Startup Tour

Tech titans yield to thriving startups: South Korea and Japan forge entrepreneurial landscapes
Renowned for its tech powerhouses like Samsung and LG, South Korea is proactively nurturing its developing startup ecosystem. With a burgeoning assemblage of over 30,000 startups now thriving within its borders, South Korea's innovation landscape spans diverse technological domains. This surge in startup activity marks a noticeable shift from the previous dominance of major tech conglomerates. Meanwhile, Japan's economic paradigm is mirroring this trend as it transitions away from its historical dependence on corporate giants. The entrepreneurial landscape is gaining momentum, propelled by a notable decline in risk aversion among investors.

From Karlsruhe to Seoul and Tokyo
During our Startup Tour to South Korea and Japan, we will visit some of the most innovative and successful startups of both countries. We'll get a behind-the-scenes look at how these companies operate and how they have disrupted their respective industries. In addition to visiting startups, we'll also meet with investors, authorities and industry leaders. This is a great opportunity to network and learn from some of the most successful professionals in the startup world. Finally, we'll get to experience the vibrant culture and history of these fascinating countries, from huge cities to natural heritages in Japan and South Korea, to make the Startup Tour a one-of-a-kind experience that combines culture, innovation, and networking.


  • South Korea

    end of March 2024

  • Japan

    beginning of April 2024


Motivated pioneers


Startups to visit


Days abroad


Kilometers to travel

Organized by

the PionierGarage

12 members of PionierGarage, Germany's largest university club focused on entrepreneurship, located at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), are going to visit two of the world's most fascinating and unique countries: South Korea and Japan.

To find out more about our entrepreneurship club at Germany's leading technical university, head over to our homepage or contact us via to become part of the tour as a supporter, partner, sponsor or Startup/VC to be visited. We're looking forward to meeting inspiring people!

Bien Tran

Member of PionierGarage

Balancing tradition and modernity with innovation and redefining industries through technology: This is what South Korea and Japan stand for. This journey is an exploration of inspiration from pioneers who are shaping the future where globalisation and technology are driving boundless progress.

Céline Brunner

Member of PionierGarage

I want to explore the important industrial sectors in both countries and find out their potential for startups. I am especially excited about Korea's digital openess and interested in startups that locally outdo global market leaders.

Chris Kaufmann

Former board member of PionierGarage

Japan and South Korea are known for their large corporations and their industrial and product innovations. Lean manufacturing, Kanban, OLED panels, DRAM and NAND flash memory. What about the innovation capability in startups and scaleups? I would like to find if they are also capable of delivering world-changing innovations in the future.

Friedrich Hasenbein

Board member of PionierGarage

Visiting South Korea and Japan, known for their high innovation rankings, I’m eager to learn from local startups for our projects. These countries also share some challenges similar to Germany, making international comparisons intriguing. Furthermore, we all look forward to immersing ourselves in the culture and way of life in both nations.

Gregory Schenk

Board member of PionierGarage

As a business informatics student and organiser of our student start-up competition, I am particularly looking forward to the Startup Tour. It gives me the opportunity to combine my passion for Japanese culture with my curiosity for innovative startup landscapes. Tanoshimi desu

Jannik Nefferdorf

Former board member of PionierGarage

I'm interested in learning about South Korea's and Japan's startup culture and meeting with successful entrepreneurs and investors. I hope to gain insight into the inner workings of successful startups and to make valuable connections in the industry.

Mustafa Kemal Kula

Board member of PionierGarage

I am really excited to explore the rich cultural heritage of Japan and South Korea. Japan is renowned for having one of the highest average IQ scores worldwide, and I am eager to see how this influences their startup ecosystem. This is an incredible tour organized by PionierGarage for PionierGarage.

Leon Kunz

Board member of PionierGarage

Japan and South Korea stand out as some of the most innovative countries in terms of entrepreneurship and startups. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to immerse myself in the world's most advanced technologies. Additionally, I firmly believe that this experience will enrich my studies in Mechanical Engineering at KIT.

Linus Schilpp

Member of PionierGarage

Japan's rich culture and unique work ethic have always been a source of fascination, and when it comes to South Korea, it's equally intriguing to see how these relatively small nations can produce such innovative companies. I'm hopeful for cross-cultural exchanges and valuable insights into exciting startups to deepen my passion for creative ideas.

Sven Bronner

Board member of PionierGarage

Korea, a tech-powerhouse with Pangyo Techno Valley and Songdo smart city, ranks third in Asian unicorn hubs. I'm interested in seeing how Japanese and Korean startups are competing. Comparing and learning about those ecosystems and their approaches may help us understand their successes but also the current downwards trend in the German startup-ecosystem.

Tobias Carlé

Former board member of PionierGarage

South Korea and Japan are innovative powerhouses with rich histories. I am eager to learn how large corporations in South Korea and Japan develop startup ecosystems and advance innovation and automation despite an aging population, in order to draw valuable conclusions for Germany.

Vincent Fiedler

Former board member of PionierGarage

A few months ago, I was already able to meet some innovative startups from South Korea and Japan at VivaTech in Paris, which is why I am very much looking forward to learning even more about the respective scenes and the rich cultures of these countries.