Global Entrepreneurship Camp 2019 Review

In July of 2019, passionate students from ten colleges around the world gather at KAIST!

Startup KAIST has hosted summer Global Entrepreneurship Camp (GEC) since 2015 with partner universities. Shall we take a look at 2019 GEC Camp?

(You can click on the small photos for larger view)

2019 GEC, what was new?

This year’s camp was held July 7th ~ 13th in conjunction with summer semester course “Understanding Startup (KEI510)”. The camp was facilitated by one main coordinator, two facilitators, and two past participants from Denmark Technical University (DTU).

Who are the participants, and where are they from?

This year’s camp was attended by a total of 38 students, 12 of whom are participants of KEI510 class, and 26 students from 10 universities, including Tsinghua University (China), École Polytechnique (France), Technical University of Denmark, HKUST (Hong Kong), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich -ETH Zurich, University of Waterloo (Canada), UNIST, GIST and KAIST.

In addition, students of 13 nations – Denmark, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Japan, China, Cameroon, Turkey, France, Philippines and South Korea – had time to network with each other.



참가 국적 별 분포도2

참여대학 및 인원분포

Tell me more about the program.


Camp program started on July 7th with the agenda and team assignment shown above, with an emphasis on lectures and team activities regarding entrepreneurship and startups.

Students had an opportunity to have hands-on experience in making, planning and selling like ‘Lemonade Stand’ experience, and also listened on special lectures by the Director of Startup KAIST, followed by final pitch session simulating demo investment. There was also time allotted for Korean Culture experience and trip to Jeonju Hanok Village.


So the camp was run in teams?

Yes, students formed teams on first day and proceeded through the entire camp.

There were a total of 6 teams of different universities and nationalities.

Now, shall we take a look at the teams’ ideas?


Who is the winner?

The judge panel for the final winner selection, which was held in form of mock investment, included Director Steve Ahn of Startup KAIST, Professor Jaewoo Kim, Professor Jinho Lee, Professor Choonghwan Lee, Professor Jeamin Koo, Wayne Siew, Philip Park, Sean Tan, and Kevin Kwon.

Team Virterior was the final winner.


What did the participating students think of the camp?

The overall satisfaction score of the camp was 4.4 points out of 5, which is considered to be an excellent score.

There was a high level of satisfaction expressed with the coordinator + facilitator operation, which was tried for the first time this year.

Students were asked to give feedback about the camp, and the answers will be reflected in the following camps.

To all the 26 global entrepreneurs who participated this year!

We hope that Global Entrepreneurship Camp 2019 was a memorable and valuable experience, and hope it was a chance to meet life-long friends. We wish the best for you, and hope to see you again soon. Thank you for being patient with the the hectic schedule, and thank you for making the camp successful!

이제 정말 안녕! Good bye! さようなら! Farvel! 再见! Adieu! Selamat tinggal! Güle güle! Magandang bye! Xayr! Yaxsi! وداعا


August 2019 Startup Festival Graffiti Review

What is Startup?

What comes to your mind when you hear “startup”? To start, you probably started thinking about Google, Facebook, Kakao, Toss, Riiid, Market Kurly, etc.

We wonder about how their success and know-how, and we even conduct studies and analysis about their services and products.

But our organizing committee wanted to asked more fundamental questions:

‘What type of people become startup entrepreneurs?’

‘What moves them to establish a business?’

and so on.

And we decided exactly one year ago,

To inquire about “startup mentality” and “story,” and create an event that gives a glimpse into their footsteps.

Through this, we hope to circulate entrepreneurship and ‘startup’ culture to our local communities.

WHY GRAFFITI Startup Festival?

GRAFFITI Startup Festival is unique in that it deals with ‘startup mentality’, but the primary purpose is to shape the ‘societal atmosphere’.

Our society today has tendencies to emphasize and prioritize  ‘safe’ choices.

At GRAFFITI Startup Festival, we believe that we can challenge ourselves beyond this perception.

We want to stimulate a culture that encourages more challenging choices, and promote attention to the ‘WANT to do’ rather than ‘HAVE to do.



Startup teams that participated were those that are in early-stage and/or just started preparing their launch. Our selection of 12 startup teams were made based on the answers to the organizing committee’s questions.

The teams selected were Pickle(피클), Seuk-Sak(슥삭), ReDWit(레드윗), Youtube Planet(유튜브 플래닛), Select Stars(셀렉트스타), Haedal Programming(해달 프로그래밍), Moving(무빙), NewPage(뉴페이지), Grouping(그루핑), Pavilion and Fitcare.

Investment Game involved students participating in startup teams’ pitching sessions and investing their “Graffiti Point” virtual assets.

The main event was carried out in form of survival rounds and each startup teams’ representatives carried out presentations accordingly, and participants made their investments based on the presentations.

Final winner was selected based on the investments made by the participants.

There was also a surprise event during the Investment Game!

There was time set aside for photoshoot with the GRAFFITI event sponsors as well as survival quiz, etc.

First place winner was awarded cash prize of 1,500,000 Won (~$1,500), second place 1,000,000 Won (~$1,000), and third place 500,000 Won (~$500).

There were prizes given to participants who made the best investments, first prize 150,000 Won (~$150), second prize 100,000 Won (~$100), third prize 50,000 Won (~$50).

For the winning startup team, up to 10 match-making opportunities are given during the second half of the event.

This year’s GRAFFITI Startup Festival Investment Game Winners were Pickle(1st Place), Seuk-Sak(2nd Place), Youtube Planet(3rd Place).

Thanks to all the startup teams that participated in the GRAFFITI Startup Festival, and hope this experience is a good foundation for all future endeavors and success.

Talk Concert

This year’s talk concert consisted of ‘STARTUP X GRAFFITI’ and ‘VC X GRAFFITI’.

Kim Tae-Yong of content startup EO led the Talk Concert as MC.

‘STARTUP X GRAFFITI’ session was led by Joo-Eun Seo, CEO Buzzville, and Lim Soo-Yeol, CEO of Frip. They talked about the opportunities and difficulties of starting a business, including collaboration between developers and management.

‘VC X GRAFFITI’ session was led by Yong-Kwan Lee, CEO of Blue Point Partners, and Jung-Min Lim, CEO of 500 Startup Korea. As representatives of VCs, they gave advice on what a successful startup looks like and shared the story of “Failure Gravity Field”.

Match making & After Party

After dinner, there was a one-on-one, GRAFFITI-exclusive “Match Making’ session at a cafe in Doonsan-dong.

Match making involved startup teams and “investors” who met over Kakaotalk messaging during the Investment Game.

On the basis of the resumes provided by the participants, the sponsors were given 10 chances for sponsorship, and the start-up team was given a chance to apply for the round.

Participants could also meet with the startup team representatives or sponsors by requesting meetings with the startup teams or sponsors who were interested in the investment game.

Through this, we wanted to provide a great motivation to the startup team and sponsors for the future journey, and to provide general participants with the opportunity to dive into the startup ecosystem.

14th E*5 KAIST (`19 Spring)

KAIST Startup Incubating Program

E*5 KAIST (14th)

  • 18 Teams

    71 Total Participants

  • Timeline

    2019. 3. 29 – 2019. 6. 14

  • Outstanding Teams

    Grand Prize 1 Team / Runner-Up Awards 2 Teams / Special Recognition (Growth Award) 1 Team/ Activity Excellence Award 1 Team









Activity 우수팀


  • Mentors

    14th E*5 Mentors

Yong Kwan Lee

Yong Kwan Lee


Bluepoint Partners CEO

Hwa Seong Jeon

Hwa Seong Jeon



Ki Jun Kim

Ki Jun Kim


Kakao Ventures VP

Tae Yeon Jeon

Tae Yeon Jeon


BonAngels Ventures Partner

  • Seniors(선배창업자)

    E*5 KAIST Graduate Entrepreneurs

Min Young Hwang (2nd E*5)

Min Young Hwang (2nd E*5)

Video Factory Inc. CEO

Jeong Min Oh (3rd E*5)

Jeong Min Oh (3rd E*5)

HayanMind Inc. CEO

Chang Gi Hong (8th E*5)

Chang Gi Hong (8th E*5)

H2K Inc. CEO

  • Details

    Execution of Missions & Activities

MISSION내용세부 일정Activity
Mission 1.
Business Model
비즈니스 모델 수립 통한 사업 아이디어 구체화 및 개선1박 2일 Camp로 진행(3.29~3.30)계속
Mission 2.
Customer Discovery
목표시장 이해 및 분석을 통한 아이디어의 사업화 검증교육 : 4월 11일
코칭 : 정기코칭 및 상시코칭
평가 : 5월 10일
Mission 3.
Pitch Deck
아이디어의 사업계획 수립 등 사업 Overview교육 : 5월 16일
코칭 : 정기코칭 및 상시코칭
MISSION FINAL 평가Overview PitchingFinal 평가 : 6월 14일계속

25개 팀 중, 1차미션을 통해 선발된 18개의 프로젝트팀은 각각의 미션 수행을 통해 각 아이디어의 사업화를 진행하였으며, 각 미션은 교육, 코칭, 평가로 구성되어 진행되었다.

미션 교육

미션 코칭 (By Seniors)

미션 평가

미션별 멘토 1인이 교육을 담당하였으며, Senior(선배창업자) 3인이 전담 팀을 정기/상시 코칭하였다. 교육과 코칭을 통하여 미션별 수행한 내용에 대하여, 평가를 통해 우수팀에게는 추가 지원금을 획득할 수 있는 기회가 제공되었다.





Field Trip

Special Tutoring

프로그램 동안 멘토를 방문하여 멘토링(Mentoring)을 받고, 분야별 전문가와 만나 이슈를 해결하며(Networking), 창업 기업을 방문(Field Trip), 시장조사(Research) 등의 활동이나 팀 미팅(Teamwork)을 수행한 내용들을 ‘CLASSUM’에 업로드함으로써 Activity를 수행하였다.

It’s Your Turn,


  • Photos

    3개월 간의 기록들

KAIST Startup-ting X Ghost Kitchen Comments

Our third KAIST Startup-ting was with Ghost Kitchen. Ghost Kitchen is a shared-kitchen startup. Shared kitchen startups are uncommon in Korea, but in the US, Union Kitchen and Kitchen Town are already leading the market. Jeongi Choi of Ghost Kitchen is a graduate of KAIST Department of Electrical Engineering. He has done 6 startups for the past 20 years including Ghost Kitchen. 2 as a founding member, and 3 as a directly founder. He has experienced many difficulties including business failure.

Prior to founding Ghost Kitchen, representative Choi served as IR Director of “Baemin” (배달의 민족). He was part of the IR department and was in charge of investment promotion and startup investment. As he did his work there, he found the potential behind restaurant business and thus started a shared kitchen startup.

Ghost Kitchen focuses on making a workplace for food service workers. Because the market for restaurants is huge and food delivery service is becoming more popular, there is huge potential in shared kitchens. Ghost Kitchen is currently developing not only a shared kitchen, but also food brands such as Tokyo Bapsang and Tokyo Curry, and food delivery service.

After the introduction, there was a serious discussion session with students about what motivates them to start a business. It provided students a chance to reflect upon themselves and question why they want to work and what kind of items they would like to sell.

Representative Jeongi Choi and CTO Sangyeong Oh also told us about the stories related to Ghost Kitchen. CTO Sangyeong Oh representative Jeongi Choi’s startup buddy during the initial stages of startup. They did not start together, but at some point, they became good buddies. CTO Sangyeong Oh develops as a hobby and he uses his technical skills to solve problems. For example, he developed an application that allows you to survey 3 representative companies of electric personal mobilities (kickboard) that are popular these days. He is in the process of developing several apps for Ghost Kitchen. He gave practical advice in a professional manner and told us about his life as a developer. It was a valuable time for students to think again about their future career.

The mentoring session helped students realize what they didn’t know about, what to prepare for, and what they want to do. Students who wanted more advice spent more time with the Ghost Kitchen representative and CTO.

We hope that students will become more interested in startup through close encounters with their founding KAIST alumni and work together. We look forward to your active participation for the next KAIST Startup-ting.

KAIST Startup-ting X Lunch Meetup Summary

The second story of KAIST Startup-ting was with Heybit, a computer and blockchain startup that provide a shared network for AI development. This startup-ting was specially run in the form similar to a lunch talk. After the lunch session, there was a career mentoring session with AI developers and representatives. It  was a good chance to have deep and meaningful conversations with KAIST alumni and company representatives. Moreover, it was a time for students and alumni to become closer to one another as they share similar experiences. Students freely asked questions about their career and got useful advice. Career mentoring session was satisfying for both the companies and the students.

Each company gave a lecture on the theme of AI that brings financial innovation.

First was representative Chungyeop Lee, chief executive officer of Heybit, who presented about the future of robo-advisors and asset management. Robo-advisors integrate AI robots and asset management. An AI that learned the principles behind making profit through deep-learning manages the customer’s assets. The essential feature a using a robo-advisor is automation. However, so far, it only takes a small part in the market. Nonetheless, robo-advisors have been growing rapidly. Robo-advisor market size in the US is more than 200 times that of Korea. The greatest advantage of robo-advisors is that it is cheap. It reduces the amount of manpower and the amount of sales commission by direct sales through online channels.

On the other hand, robot-advisor market in Korea is still small. The desire to invest has deteriorated due to the long-term collapse of the Korean stock market and its regulations. Korean robo-advisors follow non-face-to-face business regulations. Still, demand for robot-advisors in Korea is increasing. Government support for fintech is on the rise. Robo-advisors are an important aspect of asset management and will be further developed in the future.

Heybit provides automated investment services based on digital assets. Haybit aims to encourage the popularization of digital asset investments and wish to explore a possible new market.

The next presentation was given by Common Computer. Common Computer is a startup that provides a shared network for AI development through blockchain technology. Representative Minhyun Kim, a graduate of KAIST School of Computing, gave a lecture on the subject of blockchain, smart contract, and AI. There are two kinds of AI. The first is Owned AI, AI which can be programmed (intercepted). The second is Autonomous AI, AI which cannot be intercepted. Currently, another type of AI, Autonomous AI, is under development. Autonomous AI is deeply related to blockchain. The AI network use blockchain technology to extend the open-source ecosystem for individuals to develop AI services. Common Computer is trying to complete an ‘open resource’ that allows anyone to freely share resources (computing resources) like open-source. Blockchain and AI is also deeply related to finance.

Common Computer plans to use AI so that ecosystem participants can lead a P2P non-centralized cloud virtual world. Common Computer is a company that combines shared economy and AI blockchain, the core business model of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The unique characteristic would be that they are suggesting a shared network where developers can run the AI that they need.

AI, blockchain, and robo-advisor. They seem like three separate topics, but Heybit and Common Computer can complement each other and can be merged. It was a topic of interest for both students and developers.

After the lecture, students who wanted to ask more questions had some time to talk with the representatives. 2:1 mentoring sessions, which registration was held in advance, were also held where students could individually get advice. Students were able to freely ask questions and get advice from senior developers. Participating students were able to indirectly experience the startup ecosystem of today. We hope this was a great opportunity for both students and companies and we will continue to work to make a better startup-ting in the future.

KAIST Startup-ting X Mindlogic Summary

Our first KAIST Startup-ting was with Mindlogic, a company that deals with AI chatbots.

Mindlogic was founded by people who wish to create AI that they want to work with. AI technology will become more significant continue to advance as time goes by. Thus, Mindlogic wishes to create an audio-based AI chatbot that is able to converse emotionally.

Existing AI chatbots are classified according to their characteristics, but they are mainly task and text based. Chatbots, with human emotional dialogue, are still under development. Even Google has not been able to develop emotional chatbots yet. The chatbot that Mindlogic wants to develop is an emotional lover chatbot that feels similar to a real lover. Currently we have been conducting beta tests as a prototype testing session with a virtual male and female version.

Through the company’s introduction, we were able to see Mindlogic’s desire to develop services that can improve people’s loneliness through AI technology. The company’s vision and slogan is ‘people who want to make an AI that they want to talk to’. We look forward to the development of an emotional chatbot that deals with human feelings.

The company, by using the insights from prototype testing, wishes to set the development direction for AI chabot engine and native application for AI lover chatbot under development based on deep learning technology. We are looking for someone who would like to make these AI chatbots together. Working at Mindlogic will be a very valuable experience. We plan to utilize open source technologies to conduct research and development in collaboration with Mindlogic co-representatives. The developed system will be linked to Mindlogic’s dialog engine and will be used for services to be released later this year.

Although the day of the startup-ting was Friday, many students came and showed interest in the company and summer internship. Students who were interested in AI have also been able to get practical answers to their questions through in-depth Q&A session.

Startup-ting is a time for companies and students to meet each other and get to know each other. Company officials and students confront each other and find out about the difficulties they normally cannot converse about. It was a time satisfactory to both students and companies.

June 27th Startup People at Pangyo “Startup Culture in Japan”

During the June Startup People at Pangyo event, VP Seokyoung Hong gave a memorable lecture on the topic, “Are Your Customers Allowed to be Happy Just Once?”.

VP Seokyoung Hong is recognized by many corporations inside and outside of Korea. He has experience in working as a developer at companies such as Cyworld, Golfzon, and Picoma, and is currently working as a developer and is in charge of ‘Pairs’ at Eureka, a company that is a part of Match Group which is an American corporation. He is responsible for global business and marketing strategies as the leader of the global team and ‘Pairs’.

  • The characteristics of Japanese startups are information sharing , reproduction of success, and the growth of employees.

Although the difference is quite small, the reproduction of success is seemingly easier in Japanese startups than that of Korean startups. Japanese companies are not very different from other business fields such as satellites, robots, secondhand markets, finance, and AI. Each company is unique. The similarities that successful Japanese companies share are things such as investment attractions, M&A, and listed companies, but these factors are just means for business expansion. A company’s vision is considered most important in Japanese companies as it is related to the target customer’s values. The following summarizes how Japan’s venture companies have grown over the years.

1st Generation: Infrastructure business and investor model – SoftBank

2nd Generation: Platform based web-service model, mega-venture – Yahoo Japan, CyberAgent, DeNA  etc.

3rd Generation: Vertical field specialized mobile service – Startups (Eureka, ZOZOTOWN)

Recent Japanese startups combine craftsmanship and IT services, which means that they are IT services that updates slowly, but focuses on the values of the company. These startups emerged after reflecting upon the weaknesses the past Japanese manufacturers had. Past Japanese products were easy to use, but they lacked the reason behind the purchase. Japanese companies now aim to satisfy the customer’s needs in markets where customers make their own choices.

Therefore, Japanese startups aims to become a service that solves the customer’s problems or that satisfies their needs. The visions or mission statements of each startups are different, but the companies that have visions that connect with customer needs are often the most successful.

Hence it can be said that “needs x number of customers = marketability”.

Are Your Customers Allowed to be Happy Just Once?

It is more important to grab the loyal customer’s attention rather than increasing the scale of the business.

Needs x Number of Repurchasing Customers = Market Growth

The above equation could be the answer to the reproduction of success, one of the major characteristics of Japanese startups. Instead of selling products as much as possible at a low price, companies think about how to sell the product at a higher cost for a long time and focus on solving the problems that customers face.

In Japan, where long-living, high value services and products are successful in the market, it is more important to think about the continuous demand and sustainability of the service. A particular service or item is said to have potential in the market when it can be sold to a number of people at a higher value and higher price for multiple times. Eureka also puts a great amount of thought in developing services that customers are able to use for a long period of time. High value does not simply mean high quality services or high quality brands. The term ‘high value’ refers to services in which customers are willing to pay at a high price as they feel the service satisfies their needs and meets their values. Japanese companies tend to focus on creating long-term customer values rather than looking for short-lived business items.

Attracting high value loyal customers, aiming for high price. This is Eureka, one of the leading companies in Japan.

Eureka-Taiwan, Japan’s NO.1 Dating Service App

“Helping People Find their Soul Mates, Dating Service as Part of Asia’s Culture”

To help people find their life partner and make dating services a social norm in Asia. This is Eureka’s motto.

Currently in the U.S, approximately one out of 3 couples meet through online dating apps. Japanese online dating market, although it was not as active as that of the U.S, has grown to an extent such that one out of 21 couples meet through online dating apps. Hence, it is thought that Japanese online dating services have the potential to expand their business as big as that of the U.S.

Eureka’s ‘Pairs’ service currently targets Asia’s Top 3 Market, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. ‘Pairs’ is currently the most popular number one dating service app in Taiwan and Japan. The service has been recently opened in Korea as well. The app helps users to find their best match based on their interests through its AI recommendation system based on big data, search system, premium service, and other recommendation services. It ensures safety by its default adult authentication process. Unlike other apps, Eureka has its own surveillance team that watches out for potential harmful users for 24 hours by using AI technology. When a user decides to delete his or her account, the app asks the user to fill out a survey and conducts a tracking analysis in order to find out the reason behind his or her actions. Luckily, in most cases, users decide to delete his or her account when they successfully find someone.

18,500. What does this number represent?

It represents the number of  married couples who met through ‘Pairs’ in 2017.

After the main lecture there was a discussion session, and many people asked questions and gave comments regarding ‘Pairs’ and Japanese startups.

Many suggested that in order to increase the number of ‘Pairs’ users in Korea, we have to first break the strong distrust and doubt that the Korean society has about online dating. Some added that the fear of personal information leakage is also another problem that we have to overcome.

We thank VP Seokyoung Hong for his time and effort. His lecture was a great opportunity to learn more about Japan and ‘Pairs’.

We hope that someday ‘Pairs’ will be come the number one dating app and we look forward to the influence that ‘Pairs’ will have in Korea.

May Lunch Talk : Handstudio Representative Donghun Kim, a Story of a Company that Aims for 0% Employee Resignation Rate Rather than Attaining Huge Profits

May Lunch talk : Handstudio Representative Donghun Kim, a Story of a Company that Aims for 0% Employee Resignation Rate Rather than Attaining Huge Profits

On May 30th, Handstudio represntative Donghun Kim gave a lecture on the topic of “A Story of a Company that Aims for 0% Employee Resignation Rate Rather than Attaining Huge Profits”.  Handstudio is a company that develops and provides multimedia/software.

Representative Kim started off his speech with the “5 Ws” (who, what, where, when, why). In most cases, people say that the reason for engaging in startup related business is just to ‘earn money’. Represenative Kim gave his own perspective about the reason behind the action of ‘starting a business’.

Long-Lasting Successful Life

KakaoTalk_Moim_6cKTvglD2NHT9WiZdbyUwYySIdfBRvAt first, representative Kim was not interested in academics. He could not find any reason behind studying. Nevertheless, he was certain about what he wanted to do. He wanted to run his own music store and hence he decided to immerse himself in the world of music. One day, his mother promised him that she would buy him 1 music record every time his score rises by 1 point. Having found his reason to study, representative Kim raised is score by 150 points.

After entering his dream school and realizing that running a music store is not an easy job, representative Kim turned his interest to becoming a music magazine editor. Unfortunately, after his military service, all the music magazines have gone broke. After that, he decided to become a PD at a radio company, a career more recognized by the society. He contacted many professional producers and in the end succeeded in entering a broadcasting center.

One day, he came across a great opportunity. He received a request to sell a broadcast that is run by the company broadcasting center. Representative Kim, having earned a great amount of money by running a broadcast at a big broadcasting company, achieved the highest listener rating in 20 years, did a live broadcast of the Olympic games for 20 days, received a prize at headquarters, and was scouted to the United States with the condition of issuing a E1 visa. He thought that he achieved all of the things that he wanted to achieve. He could have never imagined a better life that this.

Restructuring,  a Process of Asking ‘Why’

One day, representative Kim became aware of what was happening around him – he observed that the office was continually being restructured. All of the employees were dedicated and were talented individuals, but some were fired solely because there was a increase in wage. Representative Kim, after having gone through the situation where his boss committed suicide, thought that it was very ironical. The fact that some employees were fired just because of their age was shocking for him. He suddenly became unsure – would it be possible to find a compromise between the work that I want to do and the need for me to be in a certain organization? He realized that modern society simply ‘consumes’ and ‘utilizes’ people.

From this point, representative Kim thought about the question of what it is to be in an organization. People are not meant to live just to earn money. Rejecting an job offer from the United States, he came back to Korea and attended university for 4 years.

  • Do I really want to do this job?

  • Am I willing to deceive myself for the rest of my life?

  • Does that exceed my parents?

After giving much thought, he reached the conclusion that he had the desire to ‘live as a human being’. Representative Kim decided not to go to the United States and for 6 months, he put in effort in finding out about ‘what he was interested in’ instead of finding out a way to ‘enter a prestigious company’ like most other college graduates. He regretted the fact that he did not try to answer the question of ‘why’ in his life before graduating.

KakaoTalk_Moim_6cKTvglD2NHT9WiZdbyUwYySId0LbbA Hierarchical Society that Considers Money as its First Priority : Why do we earn money in the first place?

During his trip to Europe, representative Kim noticed something about the toilets in Venice. People had to pay about 4,000 to 5,000 Korean won every time they used the toilet. After doing the math, he found out that toilet janitors in Venice can earn about 2.3 billion Korean won per year. He then thought to himself that it would be best to become a toilet janitor if we work just for the money.

The second company that representative Kim went to was a classical company. There, he observed a very strict hierarchy within the company’s community. The way the people of high status treated the janitors portrayed how ‘money is everything’. It was clear who were the ‘controllers’ and who were ‘the servants’ being controlled. The number of production facilities are finite, and people struggle in order to attain the ownership to these facilities. It would be best if the owners and the employees treat one another equally and create a good community, but in reality, this is hard to achieve. Capitalism considers manpower as a ‘resource’ and employees can always be replaced by another person with better skills or conditions. Representative Kim commented that it is important to think about who we want to be: a costly resource or a person who freely does the things he or she wants to do. He emphasized that before making any choices, we must clearly know who we want to be and what we truly want to do.

Handstudio, a Company that Thinks About its People First : The Growth and Decline of a Company

Representative Kim entered Handstudio, a company known to respect its people. He entered the company at the time when the teams were being formed and thus was able to share his life story with the other members. He enjoyed his work there and the company grew. From 2010 to 2013, the company grew twice the size every year. The number of workers also grew twice as much every year. As the number of employees increased, the young company gradually structured itself into groups and organizations. However, as smart televisions entered the market, the company started plummeting.

It is said that the true form of a company reveals when it is in danger, and Handstudio did not look good during its decline. Approximately 20 to 25 people resigned from Handstudio every year. As a result, it was difficult to maintain a strong connection among the employees. Representative Kim started losing his patience and started looking for other options, but he could not find a place that met his philosophy. In the end, representative Kim decided to become the head of a company that only had 500,000 Korean won left in its bank account. The following are the resolutions that he had when he started out as a company representative.

  • Team members are materials, not resources.

  • Think about our happiness more than efficiency.

  • Do not monopolize the production facilities.

  • Let us play the middleman who follows the rules that he makes.

  • Strongly resist against injustice

  • Do not receive any investments. (Let us not make any observers)

  • Lowering resignation rate is more important than making profit. (Need to put in effort to make an enjoyable company for the employees.)

  • We are not born to earn money.

  • We have the right to receive respect and trust from other people as human beings.

A Continuously Growing Company in a Humane Manner

Representative Kim wanted to create a comfortable company where the employees feel like they are at home. He thinks that an organization in which its members feel uncomfortable or unfortunate should never exist. As a result, Handstudio became a B2B company that had no operating costs and its sales increased by 60% in 2 years.

Soon, employees brought their siblings, friends, peers, and their spouse and introduced them to the company, describing that it is a great place to work in. Thanks to that, since the members in the group knew each other very well, things started to work well at the company. By applying the attendance notification system, the company let its employees to come to work after 9:30 AM if they send a notification in advance. Moreover, every Thursday, after the afternoon shift, the company held a Kartrider game league. The game league has already been held 12 times and employees are able to enjoy their free time by playing games. When a employee is found to have left the game room without turning the monitor off, he or she has to buy snacks for the other employees. When more than 4 people have the same hobby, they often form a mini club within the company. When employees get married, they are given a financial support of approximately 10 million Korean won. Parties are also held at least every month. For 7 years, the company has been raising a cat within its building and every half a year, the company conducts an internal survey about the welfare of its employees. The survey includes questions regarding the company’s working conditions and asks for any suggestions about the service or welfare the company provides.


Reprentative Kim receives a lot of questions about his expectations and the effects of the current welfare system, but he always gives people the same reply: ‘because it’s fun’. It is good to have a clear goal, but it is simply not humane if we have to give up so many things on the way in order to achieve that particular goal. We are not meant to sacrifice ourselves for something. He emphasized that we should think about the things that we want to do and make choices based on that. Moreover, he hopes that we think about how to make the company ‘human-friendly’ whenever we start a business and ended his presentation by describing his current goals.

  • Current Goals

    – Lowering opportunity costs

    – Making a more comfortable working environment

    – Trying to stay together more longer

    – Living without any worries regardless of the outcome

    – Showing the world that it is possible to earn a living like this

The topic of representative Kim’s talk was a bit different from those of other lunch talks. It is true that creating a ‘human-friendly’ working environment is vital when running a corporation. Representative Kim reminded us of the most important things we have to remember as potential entrepreneurs. We hope that Korean companies provide a happier and more comfortable working environment for their employees.