[Startup Nomad Epilogue #2]Into the US Market With Pollabo, IT&BASIC

8 teams of Start-up Nomad returned from the 5 weeks acceleration program in the US. We heard about the results and post-program plans from the participating teams.

[Startup Nomad] Customer Comes First, IT&BASIC

We heard that San Jose State University would use the Collabo service for their classes.

San Jose State University has a big lecture with 400~500 students called the ‘Mega Section’, and the school is looking for proper content that can be used during this ‘Mega Section’ as it is planning to offer iPads to new freshmen next year. We introduced our service Collabo to a professor from the school during Tech Crunch Disrupt in San Fransisco, and the school finally decided to adopt our service after we came to Silicon Valley on this program and discusssed in person with the Vice-Dean and other interested persons. From this January on, San Jose State University will use Collabo in order to facilitate the communication between lecturers and students.

What activities did you actually have in Valley? Is there any particular aspect complemented or improved about your business’s direction or items?

During the acceleration program, we finished the setup of the local server and website in the US. We constantly tested them by attracting people into our website and experiencing the Collabo demo whenever we had meetings. The name of our service is ‘Pollabo(http://pollabo.com)’ instead of ‘Collabo’ in the US because basically the service is about a polling system, and we want ordinary people in the US to easily understand what our service is about.


There is also a change in our business and revenue model. Collabo’s previous revenue model was to sell user accounts and licenses, however we received a feedback that we should rather become a mass medium and are still considering it. Since the market size is totally different between the two countries, our revenue model was also influenced and changed. We can apply our service to public speech or to the interaction between audiences and commercials or TV programs.

In order to become a medium, it is a priority that we build up the brand recognition of Pollabo in the market, so we are trying to do so step by step by firstly targeting the education industry and introducing Pollabo to San Jose State University.

We heard that you were also helped by the mentoring program in Korea before the one in Silicon Valley.

One thing we still remember was that Ms. Woo from Hoffman Agency said “Do not talk about the function, but try to explain what’d be good for users and tell them the story”. We actually reflected it onto our presentation and were able to gain more positive responses.

A Mentor, Mr Lee who is  from Korea Productivity Center, advised that we should set up business models first and a business plan afterwards based on them. Many people are usually confused between business models and business plans.

He taught us that it is firstly recommended to establish business models such as which items will be sold in which market, and based on these we need to set up a business plan by concrete sub-sections such as revenue models, financial projections and team building etc.

Not long before the return now, what is your impression about the program?

Lastly, this is the part that all IT&Basic teammates who participated in this program agree on, the biggest thing we takeaway is that the most important thing is the team we belong to. We all worked so hard as we had to cover both here and business in Korea simultaneously and this must have been the same to all other teams. We even had a server within our room and proceeded the project together.


“We don’t doubt that it was good to learn about Silicon Valley’s ecosystem and how businesses are run here, but above all I personally think the biggest achievement is that we spent most of the time all together.”

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