(Press Release) Seoul, Korea SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
WeWork – the platform for creators that provides the space, community and services to help people make a life, not just a living – announced that it will open its fourth location in Korea, WeWork Yeoksam Station, in Capital Tower near Yeoksam Station, in late 2017.
WeWork has chosen Capital Tower close to Yeoksam Station for its fourth location to meet growing demand for WeWork community in Gangnam area and enhance collaboration with WeWork Gangnam Station and WeWork Samseong Station. Notably, the new location, which is at the heart of Teheran Road with close proximity to numerous enterprises, is expected to play a pivotal role in fostering WeWork’s community with significant diversity.
WeWork’s announcement to open a new location comes just a month after the opening of WeWork Samseong Station in August, demonstrating strong commitment to expanding its business in Korea. WeWork has been building a dynamic and diverse community through continuous business expansion in Seoul. Along with WeWork Gangnam Station, WeWork Euljiro and WeWork Samseong Station, the new location will make WeWork community accessible to all major business districts in Seoul and drive WeWork’s growth as a networking platform for WeWork members.
There has been a macro shift towards a new way of work in Korea, focused on finding meaning, and such trend is bringing attention to WeWork’s mission: to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. Indeed, WeWork has attracted members who love what they do and pursue ‘meaningfulness,’ and enables them to create synergy by exchanging various information and business know-how and finding business partners within the community. In particular, aside from startups and small to medium businesses, traditional large enterprises such as Amore Pacific and multinational companies such as Microsoft also joined as WeWork members in Korea, sharing WeWork’s mission and adding greater diversity to the community.
“Diversity is the greatest power of WeWork community. Encompassing startups and large enterprises, our community members of all sizes across different industries and cultural backgrounds represent what WeWork stands for”, said Matthew Shampine, General Manager, Korea at WeWork, “WeWork’s four locations linking the north and south parts of Seoul will deliver greater convenience to WeWork members and form a stronger WeWork community”.
(Press Release by PR.com) San Francisco, CA, September 13, 2017
Konolabs announced today that its AI powered scheduling bot, Kono, will be available starting today.
Called Kono, the email-bot comes with an AI engine with machine learning and natural language understanding capabilities. Users write to or copy Kono in their email, and the bot will schedule a meeting based on users’ calendars and preferences. While Kono checks calendar, sends invites, and exchanges emails, users can stay in a single platform and feel focused. When finding a time with the counterpart, Kono suggests time slots from users’ real-time availability. Having no slots pended, Kono captures every meeting opportunity that means a lot for users.
The company launched its initial beta version of Kono in July 2016 and ran it in limited region. The official version is free for trial to anyone who uses Google, G-Suite and Microsoft Office 365 calendar. The enterprise version is also available with various pricing plans supporting more calendar systems and providing advanced features for enterprise users.
Built with in-house developed, patented technologies, Kono has already received much recognition from enterprises in mainly Korea and Singapore. According to the company, as the company has finalized several POC tests with named companies, it could provide more reliable and secure services for even large corporations. The company plans to attend the AI Expo North America (https://www.ai-expo.net/northamerica/) in coming November to exhibit their solutions and business use cases.
“Scheduling business meetings is hard, but highly important for business performance,” said YJ Min, the CEO and Co-founder of Konolabs. “Kono manages schedule in efficient and natural ways, so users can be more organized and channel more of their time and energy in making their business successful.”
(Press Realese) SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
Fintech solutions company UTRUST is set to transform the cryptocurrency payments landscape. With a team of experts from various consumer and corporate business, financial, legal, and technical fields, UTRUST is building the payments platform of the future as the PayPal of the digital currency market.
Since Bitcoin's inception in 2009, cryptocurrencies have solved problems that are inherent in today’s bank-based payment systems. Offering low fees and fast transaction times. Despite this, cryptocurrency adaptation in the field of day-to-day consumer transaction is still negligible in many parts of the world. In Singapore and many parts of Asia, for example, cash is still king. Despite the country’s recent push to be a center of global technological innovation, most people are still tied to centralized legacy institutions like banks to perform transactions.
In contrast, UTRUST will allow users to make payments to their mortgage using only their mobile phones — no bank account needed. This convenience can be extended to other payments such as car mortgages and online merchants. By tapping directly into the mainstream financial system, UTRUST users can enjoy unrivaled advantages.
One of the main issues hampering the adaptation of seamless cashless transactions is the lack of payment protections. UTRUST seeks to remedy this through built-in consumer protection features. This includes escrow-like trusted mediators, crypto-to-fiat settlement to counter the merchant risk of volatile currencies, as well as multi-cryptocurrency support.
Nuno Correia, CEO, said: "UTRUST sees the potential of cryptocurrencies and digital technology to transform financial services provision in both developed and developing markets. The potential gains are particularly exciting in emerging markets where mobile phone penetration could recreate the role physical banking infrastructure plays in developed markets."
UTRUST also provide equal protection for both the buyer and merchant. Buyers will have lower purchase risks, along with the peace of mind that secure transactions can be made at any time. Sellers will be rated according to their performance, and any payment disputes can be resolved more efficiently. Merchants, on the other hand, will enjoy lower seller fees and faster approval speeds, along with a zero chance for chargebacks. There is also a decentralized UTRUST token, whose value is linked to the projected growth of the platform as a whole.
With these user-centric payment security features, UTRUST aims to push for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. This will birth a blockchain-centric system for the masses, providing a fast, secure, convenient, and inexpensive platform for all transactions.
UTRUST Opens its Doors With a Token and Crowdsale
As part of its thrust to make UTRUST an integral part of daily consumer transactions, the company will launch the first round of public ICO on September 20th, 2017 (2PM GMT). There will be 7 upcoming ICO rounds in total, bringing UTRUST to $50 Million of funding.
The funds will then be used to establish key industry partnerships, and to develop the platform’s features. The Ethereum protocol will provide the backbone for the ERC20-compatible tokens, which can be used along with other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.
UTRUST’s token can also be used to make zero-fee payments to thousands of merchants accepting cryptocurrencies on the platform. It can also be traded with other currencies on supported exchange platforms.
A certain portion of UTRUST’s revenue will then be allocated to buyback, to destroy the tokens in circulation. As a deflationary currency, UTRUST token demands will increase with time. Combined with the buyback, this will lead to an appreciation of its market value.
To learn more about UTRUST’s ICO, visit: https://utrust.io/ico
Last year, TechCrunch came to Seoul to host its first-ever Meetup, and is returning to Seoul on October 27, 2016 to host its second Meetup+Pitch-Off competition for Korean early-stage startups.
"We had reside chats with tech leaders like Jimmy Jihoon Rim, the CEO of Kakao and Bedy Yang, Managing Partner at 500 Startups. Our first Pitch-Off winner, BBB, a pioneering mobile health company, has already raised $5 Million in Series A funding this year. We can’t wait to second out who will win next,” said Robert Frawley, a Manager at TechCrunch.
The event will bring together some of the best in tech from around the country to compete in a sixty-second pitch-off competition in front of a panel of high-level investor judges and TechCrunch editorial staff. Winners win free tickets to TechCrunch’s European conference called TechCrunch Disrupt London on December 5-6. Pitch-Off applications are still being accepted at the LINK until October 13 at 17:00 KST.
In addition to the competition, the event will feature reside chats with some of the leading figures in Korean tech today. Attendees will hear directly from the people who are designing the future of technology and ask them questions in-person.
Tickets can be purchased at the LINK. A ticket is required for entry.
SEOUL, 8 September 2015 - MangoPlate, a South Korean restaurant discovery app, recently renewed its English service for foreigners in Korea.
Established in October 2013 to help people find information about restaurants, MangoPlate offers restaurant discovery service with reviews written by users. While the service was already available in both Korean and English from the very beginning of its launch, the English app was renewed with a new website launch. The foreigners can now use the service to find local restaurants without a language barrier.
A major change from the previous version of the app includes the review translation function, which enables users to instantly translate local reviews written in Korean into English. All the necessary information about a given restaurant, such as the address, phone number, and business hours, are also listed in both English and Korean, along with an integrated navigation and taxi app for foreigners to use. Also, users can discover places by scrolling through the app’s collection of curated lists of eateries, compiled regularly by MangoPlate’s team of editors.
“As of July, a total 9.8 million foreigners have visited Korea, with an additional 2 million foreigners who have found their home here. This has resulted in an increasing demand from foreigners, which is why we decided to renew the English version of our service,” said Bernard Kim, CEO of MangoPlate. “In the future, more languages will be added so that everyone will be able to discover great restaurants quickly and easily.”
Seoul, Korea 22th Aug - beSUCCESS has successfully closed a Pre-Series A round with investors from Korea, USA, China, and Japan, in order to grow its expanding brand as a leading media platform for news on Korean startups, host of Asia’s largest tech conference, beGLOBAL, and now also a database platform with its recent launch of Beginning (beginning.xyz). Among the firms that participated in this round include DCM Ventures, Strong Ventures, 500 Startups(US), Hardy Farm Venture(CN), Tokyo Founders Fund(JP), TheVentures, SEUM, MOCA Ventures, Startup X(KR).
Ki Hong Bae, partner of Strong Ventures that led the seed funding round in 2011 for beSUCCESS, expressed strong conviction that beSUCCESS would continue serving an important role as a nexus for Korean startups and the global community, having seen the company fulfil its mission to build and sustain South Korea’s startup ecosystem in three, distinct phases: first, by establishing Korea’s foremost tech media beSUCCESS and second, by organizing Korea’s largest tech conference beGlobal, which since its conception has catapulted Korean startups into the global limelight.
With the launch of Beginning, beSUCCESS is implementing phase three of its value proposition. Beginning is an online database platform for investors seeking access to key metrics and analysis on Korean startups and a means to directly connect with Korean startups. The strong brand that beSUCCESS has built over the years convinced Hardy Farm Ventures to choose beSUCCESS as the first of many Korean startups it seeks to fund. “beSUCCESS is more than just a media startup, it is a database, it is a conference brand, and it is a hub that both entrepreneurs and investors trust,” said Kevin Ren, partner at Hardy Farm Ventures.
James Jung (Hyun Wook Jung), founder and CEO of beSUCCESS, explained that the new round of foreign investments in beSUCCESS has implications for the greater startup community in Korea, as it shows growing and continued interest by foreign investors in Korean companies, interest that beSUCCESS hopes to capture in the form of real opportunities. Jung plans to invest the newly available funds in order to grow Beginning, a culmination of the broad network of investors and companies that beSUCCESS has built over the years, while also continuing to build the media and conference brands.
Seoul, Korea 10th Aug -Beginning (beginning.xyz), an ambitious new service launched by beSUCCESS founder and CEO James Jung (Hyun Wook Jung), is an online hub that seeks to bridge businesses, investors, and various government agencies across borders. It also hosts a growing, real-time database that profiles startups in one view, sourcing directly from key players in the Asian startup industry.
Since its conception, beSUCCESS has been a leading source of information on Korean startups and now hosts beGLOBAL, the largest tech conference in Asia. beGLOBAL has been a springboard for Korean startups such as Toss Lab, NEOFECT, and RippleBuds which have successfully procured investments from globally recognized VC firms for further scale after being showcased amongst beGlobal’s Top Startups.
Beginning may best be characterized as an outgrowth of beSUCCESS, as both are Jung’s solutions to the same goal: creating greater wealth and opportunities by connecting the right people to the right resources. Beginning aims to do so by providing an open channel for fast and transparent communication between investors and companies as well as providing intelligent company data that can empower investors to make impactful choices.
Prospective investors can curate a portfolio of companies of interest by searching through Beginning’s database, a culmination of expertise knowledge drawn from the extensive network of startups, investors, and government agencies that Jung has built steadily over the years through his work for beSUCCESS. Investors can directly contact these companies on the Beginning platform and also receive news of product updates and releases.
Currently all users can explore Beginning’s database simply by registering on the website, while premium account holders can gain access to more detailed performance analysis for a monthly fee. As an IBM Watson accelerator partner, Beginning is poised to provide increasingly sophisticated search and analytics tools for its database in the future, and users are highly encouraged to contact the Beginning team with feedback or for further data requests.
BBB Technologies Inc. (BBB), a mobile healthcare startup, announced $5 million in Series A fundraising. This round’s investors consisted of ID Ventures, POSCO Capital, and Mirae Asset Capital.
BBB released the world's first Android-based mobile blood testing device, elemark®, within six months of its founding in 2014. With elemark®, patients can conduct blood tests themselves and have the test results automatically saved in the cloud for tracking their biomarkers.
BBB also established a US branch at NASA’s Ames Research Center, where BBB and NASA are working together to develop a mobile blood testing device that can be used in space by astronauts. Last year, BBB partnered with Green Cross MS, a KOSDAQ-listed company, to develop mobile blood testing devices, and established an exclusive sales agreement. It also partnered with US-based point of care testing (POCT) manufacturer, Princeton BioMeditech (PBM) Corp.
Through this round of investment, BBB aims to pick up speed in its preparations to launch in the South Korean, U.S., and European markets as well as in R&D of its next product. The next generation of elemark® will focus on the management of chronic diseases and the detection of contagious diseases. Its reveal is scheduled for MEDICA, the world’s biggest trade fair for medical technology.
“From the very beginning, we have executed product development and sales plans with the global market as our target," said Jaekyu Choi, CEO of BBB. "We will concentrate on securing customers and accumulating experience in operating our services, in order to become a leading company in the mobile healthcare market.”
Yeongchul Yu, Head of Venture Investment at ID Ventures, explained, “We decided to invest in BBB after taking note of the competitiveness of its mobile in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) device and the value of its platform in the personal healthcare management market, an area where rapid growth has been predicted.”
Proto.io, the mobile app prototyping software used by more than 300,000 industry professionals and regular, non-technical people, today announced the launch of Proto.io 6. Along with a redesigned UI and numerous performance enhancements, the new Interaction Wizard makes it easier than ever to create dynamic, interactive prototypes. This enables users to quickly create beautiful, fully-featured prototypes – even if they don’t have any previous design or development experience.
Product managers, engineers, student entrepreneurs, startup founders, and regular people with a cool idea can create a dynamic, fleshed out prototype, which is key to ensuring that the initial vision matches the final product. The ability for anyone without design or coding skills to create a realistic prototype easily is what separates Proto.io from the competition. With a stunning prototype, ideas can be completely fleshed out before anyone writes a line of code, which can conserve scarce resources like time and money.
“Our vision is to give the power of prototyping to everyone, without the need of specific skills or knowledge, in the fastest and most intuitive way possible,” says Alexis Piperides, co-founder and CEO of Proto.io. “Proto.io enables prototyping for all. Proto.io is for all people, all kinds of prototypes, from simple wireframes to advanced realistic and interactive animated prototypes and for all sorts of applications and devices.”
With Proto.io, every team member can share deep insight on your product without having to route their feedback through a designer or developer. That same power that allows a team to validate their ideas can also help teachers and professors in their classrooms.
If a person comes for the profit goes for another profit, a person bows for a power searches for another powerful men. Only the person comes for the mind lasts forever." - from “The Rise of the Great Nations” by SangRae Cho.
Smilegate group(CEO HyeokBin Kwon) is famous for a FPS game called ‘Cross Fire.’ Cross Fire which has 500million global users, 6million users for concurrent user, successfully localized the game in Chinese market. In 2007, due to the heavy competition against ‘Sudden Attack’ and ‘Special Force’ in Korean game industry, Cross Fire decided to cooperate with Tencent, a new Chinese publisher, and seized the chance to revive. Tencent knew Chinese market situation very well, so Cross Fire could reborn following the strict localization strategy. China had low computer specifications and it lacked of infra, but Cross Fire could be played with ease, so many Chinese users found it highly interesting. With the the circumstances that the online game industry was soaring steadily and the combination with the user data from the Tencent’s QQ messenger, Cross Fire succeeded to exceed one million users for concurrent user in 2009.
Cross fire is the succession case of advancing to China with three success points which are the ‘strict localization,’ ‘market timing’ and the ‘product propriety.’ Can they put their success DNA into other Korean startups which want to enter Chinese market and make them as another succession cases as well? A youth startup assistance incubation center Orange Farm(SangBong Suh)’s ‘Orange Farm Beijing program’ run by Smilegate Foundation(CED HyeokBin Kwon) is noteworthy in this case. Orange Farm has concluded an agreement with ‘Innoz’ incubation center’ in Zhongguancun High-tech Zone, Beijing, China to start supporting Korea’s excellent startups.
Here we had a chance to interview SangBong Suh, the head of the youth startup assistance incubation center Orange Farm, to be informed about the ‘Orange Farm Beijing Program.’
- Could you please introduce the ‘Orange Farm Beijing Program?’
Orange Farm Beijing Program is a support program for Korea’s excellent venture/startup companies which want to enter the Chinese market with Smilegate’s network and knowhow of market in China. Innoz, the Chinese partner of this program is a incubating specialized company constructed in Zhongguancun High-tech Zone Z-part in October last year which is a joint venture between ‘Zhongguancun development team(中關村發展集團),’ the Chinese ministry of science & technology’s state-run firm, and ‘iSoftSone,’ the IT firm. Two companies will help Korea’s excellent startups to establish corporations in China, settle down well in the early stage by running a cooperation program building a network with Chinese local networks(Startups, VC, angel investment, government etc.) Not only that, in order to spread the communication between China and Korea, they are going to open a demo day and an exchange meeting regularly, and even Chinese excellent startups can move into the Korea Orange Farm with the same standard.
- What is the standard of Korea startup selection?
Orange Farm Beijing Program haven’t set the specific standards or categories for the startup item. This is for the startups which have finished developing the product or service and running a company in Korea, but there must be staffs who can speak Chinese like native speakers. Also if the company has a specific reasons or milestones rather than a vague vision for the Chinese market is an important standard of selection. For last, the company should be within 5 years since the establishment.
- Korea startups are curious about Zhongguancun High-tech Zone where the Chinese corporate will be established.
Li Keqiang, a Chinese prime minister, is encouraging youth to start the business saying, ‘Startups will bring up the innovation for all people(大众创业，万众创新).’ Zhongguancun in Beijing is like a cradle for this because almost one third of Chinese overall startup investment fund, supporting policy and outstanding work force are all invested in this place. Zhongguancun has lots of outstanding work force from prominent universities and the national research and development institutes, and government is supporting startups and overseas expansion with funds. Furthermore, there is an innoway(innovation-way) for encouraging youth’s technique startup, and more than 20 startup supporting service platforms which are similar to the Silicon Vally in in the US for incubating, investing, media etc.
- What will Korea startups be supported by the ‘Orange Farm Beijing Program?’
Orange Farm Beijing Program is an incubating business. When the companies move into Chinese partner company Innoz, the program will support the office rental fee as the actual expense level. Also it’ll host the demo day and the networking day for meeting Chinese related companies(Startup, VC, angel investment). Furthermore, there will be the education teaching how to build Chinese corporate, and how to apply for the patent. It has plans to conduct various programs related to Chinese government fund and investment for Zhongguancun district.
- Please tell us the procedure for the ‘Orange Farm Beijing Program.’
The recruitment has been started since June 5th. Firstly we receive the documents online, and then there’s the evaluation and the interview. It’ll almost take one to two weeks until the last step, the final PT. Once the companies are chosen, they’ll be educated for 3~4 weeks in Korea, and they can move into Chinese Innoz from the early July.
Apart from these, SangBong Suh, the Orange Farm’s head said, “The Chinese market needs not only the logic of capitalism but also the long-term vision of the history and the relationship.” and highlighted the importance of the networking and the strategy for the localization.
About the huge success case of in China, the production company NEW has chosen IQIYI(爱奇艺) for the video platform to simulcast in both Korea and China. This was possible because of the long partnership between IQIYI(爱奇艺) and a media group HuaC Media(华策影视) which conducted the strategic investment to the production company NEW. HuaCe Media(a contents production and distribution company) and IQIYI(a video platform company) established ‘HuaCe IQIYI media company’ in Aug, 2014 to grow as a total entertainment media group. Through this, both companies developed various internet contents and IP, and conducted an experiment to expend those to the e-commerce field. would be the success case of this strategy. Just like the fact that ‘Cross Fire’ had Tencent, an excellent publisher in 2009 when Cross Fire tried to get into Chinese market, was also successful in 2016 because they were with HuaCe Media and IQIYI, which were trying to grow as a total entertainment companies.
Where are the momentum that will lead the next decade in the consumer market in China? One advised to pay a good attention to the ‘Post-8090’ generation. The Post-8090 generation, often named balinghou (Post-80) or jiulinghou (Post-90), refers to the people who were born between 1980s and 1990s in China after the Chinese government has introduced ‘One-child’ birth-control policy in 1979. The Post-8090, also named Small Emperors (xiaohuangdi), can be viewed as a pivotal generation of the China’s future as they take up 25% of the Chinese population. In fact, they also took up half of the Chinese tourists in Korea last five years and are considered to be the major consumers in Chinese market.
At the same time, the Korean Wave are still acting as a major object throughout the process of discovering and expanding new services and brands for the rising generation in Chinese market. The Korean TV series and movies as a core impetus of the Korean Wave are being consumed fiercely by the numerous video platform companies in China. Also, various lifestyle products and services such as beauty products, fashion items, and plastic surgeries that have derived from the Korean Wave are considered to be the driving force of the consumption-pattern of the post-generation in China.
There are sufficient grounds to refocus on the Korean Wave—the phenomenon that has once been predicted to be fading away into the history among the cynical critics. Last spring, the Korean TV series 'Descendants of the Sun' has successfully acquired simultaneous broadcast in China and Korea for the first time, and have reached up to 7.5 Billion cumulative hits in the Chinese video platform Weibo. In fact, the sales of the beauty product ‘BB Cushion’ that Song Hye Kyo has used in the scene has increased up to 10 times in March than the previous month while more than 160,000 ‘Two-tone Rip Bars’ have been sold in the Aritaum stores in Korea. Moreover, cross earrings and triangular earrings that Song Hye Kyo has used in the scene, and the products used as an indirect advertisement such as Korea Ginseng Corp. Jung Gwan Jang, Hyundai cars, and Lotte Chilsung beverages have all experienced sales boom. Additionally, the BBC News has also broadcasted the popularity by mentioning cases such as Chinese Authority warning the dangers of watching Korean dramas after a woman who triggered acute glaucoma after 18-hour marathon session of watching.
At the same time, on 17th May, the investors and entrepreneurs who were looking for opportunities in China-Korea Cross-boarding fields have gathered together in the Conference 'The Korean Wave Leads Asia' which took place in the Kempinski Hotel in Beijing, China, to socialize and share ideas to upgrade China’s consumption trend with the Korean Wave as the pivot. This conference has been co-sponsored by China-based internet investment platform Dasbank and the Startup Media beSUCCESS which around 200 people including Neoply China, Taihe Global Institute, and Iyiou Wang have participated.
Furthermore, about a dozen of Korean Startups including Swizzlelabs, Korea’s AI technology-based New-Data Analyzing Firm, Meizhihan, the first domestic medical-treatment tourism platform for Chinese, Kbeat, the Korean Wave based MCN Startup, and FashionGo the fashion B2B platform which attracted tens of thousands of dollars of investment from NAVER, have participated. Lee Munki the founder of Meizhihan has mentioned, Meizhihan sets Korea’s medical-treatment, tourism, and travel related services as a business model. Korean TV Series such as “My Love from the Star”, and “Descendants of the Sun” have been continuously supporting in service-branding and expandability field.
The common topic of discussion among the investors and entrepreneurs during the conference “The Korean Wave Leads Asia” were about the process of seeking for alternatives to gain expandability and sustainability in business models within Chinese Market while aptly implementing the Korean Wave as a psychological matter into the physical products and services.
Concurrently, the author wants to focus on the insight of Lee Eun-sae the partner of the Eleven-Zulu Capital who has participated the conference as a panel. The partner Lee Eun-sae has emphasized the strategy of establishing and focusing on the ‘Intention’ in a long-term viewpoint whereby settling ‘what significance would I bear’ rather than ‘satisfaction of individual needs’ during the process of entering uncertain markets through the contribution in beSUCCESS, “Starbucks and Uncertainty”. Such approaches are very effective in the process of modeling sustainable business while utilizing psychological matters such as the Korean Wave as resources for branding. According to the partner Lee Eun-sae, coffee has only been ‘something’ for Americans that provided caffeine to wake up half-asleep brains on the way to work and that made bored hands and mouth busy on the way back from work before the emergence of Starbucks. Coffee has only been sold at the convenient stores in the street or gas stations, and several liters of coffee brewed at once had become tasteless after being left there several hours until the Venti size coffees were sold in $0.99. For Americans, coffees were natural ‘habit’ rather than a ‘beverage’.
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks supposed that even for the Americans who were familiar with coffees would retain the new coffee-culture where one enjoys coffees comfortably if ‘the third place’ provides proper coffees (according to him) and are established somewhere between home and workplace. He intended to develop Starbucks as a ‘beginning point of a culture’ rather than ‘another coffee shop’. In another words, Starbucks has been maintaining consistent growth by positioning themselves in the market with the concept of ‘new culture’ and ‘place’, and by conducting services as Starbucks Evening which sold seasonal beverages and wines along with coffees.
Likewise, establishing a vision that gives impressions of developed values in lifestyles to the customers by positioning the Korean Wave as a ‘Culture and Lifestyle’ with a long-term viewpoint rather than as a tool that increases demands of the products from the Korean TV Series and contents are considered to be the major topic that both Korean Startups and whoever wants to build a new ecosystem within the Korea-China Cross boarding framework must concern.
Dr. Hongying Dong, the founder of Dasbank has also agreed to similar visions and has announced, “The ‘new consumption’ field that the Korean Wave influences comprises of education, medical/beauty-treatment, food, and tourism which comes under the field of ‘Lifestyle’. This era is a good period to build cooperation between Korea and China through exchange of such factors while maintaining peaceful political and social relationships. Dasbank will cooperate well with beSUCCESS and Neoply China and will endeavor to connect entrepreneurs and investors from both countries by bridging at the bilateral ‘new consumption’ field.
Meanwhile, beSUCCESS, the co-sponsor of this conference, and its representative James Jung has expressed, “I hope for an expansion of opportunities for Korean Startups in attracting foreign investments upon this cooperation, and I expect that cooperation with trustful foreign partners may become a steppingstone for growth.
Start-up company ‘Mirion’ is now developing ‘bCODE’. bCODE is a binary code which can be written by hand for management of online and offline data collectively, it is also a way of providing internet connection to different products.
bCODE is similar to QR code, but there are some big differences. QR code is a distributor focused system. Usually, only big companies uses printed QR codes for commercial purposes. bCODE however, is a two-way system, you can download and also upload the data. It isn't only a concept for big companies, but also for the general users to share small amount of information. Anyone can write a simple bCODE where they like, and others can connect to information via bCODE app. It can be used for both business and personal purposes. bCODE can be written by hand, and doesn’t have to be printed my machine. Basically every moment where you have a pen, bCODE can be used. This differentiates bCODE with other binary codes.
The bCODE concept consists of 9 different boxes in a 3x3 format. Each box can be either ‘filled’ or ‘empty’ which translates to 1 or 0 to make it easy to read the code digitally.
Normal binary code has an I x J rectangular shape, but bCODE uses 3x3 to make it easy to write and create new bCODE by hand.
Mirion is now developing the 3x3 hand writing bCODE recognition algorithm.
bCODE can be used for delivering videos which solves mathmetical problems at universities and high schools, it can also be used for shopping by connecting bCODE to a payment system and online shopping services, even to delivery services.
Viva Republica, the providers of P2P money transfer service ‘Toss’, raised KRW 26.5 billion (about $23 million) on April 11th from a consortium consist of the leading domestic venture capital from KTB and Sillcon valley based firms from Goodwater capital and Altos ventures. The capital raised from this round will enable the company to strengthen Toss’ market dominance and expand its lineup of Fintech services.
Toss, which launched on February of last year, allows users to send and receive money in a matter of seconds. It condensed the complex authentication process into three simple steps; with Toss, users can send money just by filling in the recipient’s bank account, transfer amount, and password. The service has become widely received by the millennium generation as it is continually improving its user-friendly features such as fingerprint recognition and alerting users of to suspicious bank accounts.
In January Toss reached KRW 100 billion in accumulated transactions, but has since continued to rapidly grow as last month’s transaction amount alone totaled KRW 100 billion. As of April 2016, Toss reached a total accumulated transaction amount of KRW 300 billion, surpassing all competitors in the P2P transfer space.
And users use Toss aggresively. Average transaction count in Toss is about 7.2 per month, which is more than 3x compared to average transaction count through banking app in general (2.2 per month based on last year statistics from BOK).
Toss is downloaded 2 million times for now and maintaining rank #1 in Finance category, Appstore.
“I’m impressed with how quickly Toss was able to gain market dominance and loyalty from its users”, said Han Kim from Altos ventures. Also said, “I have high expectations that Toss is going to lead the Fintech revolution as a premier financial platform.”
“Lots of fintech services using mobile channel is fundamentaly different from legacy financial product from banking retail in terms of accessibility, simplicity. we aim to continue strengthening our partnerships with 16 banks we already have relationship with by working together to provide genuine financial product for mobile channel”, said Seunggun Lee, Viva Republica CEO.
ELEVEN:ZULU CAPITAL, a new VC from Los Angeles, Calif. announces today that it officially opens to accept investment proposals from startups in Asia and in the US.
“The space is crowded. There is so much money. As a result, the valuations of most US startups have gone through the roof. However, we know that there are still many other ecosystems in different parts of the world, whose startups are equally capable but just much undervalued simply because they are under the radar. Our mission is to find such startups from the lesser-known ecosystems and enable them to build great companies and to bring profitable successes for everyone in the ecosystem, including our investors” says the founder and a Special Partner of the firm, Eunse Lee – an entrepreneur and a former strategy consultant from Korea who also has served as an advisor to Korean Government under the current legislature.
As Lee puts it, ELEVEN:ZULU CAPITAL intends to invest up to 80% of its $100 million inaugural fund – which is in formation now, in startups from Asia – including Korea, China, Japan and Southeast Asian countries. Also, while the new VC welcomes most of investment opportunities in all industries, it will invest in the pre-revenue stage companies in the sectors of enterprise software, healthcare, and e-Commerce and fintech with a stronger focus. The typical investment will range between $3~5million, and after the investment it plans to help its portfolio companies to tap onto the global market out of Los Angeles.
“What we know is this: we don’t have an opportunity when things are already set in place. Opportunities for most of us arise when things are opening up and when they are dynamic. From such a perspective, Los Angeles is a great place to start up because it’s just as lucrative as Silicon Valley in terms of opportunities, but is more dynamic in terms of the lifecycle of its ecosystem; it’s just being formed and welcoming entrepreneurs. There is a great deal of dynamism and more and more investors are starting to move their eyes to the City of Angels” explains Lee about why he thinks LA is a great ecosystem.
Lee finishes the announcement with saying, “Money is now only a commodity. And if we were merely to provide such a commodity and make profit, I don’t think we need to be here today as just another VC. Instead, as a team of entrepreneurs, we believe that our role is, in addition to providing growth capital, to transfer a full-stack of experience – which we had to earn the hard way ourselves, to our portfolio companies and support them to grow into a successful startup. Now, that is our intention!”
BeyondK, a Hallyu based MCN star promotion program, has been launched. BeyoundK is a program which plans and creates contents for Hallyu based global creators. It is a one-stop program cooperated by GoodTimeWithMe(KBEAT) and Wish Company, which also manages all from the producing of projects, managing, marketing, and creating profit.
GoodTimeWithMe is a startup which is based on the KPOP fandom community service and the network with Hallyu based MCN stars. For last two years, by conducting various Hallyu based global marketing projects, GoodTimeWithMe has managed to promote YouTube stars such as Megan Bowen, Nardy Santana. Wish Company is a global cosmetic distribution corporation, and it has the know-how of promoting beauty creators. Both companies support planning, creating and marketing of global creators’ contents, and they manage sponsorships so that they can create profit.
'Megan Bowen, who’s got 350,000 subscribers mainly from English speaking countries, who has a Hallyu based contents channel named ChoNunMigookSaram, and a KPOP group named Topp Dogg’s collaboration project 'Kpop Stars Pronounce Western Female Names’ can be a good example. This project which benchmarked the viral video format of Buzz Feed’s, and adapted it to Korean KPOP group, has got 1million views in a week, 650,000 likes and 6700 comments. Within a week, it reached the record which is beyond the average of BuzzFeed contents’ viewer participation records. This project video was spontaneously re-spreaded by Hallyu and Kpop related vertical media such as All-KPOP, KMUSIC and KOOGLE TV, and HUNUS entertainment, a Topp Dogg’s agency, could meet their global marketing needs.
Nardy Santana who collected 160,000 subscribers within a year since she opened her YouTube channel called Latina Saram’s case is also noteworthy. Her specialty lies to the demographic of her major subscribers compare to domestic top MCN stars’. 81% of her subscribers are 10s to 20s women mainly from South America such as Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Chile and Argentina. Nardy is a Curasumer(Someone who senses the need of change in a product service or quality earlier than others and try to seek the solution and lead the market) who deals with Hallyu related contents and products. Now she is an ambassador of Comandstay which is an accommodation information offering service for those who visit Korea for a short or long stay, and she is introducing some places to stay in Korea for Spanish speaking subscribers regularly.
Last 23rd, JungSung Jo from KBEAT said KBEAT aims to build a sustainable platform which can promote YouTube stars like Megan Bowen, Nardy Santana at the opening ceremony of KBEAT studio which is sponsored by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and KOFICE. He also added that opening an offline place for planning and creating contents is a significant start, and KBEAT will communicate with global creators continuously. Meanwhile, a Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism official said Hallyu based global creators’ quality contents need to spread continuously, and hopefully this could be the new power of a way to spread Hallyu globally.
South Korea opened its largest startup complex near Seoul on Tuesday as part of its efforts to boost promising local startups and attract foreign companies. The "startup campus" in Pangyo, just south of Seoul, is designed to nurture more than 200 startups, offering workspace and consulting services for capital funding, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
They include the Yozma Group, an Israel-based global venture capital firm, and TEDCO, created by the Maryland State Legislature to support startups. Pangyo -- Korea's answer to the U.S. Silicon Valley -- is home to many technology companies, including NCsoft, a leading game developer.
"I hope that the startup campus will become a gateway that would link our startups to global markets," President Park Geun-hye said in the facility's opening ceremony. She also said the startup campus should spread Korea's ecosystem for startups to the world and play a part in attracting foreign investors.
The new campus is expected to become a hub for global start-ups and ICT-related businesses, authorities said. They added that they expect aspiring entrepreneurs to create more than 1,000 startups through the startup campus in the coming decade.
Park, meanwhile, said artificial intelligence and the information communication technology sector could be promising areas for startups and technological innovations that can fuel economic growth.
Her comments came amid newfound interest in artificial intelligence in Korea and other countries following the high-profile tournament between Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo and Korean Go champ Lee Se-dol.
AlphaGo, designed by Google's London-based firm DeepMind, beat Lee 4-1 in the five-round Go tournament. Park asked young Koreans to create new value and jobs through innovation, instead of competing against each other over existing jobs.
Social dating ‘Charmy’ has successfully completed it’s beta and announced an official launch of the service.
Charmy is a dating app using 'ranking' and 'matching' solution which matches partners based on the rank much like the very well known on-line game League of Legends (LOL).
Experiences like being frustrated of not being able to meet a likable match, Charmy has designed its service to minimize the fatigue by adopting ranking system.
Basically the users of the 'deep sea (Bronze~Silver)' are not able to meet the users of the 'celestial world(Platinum~Diamond)'.
An Jae Won, the CEO of Charmy states ‘The current social dating services introduces popular users through expensive in-app payments but this is only giving false hope. Charmy does not use false hope as a profit model. Instead it induces users to improve their profile and get elevated in ranking system."
Charmy users can actually check their real time updated attractiveness rank for free. Based on beta usage, Charmy found that 10% of the users are replacing their profile photos and improving their profile daily.
Furthermore he says “At first most of the male users have registered a selfie in a bathroom mirror as their profile pictures. They didn't have idea on what photos can earn the favor of the opposite sex, but as time goes they gave efforts to re-design their profile and be elevated. We will provide a profile optimization tool based on data to help make an appropriate profile easily.”
According to a research from the Korea Consumer Agency, social dating is a potential market that has doubled in size just last year. The negative perception of people is gradually improving through positive cases of social dating. Good things are anticipated for this application that focuses on the core of social dating, the ‘profile’.
KOISRA Seed Partners, the first Korea-Israel Seed Fund and Accelerator and Mass Challenge based in Boston with satellites in the UK and Israel, signed on partnership agreement last week in order to develop the Korean-Israel startup eco-system. For the first step of collaboration, KOISRA Seed Partners will help Mass Challenge attract Korean startups to participate in its acceleration program in Israel during July~October 2016.
The finalists of the acceleration program will enjoy the global mentoring, office space, education, and access to a vast network of partners, experts and investors, other resources during the 4 months of acceleration program and also $250,000 in cash prizes and $10 million in-kind. All these benefits will be given without any equities taken from Mass Challenge. Any early stage startups which have not raised over $500k of investment and don’t have more than $1M in annual revenue can apply for the program.
The collaboration between KOISRA Seed Partners and Mass Challenge will provide 100% discount of application fee and "Fast-track” directly into 2nd Round judging to 3 Korean startups. Korean startups which are interested in this program may apply through KOISRA Seed Partners’ website until 31 March 2016.
Korean game contents maker 'CSP Media' with its purpose to enter the European market, is producing big screen games in 2016 Cebit Hannover.
CSP Media game solution connects user's smartphones with a smart TV (including TV with OTT or a Setup Box) offering an opportunity to play multiplayer games using smartphone as a console.
CSP Media has successfully entered the Chinese market through contracts with Chinese platform providers including the biggest Chinese TV game publisher Wocheng, Taiwan HF Net, Chinese MGT, and Togic. An official launch date for Smart TV platforms such as Xiaomi, LeTV is scheduled on the 5th of May 2016.
CSP Media currently offers 6 kinds of games. 'Space runner' for example requires players to shake their smartphone or to breathe out air into the microphone of smartphone. The game 'Hi-Q' is a game which requires fast reaction, where players battle against each other, solving logical and creative questions.
In 2016 it aims to launch 19 games (including 9 games with external co-partners), which focuses not only adult players but also children. CSP Media's children focused games are to be developed for education purposes. Additionally, a social casino game for adult groups will be launched soon.
At 2016 Cebit Hannover, CSP Media is seeking opportunities with the company Venz in order to launch its games in Europe.
The CEO of CSP Media, Ray Yoo strongly believes that with the growth of Smart TV market, the demand of game contents which can be played at home would increase. With the success in the Chinese market, it aims to enter the European market with diverse and more customer friendly games for European consumers.
CSP Media was created in March of 2013 and it currently has 14 employees and asset of 700 thousand dollars.
Mobile, Game and Technology investment specialist, K Cube Ventures and Stone Bridge Capital have invested US$860k (KRW 1b) into Washon, a laundry service operator. Washon is an on-demand laundry service allowing its users to select collection and return times that are most convenient for them. This O2O (online to offline) came to fruition after Chae J00 Byung, an experienced laundry operator joined forces with IT professionals with experiences working with Naver, Oracle and other Korean IT companies.
Washon currently operates in the Sungnam district of Seoul, after prioritizing the emphasis on service quality rather than expanding the regional coverage. So far the company is bringing innovation to the laundry service industry, whilst delivering a level of service unable to be matched by competitors.
Washon serviced laundry are thoroughly inspected before release and they are able to deliver a high level of service at competitive prices. The service is a first of its kind and allows users to select the laundry location and provides access to an accident compensation system. At the distribution centre, the laundry undergoes another quality check before dispatch.
Washon is currently working on the development of managing the interface with the customer upon delivery. The development is driven by the recognition for the importance of customer service and maintaining employee education that develops customer services techniques.
Washon will utilize this investment to expand their laundry service factory and introduce new services, including a premium laundry service, wash and fold service, car seat service, baby pram laundry service, and clothing alteration service. Washon will also look at increasing their service range from Sungnam district to other Seoul districts.
Chae Joo Byung from Washon commented, “The modern family find the home duty labour to be cumbersome and our laundry service will assist time poor families. We also wish to increase our services into home care services”.
Jung Shin Ah, the representative from K Cube Ventures commented, “Washon have an established reputation and knowledge of the laundry service industry”. “The way in which Washon delivers their service is a paradigm for the industry”.