GRAFFITI Startup Festival 2021
ICISTS, which consists of KAIST undergraduates, have been hosting ICISTS, Asia’s largest international university conference, for the past 16 years. In 2019, ICISTS hosted “ICISTS 2019” as well as “1st GRAFITI” to spread the startup culture.
The event was held to form bonds and maximize capabilities of passionate and spirited university students interested in the startup ecosystem.
“GRAFFITI 2021” is a non-face-to-face startup festival that takes into account the COVID-19 situation and further develops “ICISTS 2019”.
The conference aims to provide the experience of initial startup process, and expand as well as increase the inflow of the startup ecosystem.
“ WHY GRAFFITI Startup Festival? ”
ICISTS is very similar to a startup.
ICISITS pursues a greater growth through ‘meeting people’, and GRAFFITI was a new challenge and ambition for the organization.
Through GRAFFITI 2021, the organization aimed to spread the vision and value of ICISTS.
The investment game proceeded in the form of a round survival game, and each round had a different concept.
An example of concepts was “How the current team was formed & the team culture”. Like so, the investment game focused on bringing out the values and philosophies of student startup teams rather than their technologies and ideas.
In the middle of the session, YouTuber “EO” and CEO Junghee Ryu of Futureplay joined the panel and commented on the stories of the student startup teams, establishing an open conversation.
The final round consisted of 3 teams who did live pitching, and winners received awards and prizes.
1st place was ‘labNote’, a team that develops a data record system and machine learning solution for research,
2nd place was ‘Waddle’ who runs a machine learning-based mobile shopping application ‘Sori Market’ for people who are visually impaired,
and 3rd place was ‘Maring’, a company creating depression-relieving contents.
Participants who invested to teams were also rewarded depending on the cumulative return on investment.
CEOs of active startups in the ecosystem joined the festival and shared their startup stories and challenge spirits.
CEO Yuwon Lee of ‘Banjiha Games’ and CEO Chaerin Lee of ‘CLASSUM’ joined, and Youtube Live streaming made the talk concert much more lively.
Under the hosting of the YouTube creator “EO”, CEO Sedong Nam of ‘VoyagerX’ and CEO Jay Choi of ‘Button Soup’, CEO Sungjun Jung of ‘Mr.Mention’ discussed topics on startup culture of 20s and student startups. It was a time to talk about various subjects, and through Youtube Live, the speakers received various comments and questions.
Team project was designed for participants to experience the process of starting a business.
Each of the nine startups participating in GRAFFITI 2021 was matched with 3 or 4 teams.
The key of the team project is for participants to think like a member of the startup and experience the shortened startup process with the matched startup.
Step 1. Team matching – matching with startups
Step 2. Get to know pt. 1 – startups introduce their companies / participants identify and understand matched startups
Step 3. Get to know p3t. 2 – analysis and ideation of startups
Step 4. Verification – verify marketability and feasibility of ideas through market research
Step 5. Design – develop ideas through prototyping and creating business models
Step 6. Presentation – present in front of other participants and startups
In the team project session, there was a lecture and Q&A session by Mario Garcia Lee, CEO of Lighting up Ventures to facilitate the activities of the participants.
During the final evaluation, participants received comments from the leading domestic VCs such as ‘Mirae Holdings’, ‘FuturePlay’, and ‘Mira Partners’.
Most people are afraid of failure, and they fear starting a business due to the potential loss and failure.
Fail-con was like a radio station and delivered a message that failure was not an end in itself, but a nourishment for greater growth.
Startups that experienced many failures, VCs who observed these failures, and participants discussed and tried to see failures from a new perspective.
Fail-con consisted of VC talk, speaker pitching, and failure story interviews.
During the VC talk, CEO Shinhyuk Kang of ‘Coolidge Corner Investment’ and CEO Mira Park of ‘Mira Partners’ talked about the failure of startups from an investor’s perspective.
During speaker pitching, the stories of 3 speakers who experienced failures from startups and used the failure as an opportunity to live fuller lives provided a new perspective on failures.
In the failure story interview, two participants shared failure on a deeper level and it was a time to allay fear on the word “failure”.
Five major institutes of science and technology (KAIST, GIST, DGIST, UNIST, POSTECH) hold annual joint startup competitions among promising startups from each university to strength the solidarity of startups and propel competition. This year was the 7th competition, and the competition has produced many startup teams so far. Let’s take a look at the 2020 X-IST Startups Competition!
Preliminaries in each university
Each university selected 2 promising startup teams to participate in the X-IST competition final. This year’s preliminary was conducted online due to COVID-19. KAIST selected ‘Aldaver’ and ‘Spidercore’, finalist teams from a lab research-based startup program E*5 LabStartup.
Main event (Final round)
On December 4, 10 teams selected through preliminaries from each university competed against each other through a mock investment pitching method. The presenting teams and evaluation committee were present at the site, and there were about 200 participants watching online. Each team had 10 minutes for the presentation, which was followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. 5 external experts (investors and startup experts) recommended by each university evaluated the business feasibility and excellence of participating teams.
After the presentation, the results of the competition were tallied and there was an award ceremony at the site. Team ‘Aldaver’ from KAIST presented about ‘Developing the next generation artificial cadaver technology using functional hydrogel’and won the grand prize. Aldaver received a prize of 5 million won and an award from the Ministry of Science and ICT. 2 teams received the awards of excellence, and 2 teams received the awards of encouragement. There were teams who didn’t receive awards, but teams learned a lot from other teams and recognized them as competitors in good faith.
Which teams will be competing in the future? We look forward to next year!
KAIST Student Startup Audition Program
E*5 KAIST (17th)
Total of 64 Participants
2020. 9. 22 – 2020. 12. 4
1 Grand Prize / 2 Awards of Excellence / 1 Special Prize / 1 Activity Award
17th Mentor Group
E*5 KAIST Graduate Founders
MIssion + Activity
1 Mentor was assigned to each team for training, and 3 Seniors were assigned to coach the teams on a regular basis. After the training and coaching stages, teams were selected through evaluation to receive additional funding.
During the program, teams visited mentors (Mentoring), met with field experts to solve issues (Networking), visited startups (Field Trip), conducted market research (Research), and collaborated through activities and team meetings (Teamwork). All activities were uploaded and recorded on ‘CLASSUM’.
In addition to programs that foster entrepreneurship and spread startup culture, KAIST has supported startup audition programs. Many startup teams were produced in 2020, and ‘2020 KAIST Startup Awards’ was held to select the best startup teams. Due to COVID-19, Startup KAIST could not provide the opportunity to attend CES. However, through the awards Startup KAIST discovered startup teams and plan to foster them as a unicorn company through continuous support.
Selection Process & Procedures
2020 KAIST Startup Awards was joined by 10 senior entrepreneurs, investors, and related specialists as evaluation committee members. The committee evaluated the 1st preliminary application round focusing on creativity, specificity, and business feasibility, and selected 11 teams. In the 2nd presentation round, the committee evaluated teams based on their startup passion, development and business capabilities, business feasibility, and excellence in commercialization plans, and selected 4 final teams.
At the 2020 KAIST Startup Awards, a total of four excellent teams were selected, including 1 Grand Prize, 1 Award of Excellence (2nd Prize), and 2 Awards of Excellence (3rd Prize). The Grand Prize winner was ‘Chequer’, a startup developing a data access control and audit trail SQL collaboration solution. 2nd Prize was given to SelectStar, and 3rd Prize was given to ‘QuantumCat’ and ‘Dolbomdream’. Congratulations to the final winners and we look forward to the success and future of the teams!