On November 16th, 2017 , startup networking program “Let’s Meet Then” was held at Startup KAIST Studio 1F. At the entrance of the building, hoppang (호빵) machines and warm hoppangs that people held in their hands stood out. This networking program was held in collaboration with Doryong Venture Form for the first time. Doryong Veuture Forum is a startup forum that provides Daejeon people, such as entrepreneurs and investors, a place to meet.
Startup M&A – Representative Inmo Jeong
The first presenter was Inmo Jeong, past representative of IAmCompany. He said that he was inspired to create education related content by the activities he did in Midam Scholarship Committee, one of the student clubs at KAIST, and his experience in mobile application design through URP program. IAmCompany provided a service called ‘IAmSchool’, a planner application. ‘IAmSchool’ digitalizes school planners, something that most of us have used during our childhood, and gives information to parents about various education related products. He explained that he himself advertised this product starting from nearby schools in Daejeon. He met with the principals of the schools he visited and presented the functions and the usefulness of the application. This service has been exported to Taiwan and once have placed 1st place in Taiwan mobile application stores in the education category.
Like investing is similar to dating, M&A is similar to marriage
However, Inmo Jeong stated that recently, venture funding attraction is becoming more difficult. Steady investment as long as web traffic is high is now something of the past. Now, a period of time when it is crucial for profits to be clear and visible, the education market is hard to grab attention. As ‘IAmSchool’ has relatively a big number of active users, it is possible to increase profitability by adding advertisement, but since the goal of the startup is to make an application that contributes to education, the company chose not to do it that way. Hence, NHN Entertainment took over ‘IAmSchool’ and the lecturer ended his presentation with a comment that the startup wishes to implement the leftover work required for the fusion of technology and education. M&A is considered to be an attractive final destination point for people engaged in startup. Thus the story of IAmCompany, which concluded as a M&A, has great meaning.
P2P Finance Platform? – Jongchan Lee CTO
The second presenter was CTO Jongchan Lee from a P2P company called Tanker Fund. He started off with a joke that he is the greatest stockholder of Tanker Fund. His explanation regarding Korea’s market economy was very clear and easy to understand. Because Korean banks are similar to companies that do government work, they loan only 60~70% of the house price in order to maintain the price at an adequate level. So, mortgage loan, which loans 5~10% in addition, came into fashion, but due to registration and closed character of the Korean loan market, loans of high interest rates happened. However, because registration is now digitized, it is possible to loan at a lower interest rate. He wrapped his presentation by saying that the company is working to lead P2P loans that fit the Korean financial culture such as construction fee loans.
4th Industrial Revolution National Long Range Plan – President Youngha Ko
The last lecturer, president Youngha Ko from Korea Business Angels Association talked about the national long range plan regarding the 4th industrial revolution. He started off by showing the audience an EBS documentary. In the documentary, the creators showed the closing ceremony of the G20 summit that was held in Seoul in 2010. The president of the United States of America during that time, Obama, specially gave the right to ask questions to Korean reporters, but the reporters remained silent. One Chinese reporter broke the ice by raising his hand and asked whether it was possible for him to ask a question as a reporter representing Asia. Obama, showing a bit of disconcert, replied that he is willing to listen to the Chinese reporters if none of the Korean reporters volunteer. In the end, the Chinese reporter gets a chance to ask the question. After showing the document, Youngha Ko asserted that there are two kinds of people: one who asks questions and one who doesn’t ask questions. Youngha Ko emphasized that in the period of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we need talented people who are passionate and active. He defined the 4th Industrial Revolution with the concepts ▲ Period of Geometric Progression ▲ Period of Artificial Intelligence ▲ Period of Long-Living ▲ Period of Cooperation and grabbed the audience’s attention by thoroughly going through various recent examples.
Open Podium – 1 Minute Keyword Pitching
After the presentations from the guest lecturers, there was a keyword pitching session. In this session, anyone can stand in front of the podium and present about startup in general for approximately 1 minute. This session had a different appeal to the previous 30 minute presentations. The first presenter was a person who currently just launched a startup, but have been diagnosed with herpes. He advised that people should complete the track to startup slowly rather than going at a fast pace similar to that of a 100-meter race and thereby ruining their health. Another person introduced himself – he was planning to start a business through the help of a startup support program run by All Generation Startup Campus (세대융합창업캠퍼스). He described his business item, which was car-sharing in units of apartment household. Then, he said that it would be great if everyone gets something out of this forum’s networking session. Other than these two presenters, many other people, such as a person from Handong University who lost most of the research data due to the recent earthquake and thus decided to move the laboratory to Daejeon or a person who is looking for an Android developer, introduced their personal experience and thoughts about startup.
Finally, former KAIST Innovation manager and professor in the Business and Technology Management department Rakkyeong Song presented his comment about the forum in general. It was the first time for him to run KAIST Startup Networking Forum at the same time with Doryong Venture Forum and he showed thankfulness about inviting such great lecturers. In addition, he hoped for the active participation from KAIST students who are engaged in startup and wrapped up the forum.