions but for brick and mortar retail.  Therefore they were not struggling to maintain market shares.  Like any business, just because you can start counting it more effectively and efficiently.  Then ultimately provide insights, you definitely need to be doing it in an industry that is growing.  Because you need to find a willing customer base to pay for those sorts of things.

We are seeing a major demand for transparency and traceability for consumers.  So South Korean Startups should really want to know what it is Koreans are buying.  Where it is from.  What they are putting in their bodies.  We really expect that to continue and grow for a number of years and we are very interested in making investments across that sector.

Take Advantage of Free Datasets

There are a lot of really smart entrepreneurs that see that governments and other organizations actually freely give away some very valuable data that if they can start to build on top of that, they can build really powerful and effective businesses.  One investment that we have is in a company called Benson Hill which is taking a publically available genetic data about plants that are all different types of standards and what they are really doing is putting it into one standard, into one database that they can look at and are reselling this to a whole bunch of different customers.  So they didn’t need to go out and collect something that wasn’t available.  Most of this is publically available in the genome project which was primarily government funded but they were clever and smart enough to actually start organizing it and scrubbing it and putting it into a centralized database to build a product.  So I think there will be a major trend with entrepreneurs around the world taking advantage of free datasets that already exist and building applications on top of that.

Kyle Welborn
Kyle Welborn

Kyle is a co-founder and Partner at Cultivation Capital. He leads the operations team of nine staff members which manages three venture funds and three accelerator programs. Last year they oversaw 53 transactions and $13.1M in investments. He also serves on the board of Label Insight, and is a Venture Partner at the Yield Lab AgTech Accelerator.

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