Weekly VentureSquare Stories are summaries of some of the week’s top posts relating to the Korean startup and venture Industry.
While the world was abuzz last week with the news of Facebook and Instagram, there was another big acquisition which took place closer to home. On the 16th of April it was announced that Olaworks had been acquired by the international semi-conductor giant, Intel. Intel Capital had invested in 30 other ventures but this is the first time it has actually acquired one. For an international company to approach and take over a mobile Korean venture has been a surprising development for many in the startup community. Olaworks is a Korean startup which offers augmented reality and other mobile technology solutions.
Until now the company has now received over $400,000 in investment from SkyLake Incuvesting Innovation, Intel and others. According to reports, Intel acquired the shares of management and shareholders for a purchase price of 35 billion won, although Intel is remaining tight-lipped on the finer details of the deal.
Recently the company showcased facial tracking technology and photo-navigation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It has already offered its technology to large companies such as Naver, Samsung, LG and HTC. According to reports, Intel is looking to create synergy with Olaworks various technologies to remain competitive in the mobile industry. Intel revealed that it is looking to develop a new type of interface using facial and movement recognition technology in its mobile chipsets.
Ever since he was young, Kim Dae-ah had big dreams. Longing for freedom instead of pursuing an office job, as soon as he started his first semester at Seoul University majoring in computer engineering back in 1994, he made a entrepreneurship club for those in his course. In 1997 he met the CEO of NCSoft, Kim Taek-jin where he ended up working — first as a part-time job and then as an intern. He continued on and developed a chatting system, working in the internet department rather than the game-side of things.
“In 98 when I first joined the company in Yeoksam-dong, 35 people was the entire staff of NCSoft. But when I left in 2003 there were 3000 staff. At NCSoft it was like watching a dream become real. It was the first time I had seen someone make a business and have it grow so big. After that, it was my goal to create a business like that.”
It has been 8 years since founding Delimount, first aiming to create a service similar to Amazon’s but for Korea. Things didn’t go according to plan and Kim had to throw out his original plans.
“I found out that you really have to know your market before you start.”
After trying some other things, he found himself left alone and had to move offices several times due to lack of funds. In 2010 he reached out to a friend from university who was also going through some rough times. They partnered up with a new goal ahead of them.
In 2010 Kim gathered up some people and released a social network service named LiiPii which was a Twitter-like service aimed at the domestic market. However, it turned out that the market weren’t interested in such a product. Though exhausted, Kim thought that he had learned something from his latest failure.
Then while watching the popular show “We got married”, he came up with the idea of fake couples arranged online which could then end up spilling over into real-life. He released an app called Coupllog aimed at teenagers and those in their twenties. The app lets couple send requests and talk in a private room for a day. Users can continue to contact each other in a more public forum and become close friends if they like. Kim looks forward to users mainly having fun talking to people, expanding their networks and even the possibility of real romance.
To download the app, check out Coupllog’s home page here.
Korea’s Leading Startup OpenIR and Entrepreneur Conference
- Date: May 31st (Thursday)
- Venue: Plaza Hotel, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Host: Maekyung Media Group
- Support: KTOA, VentureSquare
- Sponsors: KT, SKT, LGU+
- IT companies other than mobile-based will be included
- Startups which are up to five years old can apply
- Introduction of a 60 second elevator pitch
- Top Seven Startups to take part in an Upcoming Camp Event
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