Lotte Ventures has since its 2016 inception become one of Korea’s most active and accomplished accelerators under the previous name Lotte Accelerator. For over 6 years, Lotte Ventures has been finding, funding, and supporting innovative startups to help make their products known. They provide in-house venture capital, a nexus between startups and corporates, and L-Camp (six-month accelerator program). Lotte Ventures is a Corporate Accelerator of Lotte Group. Investing in Seed stage startups. They have been supporting and investing in over 200 startups in Korea and overseas.

Korea’s 170 accelerators/incubators make it one of the startup ecosystem’s most competitive.

“What makes Lotte Accelerator a cut above the rest, is no other Korean startup investor has as comprehensive program as ours”, is how Jong Hoon Lee, the Head of Investment, puts it.

Korea’s Top Accelerator

Korean StartupsLotte’s vision of becoming Korea’s top accelerator ultimately led to Jong Hoon Lee leaving a distinguished academic and venture capital career.

“Lotte group was setting up its first startup fund and there was not enough internal manpower, so I thought my background could play a contributing factor in developing Lotte’s in-house venture capital”.

Its $90 million “war chest”, indeed, gives it leeway to invest in numerous promising startups. In addition, L-Camp graduates like WeCook (Korea’s first shared kitchen service) received $1.5 million in funding, and “Tutoring”, Korea’s most globally-renown educational app also received sizable funding.

What is more, no other Korean or for that matter few global accelerators do later-stage funding like Lotte. Therefore, the Korean startup community’s prevailing opinion that Korea’s lack of follow-on funding inhibits growth is a weakness that Lotte Ventures addresses. Furthermore, Lotte Ventures believes mentoring and networking alone cannot facilitate a startup’s success. Therefore funding is the linchpin for an optimal outcome—without follow-on funding, “how can our graduates grow and expand their startups without sufficient funding”.

Lotte Ventures operates five funds that are worth 100 billion won and is looking to add two or more funds in the future.

Lotte Ventures Invests in Simple Project

Another shared kitchen startup Simple Project has gotten a $1.3 million investment from Lotte Ventures. Numbers have shown that many Koreans are starting to use food delivery services more often. In addition, due to COVID-19, food deliveries have gone up and fewer people are going out to restaurants. Simple Project was the first to move into the shared kitchen market in Korea. Their shared kitchen service offers cooking facilities and space for anyone who wants to start a food business in Korea. It requires far less investment than opening up their own restaurant, especially in Seoul.

Lotte Chemical Creates Funds to Support Startups

Lotte Chemical has cooperated with Lotte Ventures and Lotte Precision Chemical to create an $11 million fund for startups that specialize in either environmental technology or bio-healthcare. The fund will allow Lotte Chemical to invest in startups with innovative technology that are related to goals set out in “Green Promise 2030”. There was an earlier fund for $4.5 million back in December of 2019 which focused on startups that specialized in new chemical materials and environmental technology.

However, the bigger news comes in the form of a $40 million fund dedicated to tackling environmental, social, and governance issues. This massive fund will be a part of the ESG fund over the course of 4 years. It will be managed by Lotte Ventures.

A Nexus Between Startups and Corporates

Lotte Accelerator Office SpaceLotte’s nexus between startups and corporates seems to be difficult to replicate. Therefore, a common complaint among Korean startups participating in accelerator programs is their lack of a conglomerate network. One of Lotte’s main missions is linking startups with its numerous subsidiaries through open innovation. Jong Hoon Lee describes Lotte’s mission in the following way:

“By growing startups and adding innovation to Lotte group we are creating a symbiotic relationship where startups bring innovative know-how and Lotte Accelerator mentors and connect them with our numerous subsidiaries”.

L-Camp – Accelerator Program in Korea


L-Camp is a 6-month accelerator program to help startups in need of subsequent investments. Lotte Accelerator is able to leverage its affiliates to measure the marketability of the startups through collaborations. This enables more investments and business cooperation for startups in the program. In the past 6 years, over 4,000 startup companies have applied to take part in the program. Only 130+ were selected which means it has a 30 to 1 acceptance ratio.

History shows that startups in L-Camp increased in value by over 90%. In addition, the number of employees increased by over 85%, and follow-up investment increased by over 60%. Furthermore, the program offers expert mentoring, networking with key industry leaders, help with HR and marketing, and other services to help strengthen startups.

Some of the Benefits of L-Camp include:

  • Free office space
  • Access to meeting rooms, event halls, and IT infrastructure
  • Free support for legal, accounting, tax advice, etc.
  • Bank-linked financial service
  • Global IT infrastructure support
  • Free video production support for promotion through their social media
  • Business connections with affiliated companies
  • Follow-up investor relations support
  • Various lecture program operation
  • Access to external mentoring expert pool

To be sure, L-Camp graduate “Now Pick” (24-hour rocket delivery service) best exemplifies Lotte Accelerator’s hyper-connectivity when they recognized Now Pick’s potential convergence with its electronics retail affiliate, HIMART. Since consummating an exclusive contract with HIMART last year, Now Pick’s fortunes have grown with the addition of a similar deal with E-mart earlier this month.

Is L-Camp too good to be true? No. However, as a caveat to potential applicants, Lotte Accelerator has the most competitive acceptance rate among any Korean accelerators: Lotte Accelerator generally receives over 500 applications per cycle and accepts anywhere from 10-20 startups—their 2-4% acceptance rate compares to Y Combinator which takes roughly 3% of each batch.

Lotte Accelerator Demo Days

Lotte Accelerator Busan

Lotte Accelerator hosted a demo day for their first batch of startups at L-Camp Busan. The event was a great success and brought in additional investments for the participating Korean and foreign startups. Lotte Accelerator will continue to work with the Busan government to support the Korean startup ecosystem. The L-Camp base in Busan now has 10 startups from the Busan and Gyeongnam areas. The 10 startups are not just Korean startups but also startups from Hong Kong and Vietnam. Furthermore, Lotte Accelerator provided each startup with 20 million won, mentoring services, and free office space.

To date, there have been 9 L-Camps hosted. Seven were hosted in Seoul and 2 were hosted in Busan. So far the valuation of all participating companies is worth over 900 billion KRW.