CJ OliveNetworks Incubates Innovation and Growth through Its In-House Venture Program, “PLAY-LAB”


△ Members of PLAY-LAB, an in-house venture program team of CJ OliveNetworks

An “in-house venture" that helps develop small companies within a company is drawing much attention as a new growth engine. The in-house venture is a program wherein the firm’s employees come up with their own business ideas and get the company’s support to start businesses. If they succeed at commercializing their ideas into businesses, the businesses can then spin-off and grow into a larger company.

Google’s Niantic, which developed “Pokémon Go,” a mobile game that was highly popular in Korea as well, and Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd., which possesses “7-Eleven,” a global-scale convenience store brand, are successful representative cases of in-house venture firm incubation.

The in-house venture system, which has been mainly vitalized in the United States and Europe, is also being actively introduced in large Korean enterprises in droves. As such, CJ OliveNetworks started fostering an in-house venture program under the name of “PLAY-LAB” in February this year.

PLAY-LAB was designed to discover competent personnel with innovative ideas, support them as prospective entrepreneurs, and secure a growth-driving engine for new businesses. It also aims to spread a creative corporate culture.

CJ OliveNetworks provides an independent office space and side facilities for eight months, in addition to providing support funds, so that the members of PLAY-LAB may focus mainly on commercializing their ideas. The company also provides ▲mentoring of experts related to business and technology, as well as training at each state of business preparation, ▲help in the development of prototypes based on market research surveys and the evaluation of target customers, ▲full financial support by drawing investments from distinguished Korean and global venture capital firms, as well as IR pitching and Demo Day connected to accelerators.

The program is equipped with differentiated competitiveness in that, unlike other companies, it actively supports venture teams with the firm network and infrastructure of CJ Group’s affiliates. 

Thus, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups particularly selected CJ OliveNetworks as one of the companies for the “In-House Venture Incubation Project,” thereby acknowledging the excellence of the expertise and infrastructure that the company extends to support in-house venture teams.

During the in-house contest held for a month in February for the selection of ideas for PLAY-LAB, about 40 ideas were submitted. Two ideas were finally selected after a document screening process and competitive presentations. The selected ideas are ”BISKIT,” a service platform for lifestyle management and improvement, and “SkyCherry,” which is an asset management platform based on the blockchain. The two teams are currently realizing in detail their ideas through a mentoring program and an exclusive accelerator.

The company will verify the commercial feasibility of the PLAY-LAB ideas by having external experts and executives evaluate them in December. It will then decide whether to create new start-ups through a spin-off or to commercialize the ideas in-house. The company will continue supporting them for their successful commercialization.

The PLAY-LAB team will get a high performance assessment, acknowledging their efforts made even if their businesses do not succeed at the end of their activities. Even if they fail after the spin-off, they will have the opportunity to join the company again. This is to encourage the team members to take up challenges creatively without having to fear the possibility of failure. This is why PLAY-LAB is expected to bring in changes and innovation to the company’s overall corporate culture.

CJ OliveNetworks plans to continue pursuing the diversification of its businesses and to support employees who take up challenges in the future. (End)