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<Sang-hwan Yang, Naver D2SF Leader>

Naver is to arrange a space dedicated to startups in its second office building in Bundang, Gyeonggi-do, where it will move into in the second half of this year. In this dedicated space, Naver and startups will be able to experiment, exchange, and grow together.

Yang Sang-hwan, Naver's D2SF Leader, said on the 8th, "We plan to create a space for Naver and technology startups to grow together in our 2ndoffice building, which will be completed within this year. This space will serve as a test bed for various tech startups and Naver to experiment technologies together and as a foothold for startups to grow.”

Naver vacated the entire floor of its 2nd office building for startups. Walls were demolished in this dedicated space under the concept of 'Collaboratory' to indicate Naver and startups' mutual growth.

Leader Yang said, “In the world’s first robot-friendly building, we will exchange new stimuli with each other and face greater opportunities for growth,” stressing that “Supporting mutual growth through exchange and cooperation rather than one-way is what Naver can do best and what only we can do.”

D2SF, Naver’s startup support organization, was launched in 2015 and celebrated its 6th anniversary this year.
Since its founding, D2SF has invested a total of 40 billion won in 70 startups, becoming the partner for 65% of the investment teams to attract the first investment after the corporate founding.

Leader Yang said, “Even at the initial stage where it is difficult to produce tangible results, we are investing and helping growth by paying attention to technology value and growth potential. Although 80% of the B2B startups take a long time until generating a stable profit, the entire investment teams have recorded the survival rate of 99%, the success rate of attracting follow-up investment at 70%, and the total corporate value at 1.3 trillion won.”

Jun-ho Baek, CEO of Furiosa AI which recently attracted an investment of 80 billion won said, “Naver D2SF was the only investor that empathized with and encouraged our vision in 2017. At the time, we still had not established a corporate despite the nature of semiconductor development requiring a long time and huge investment in manpower. He introduced, “D2SF is a partner that understands the value of technology and the difficulties of tech startups, and having attracted investment from D2SF is like a certification proving that we have been verified by Naver’s outstanding technology experts.”

Leader Yang emphasized that D2SF is not just an investor but is a 'coordinator' that connects Naver's various organizations and startups for enabling tech startups to grow tangibly .According to D2SF's own survey of 818 startups last year, what was the most anticipated toward D2SF was 'Exchange and cooperation with Naver'.

For example, self-driving startup MORAI that attracted investment in D2SF right after its establishment built an autonomous driving simulator using data from Naver Labs, which then applied the advanced autonomous driving system to ALT.

Over the past 6 years, up to about 670 startups have interacted directly or indirectly with each other within Naver through D2SF.

In some cases, exchanges have even led to M&A. Major examples include AI chatbot modeling startup AI acquired by Naver in 2017, Buzz Music acquired by Snow in 2019, and, a startup acquired by Naver Webtoon last year.

CEO Min-woo Park of Crowd works said, “We have secured numerous domestic AI firms as customers based on the reference with Naver, and we have also met a significant number of customers and partners in the D2SF startup community.”
By Staff Reporter Siso Kim (