O n the evening of June 25, a group of young Korean entrepreneurs jumped into the air and shouted in victory at the event room of Google's Campus Seoul, where “BETAPITCH | SEOUL” had just completed. They had just won the Grand Prize from Accelerate Korea out of ten contestants, after spending weeks with 9 other contestant companies preparing presentations, refining their ideas, and getting ready for their Betapitch, when they would give their pitch to win a prize.
Out of the 10 contestants, the fifth place winner of the Demo Day presentation contest was ConsiderC. They are a small team developing a next-gen exercise bike linked with a database and a smartphone app to give its users sensible, obtainable objectives in health and fitness. They said that they were looking to go to Berlin to get more potential distribution partners.
The fourth place winner was BBuzzArt, a social networking service for artists. Their presenter, Jun Kim, said that within art schools, the physical social network that people engage in is very stimulating, but that after graduation many artists wither in obscurity, cut off from the connections they made. She hopes to keep that art network alive and even expand it via BBuzzArt.
The third place winner was Master Company's 04Master app. The company's CEO, Andrew Kim, explained that he built a web site and app platform to match construction companies and heavy equipment owners together in a social network. In the Korean construction scene, many freelance equipment owners exist, but they struggle to find work via word-of-mouth or traditional advertising methods. With his 04Master platform they can find each other more easily. He said that he wanted to go to the German market via the Accelerate Korea program because he heard that the German construction marketplace is very similar to Korea's.
The second place winner of the Demo Day presentation contest was Seerslab. Their CEO, Michael Chong, showed his app called Lollicam, designed to allow people to edit and pre-process video on their phone to make fun media to share with their friends and family. The app is already quite popular on the Google App Store, and Seerslab is in negotiations with Disney to create a version for that company that includes a way to edit yourself to look like popular Disney characters.
The Grand Prize winner of the event that night was Jokerpack, a company led by Raymond Hong. They presented their web and mobile application based on a simple idea, that people need a large, simple white board on which to organize multimedia and documents online. Their web site, beecanvas.com, is already up and functional, and allows one to drag and drop document files, links, video clips, image files, and text on a canvas to facilitate real-time collaboration. It is not only a blank canvas that groups can fill with content, but also serves as cloud storage, a physical place where that content can be stored. According to Raymond, “We are completely reinterpreting cloud storage and how we perceive information online to create more natural communication system for humans.”
These are the first Korean companies to participate in this Accelerate Korea program, but they are by no means the last. Apora Ventures shows a commitment to uncovering and helping small and medium Korean companies expand into the European market, and are well supported in this venture via their strong partnership the Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED).