Tech industry giants see significant potential in the ideas being created in startup hubs like Kansas City, an LG Electronics leader told a crowd gathered this week at Homebase. 

“A lot of startup companies can bring innovation to the front. Big companies like ours, sometimes we’re so busy that we lose track of that activity,” said Henry Kim, director of smart home solutions, LG Electronics. “We really rely on startup companies to provide that innovation. We look for investment opportunities and work with these companies to see where we can come together.”

Henry Kim, LG Electronics, Innovation Exchange

Henry Kim, LG Electronics, Innovation Exchange

Kim joined Startland’s Innovation Exchange panel on Urban Tech — hosted by Homebase and presented by Evergy Ventures — injecting thoughts on corporate innovation and collaboration into the broader conversation about home automation, the Internet of Things and cyber security.

Having already established a working partnership with Homebase — one of Startland’s Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2019 — Kim said LG saw the hometown company as a compelling opportunity to break into the multifamily smart home market.

Click here to learn more about Homebase.

Such partnerships are part of LG’s corporate strategy to find new verticals that overlap with or feed into existing product lines, Kim said, noting startup companies and their ideas need a certain level of maturity for serious consideration.

“The investment group [at LG] is especially looking at the viability of [a startup’s] solution,” he said. “If it’s an IoT type of platform, like smart cooking for example, we ask ‘What is the potential for onboarding the end user [to our other products and services]?”

Kansas City specifically appears to be a prime source of potential collaborations, Kim emphasized.

“When I [arrived] today, I saw you’ve upgraded Kansas City tremendously since I last visited a couple years ago. Kansas City has a lot more opportunity compared to many other, bigger cities in terms of creating new business opportunities,” he said. “Together with Homebase, we’re hoping to create a lot more synergy.” 

Check out a photo gallery below, featuring July Innovation Exchange panelists Henry Kim, LG Electronics; Brittany Williams, principal, WISE Power; and Scott Ford, CEO, Pepper IoT; as well as entertainment by Amado Espinoza.

Click here to read a Q&A with Scott Ford of Pepper, a portfolio company of Evergy Ventures and another one of Startland’s Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2019.

Click here to listen to a podcast featuring Blake Miller, founder of Homebase (jump to 2:41).

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