Think of a country 50 million strong. Packed into a land less then a quarter the size of California. Coming from next to nothing, this is a people who have worked miracles and economically surpassed much of the world. This is South Korea. This is the remarkable, raging cradle of innovation that beGLOBAL is opening to the world.
Recently, immense investments in the future of Korea's ready-to-explode startup industry were made. Combine this with a total, near fanatical country-wide scramble towards English, education and achievement. The stage is set for Korea's young innovators to cast off the shackles of the 12-hour-a-day working man's life to be reborn as innovators. Entrepreneurs. The refined essence of what it means to defy the ordinary. Startups.
beGLOBAL's aim is to combine this raging inferno of counter-culture innovation with the resources and immensity of overseas markets and investors. The conference focuses on providing no-BS advice and real, game changing opportunities to attendees. Last year, we worked with many remarkable people and companies to continue riding the storm. Here's a look at what two of last year's startup battle contenders have accomplished.
1. Plugger (Formerly known as Mycoon)
Plugger. Also known as Mycoon until presenting on stage. CSO Heejae Lee took the stage and asked the audience whether their batteries were charged or not. Luckily, most batteries were charged. When asked again, an uncharged battery was found. A scooter launched from the audience's edge and a seemingly embarrassed audience member was delivered CEO Choi's vision of the future - instant battery charging. (see the video here)
Coming into beLaunch, Plugger's offline footprint was 60 franchises strong. It was spread from Busan to Seoul, congregating around major metro areas. Online, it had a database of 15,000 publicly usable charge points.
"That presentation was the perfect opportunity for us. We met with 500 startups soon after." remarked CEO Hyukjae Choi in a call this Wednesday. Following their first meeting with 500 startups - six months of intense discussion ensued. In January 2015, Plugger was inducted into 500 startups, Batch 12. This included a $100k investment into their future and total immersion into what CEO Choi describes as "A remarkably talented community that will serve as another big leap into our global success story."
When asked about what recommendation he would give to other startups looking at going global, "Try to get out to as many events as you can (booths, lectures, stage performances). The real value that comes from beGLOBAL and similar conferences abroad is the human contact. The networking. It's the only place you can meet the people in charge. For finding founders, investors, a job, parties with other startups, you can't beat conferences like this. That's our recommendation".
2. MangoPlate - CEO Bernard Kim
At beLaunch 2014, CEO Kim came onto the stage and delivered a solid presentation. He was cool as a cucumber. (see the presentation here)
During that presentation, we learned that MangoPlate was already in good health, with a solid, engaged user base. MangoPlate was ready to get a grip on the South Korean market and reach out and go global. "Download MangoPlate." stated Kim with a tongue in his cheek.
"beLaunch was a huge help." stated CEO Kim in a call this week. "Of course, there was the large Series A investment from Softbank (Editor's note: At least $3 million or more, considering MangoPlate's ask at the conference) and since the conference our service has been steadily growing, with over 500k downloads to date." he said. The aforementioned Series A funding was announced in late October, likely the result of explosive interest from outside investors after presenting at beLaunch.
When speaking about some of the direct benefits from attending the conference, CEO Kim has this to say "Last year before we presented, we were running around 80,000 downloads. But since the conference, downloads have multiplied to over 500,000 and the activity around our reviews has increased dramatically. Our core business has not changed, but the support we have received from and following the conference has been game changing."
"Perhaps the biggest thing for us coming out of the conference was how much interest we started getting in our company. The exposure went all the way from VCs to talented individuals that were interested in connecting with us." explained Kim. He went on to say that beLaunch was a great opportunity for MangoPlate to spend some time focusing on defining and describing itself. To be able to take a step back, practice and organize things. "An immense help to any startup" said Kim.
For startups looking to explode to the next level - join the next beGLOBAL startup battle.
South Korea. A land of pent up drive for change. Everywhere you look, entrepreneurs railing at the gates to get out and change the world. And food that is absolute in it's tasty fulfillment.
Oh Kimchi, the sparkling red mistress of my heart.
This year with beGLOBAL 2015, the startup revolution continues. To international investors and members of the Asian startup community - get yourselves over here ASAP. Hook into what is becoming the next Korean miracle and join us in our crusade.