[LAB NOTE] Invisible Advisor, Zer01ne CompanyBuilder


There are three things you need to start your own business. Seed capital, time, and passion to follow your dream. Zer01ne CompanyBuilder helps employees of Hyundai Motor Company to implement their business ideas. A report on how CompanyBuilder supports dreams.


LAB NOTE Summary

Many employees have had this concern before they start their own business, ‘Can I make money as much as the paycheck I received from work?’ The opportunity to challenge to start a business despite of the concern is the greatest benefit that the company can provide to its employees. Zer01ne CompanyBuilder works to provide an environment where they can feel comfortable to soley focus on their dreams.

Zer01ne CompanyBuilder supports employees to start a business who have new business items through the skills and know-hows acquired at Hyundai Motor Company. It would be perfect if it is a business that can become Hyundai Motor’s partner without overlapping with Hyundai Motor’s businesses. The success of start-ups brings the effects of creating jobs along with big profits.

Since 2000, Zer01ne CompanyBuilder has operated in-house startups, Zer0 to support employees in their new business. So far, a total of 26 starups have been successful for spin-off. There were three spin-off companies in 2021 including ‘AutoL’ which develops low-priced compact LiDAR sensors, ‘Difon’ which develops variable transmittance window & film solution technology, and ‘Datamond’ which conducts platform business for points redemption/collection. ‘Auto&’ which was listed on KOSDAQ in 2021, ‘YOUCAR’, a used car dealer that reached sales of 90 billion KRW, and ‘Tuneit which showcased vehicle personalization technology and vehicle door opening and closing technology in Hyundai Motor’s “Intelligent Personal Cockpit” at CES in 2018, also started out as Hyundai Motor’s in-house startups.



Zer01ne CompanyBuilder
Zer01ne supports dreams of people. There are three programs of “Playground” with creators, “Zer01ne Accelerator” supporting external startups, and Zer01ne CompanyBuilder supporting Hyundai Motor’s employees to start their own business.


“Hyundai Motor Company’s in-house startup activities, which began in 2000, are gradually expanding the scope of new business discovery and continuing to expand for open innovation. Business items with marketability and innovation can be found even in the business areas that Hyundai Motor Company has never approached by discovering related areas such as mobility, automotive parts, and SW services.”

Most businesses are linked to the automotive industry, but they can support other business areas. Zer01ne CompanyBuilder will provide more supports to ‘MYCEL’, a biotechnology company that utilizes mushroom mycelium, and ‘fittrix’ a smart fitness startup that develops healthcare solutions.


“Why don’t we give our employees the opportunity to start own business with creative ideas?”

One of the main tasks of Zer01ne CompanyBuilder is to help business efficiently by matching professionals and startups in the industries. It is important to set the direction when someone starts own business with just ideas. Most businesses get lost in the earlier stage and eventually disappear. CompanyBuilder provides a year of period for business development, so startups need to work on as efficiently as possible to achieve results wihin the period. That is why it becomes important to introduce external experts to startups like accelerators. Hyundai Motor Company already has enough advisors.

The second role is to help startups use the right external workforce. When an employee whose specialty is hardware starts a business with ideas for the application business, a developer is an external workforce who must be hired. The in-house startup system is often applied by teams. Employees can create a team consisting of up to five people and use two external workforce instead of employees at work. Zer01ne CompanyBuilder supports the cost for hiring external workforce.


“We can complete the value chain that can be Hyundai Motor’s partners and acquire the working style of a startup/IT company. Also, we create opportunities for businesses and discover prospective new businesses.”


“Will employees have a high understanding of the business that does not overlap with Hyundai Motor’s business, but can create synergies together? They can reliably develop and support their business within the company.”

What makes Zer01ne CompanyBuilder better than starting a business after leaving the company? The biggest difference is the cost, with no doubt. We provide all offices during a year of period for business development. During the planning and preparation stage of a new business, we pay out an equal amount of salaries, and labor costs. The startups can get approval for a business trip if needed like regular employees. We provide a total budget of 300 million KRW, and if a startup passes the spin-off deliberation after a year period for business development, Hyundai Motor Company will invest an additional 100 million KRW in the condition of acquiring 5-15% shares.


“We will support startups by paying 300 million KRW development cost, providing office spaces, supporting labor and development costs for contract employees, and minimizing administrative work. The startups will go through the spin-off deliberations after a year of business development to get equity investment and follow-up supports.”

Zer01ne CompanyBuilder has a pretty high success rate for a spin-off. With the goal of selecting around 10 teams per year, a total of 67 teams have been selected so far and 26 of which have been successful for spin-offs. 25 startups among the 26 spin-off startups are still in business, which shows a very high number given the typical startup survival rate.