[Weekly VentureSquare Stories] 2011 Startup Awards!

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Weekly VentureSquare Stories are summaries of some of the week’s top posts relating to the Korean startup and venture Industry.

Finding the second Ticket Monster
On Christmas Day it was announced that the CEO of Korea’s first social commerce company Ticket Monster, Shin Hyunseong and the CEO of Ablar Company, Chester Roh will join Stonebridge Captial and U.S firm Insight Venture Partners to found the new incubating company “Fast Track Asia”. This will be the first incubator made up of successful startups and international investment companies. Fast Track Asia will begin operating from early next year.

Ticket Monster’s success and experience of selling the company was the start of Fast Track Asia. After being acquired by the worlds’ second largest social commerce firm Living Social, Insight’s investment manager Daniel Francis and Stonebridge venture capitalist Park Ji-woong expressed their desire to discover other successful strategies similar to Ticket Monster’s. Ablar Company’s Roh emphasized that using their successful experiences, Fast Track Asia will be able provide help to many entrepreneurs through mentoring, teaching and even funding.

Analyzing Internet News
As the year comes to a close, there are many lists introducing the various issues and points of interest from the year through keywords. Here I talk about and analyze some of the distinctive points of internet media I learned while I carried out research in cooperation with the LG Economic Reasearch Institute. I was able to analyze ‘Korean’s interests and lifestyles’ by using Daum Communications’ news readership click data and search results from August 2010 to July 2011.

Previously, the limited number of news outlets meant that controversial news and issues were restricted by the distributors. However, now with the wide use of social networks and smart devices, the production and distribution of news does not simply come from one place but the supply, production, distribution and consumption of news is all happening simultaneously.

Thanks to the internet, there are now no limits on the amount of information available. More importantly, now that users are able to search for specific information, they can view and consume the information they want. The information of individual searches by each user has become a valuable source of what people are interested in and has led to ‘ popular search’ lists becoming a general feature on portal sites.

The argument can be made that articles related to these widely searched ‘keywords’ are nothing but one-sided. This is because it does not show how consumers are using their products. When someone is in charge of marketing or sales, then finding out how customers are using the company’s products or services is important but I think that understanding the needs and intresets of these customers is more essential.

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2011 has almost come to an end. The year has been one in which many companies’ environments have changed. VentureSquare has been working hard to create a better environment for startups in Korea and together with OnSuccess have prepared the 2011 Startup Awards. Votes were collected from VentureSquare contributors and editors, Primer, Go Venture, Seoul Space, Strong VC, Startup People and others. Thank you to all those who participated and we wish everyone the best for 2012!

Social Responsibility Award


Primer contributed by their active and enthusiastic approach to mentoring and supporting startups — irrespective of the field, age, area or product.

Open Entrepreneur Center
OEC helped startups by training entrepreneurs at their Entrepreneur school, camps and day events. We look forward to seeing what OEC has in store for 2012.

CO-UP provides startups with coworking office pace so individual and small companies can freely discuss issues with one another. CO-UP is planning to start several programs in the 2012 and is currently taking applications from anyone interested in helping startups.

VentureSquare for the last year has been an active media outlet for Korean startups providing, stories, news, advice and other resources. VentureSquare has also put on several events throughout the year including the successful ‘Open Recruiting Day’ where 15 startups gathered together to promote their companies. We look forward to the new and year and continuing our support of Korean startups.

2011 Growth Award

I-um is an online dating service that has gained much traction over the past year and has succeeded in creating a working business model besides advertising. Over the course of one year, the number of members grew from 40,000 to 190,000, a 375% increase. Of these members, 20 couples have married thanks to the I-um.

Go Global Award

Moglue’s interactive e-book software hit the world stage at Techcrunch’s Disrupt event in Beijing. The startup managed to make it to the final six teams. The company also took part in Echelon 2011 in Singapore and many other international events. You can read more about Moglue by clicking the link above.

Enswers acquired well-known entertainment site Soompi at the start of 2011. Soompi gets over 6 million visitors a month from users in more than 150 countries. Enswers have always aimed to target the global market and the company’s new service ‘Image2Play’ has been gaining a lot of attention. Read more about Enswers by clicking the link above.

Rising Star Award

VCNC’s social network app for couples has been a hit, gaining 110,000 users within 3 weeks of launching. In one day the service sees some 800,000 messages and 100,000 photos shared between couples. Having recently received further investment from Softbank Ventures, they will be a company to keep an eye on in 2012. Click the link above to read more about VCNC and their app ‘Between’.

Person of the Year

Primer: Douglas Guen
Douglas Guen was chosen for his contributions to establishing Korea’s startup culture through Primer and helping change the startup ecosystem. As the head of the angel program for early startups, he also made big contributions to early stage startups.

Go Venture Forum: Youngha Ko
Youngha Ko helped startups get back on their feet after the economic crisis and also made large contributions to the revitalization of Go Venture Forum.

* 한국의 스타트업 소식을 영어로 번역하여 알리는데 관심이 있고 동참하고 싶으신 분은 editor@venturesquare.net으로 연락주시기 바랍니다.

* If you are interested in sharing your ideas or company and translating them into Korean, feel free to e-mail us at editor@venturesquare.net

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