Weekly VentureSquare Stories are summaries of some of the week’s top posts relating to the Korean startup and venture Industry.
Mad Smart – The fastest growing app
What is the fastest growing app in Korea? Until a short time ago it was Kakao Talk and there is not doubt that it is continuing to grow. However, it was not long ago that another app “TicToc” took the top spot as the fastest growing app on the market. In December alone, 4 million people downloaded the app making the total number of users after 5 months 10 million. At this rate the app will have no trouble passing 20 million downloads. While we might assume the meaning of “mad”, it also happens to stand for “mobile application developer”. Though there was already strong contenders on the market for instant messaging apps, the company believed that there were areas where it could do better. Mad Smart plans to integrate cloud features into TicToc so users can store and share various types of media. TicToc is on both iOS and Android.
This week junApps interviewed Bookpal’s CEO Kim Hyung-seok. Bookpal, together with Ridibooks are an electronic book service. Bookpal recently reached second place on the app store and first place in the Books category. Kim talked not so much about the Bookpals service but more about the progress and vision of smartphone ebooks. The service is available on both iOS and Android.
Korea has long been crying out for an easier way to buy and sell items without having to install loads of extra active-x software or join a cluttered internet group. As consumers spend more time on their smartphones during commutes, at school or at a cafe with friends, startup Tuck & Company has produced the app “Hello Market” — an app making it easy for users to buy and selff second-hand goods. The app focuses on the ease of uploading items, something that people have been previously been reluctant to do due to the effort involved. With Hello Market, users can upload items to sell within 30 seconds by simply entering in the required information. The app also uses location services so users can search for items to buy from sellers that are close to them. Communication and comments are also encouraged and the interface can be customized to the users taste.
In a previous Exciting Company interview, FoodSister noticed some cute characters and tracked down the person who made them. Jung Byeong-kook is the CEO of Zamong Communications. Him and his brother Jung Woo-yeol are the creators of the brand “Designare”, a collection of cute characters which can be seen here. The pair offer a variety of services using their characters such as free calendars and sets of stickers which can be downloaded. The brand also produces smartphone icons for users to download. The startup does not only run Designare but is also active in the areas of interior design, product design, blog design and more.
Tumblbug is a crowd funding website which has used U.S site Kickstarter as a benchmark. The site helps those with cultural and artistic talents raise funds for their projects. Of course for a site like this traffic is essential, which is why Tumblbug is working with social commerce sites to help attract internet users. Looking back at Kickstarter, during a period of two years, over 810,000 people have donated 75 million dollars and supported over 10,000 different projects — something Tumblbug wants to do in Korea too.
Mosaic is a website that showcases the stories of people through video interviews. Picking up from where Naver Stories left off, it gives people a place to share their unique lives and personal thoughts. Mosaic will definitely be a site to keep an eye on. Check out the video below (mostly English) to get a feel for the types of videos on the site.