We heard that you had pivotalchanges in several aspects while on this program.
Before the change, it was a service that provides curated and optimally customized news, but we added an audio function to that. A good example is Afreeca TV, and within this service you can listen to the news that an announcer recorded in person.
Umano service in the US offers a similar service, in which the announcement services are executed via a systematically feeding system whereas ionews lets an announcer curate and read the news in person. Headlines will be read automatically in a systematic way, and users can choose news that they want to hear by listening to the headline readings and pressing the stop button.
People can have easy access to news while they are driving to work or in any other places and situations. Additionally, we changed our company name from ‘Cosmo Angel’ to ‘Cosmo Angels’ as the service itself changed. We made media and content partnerships with 20 companies in Korea and are currently conducting market research to make partnerships overseas. We already recruited a development team specialized in voice testing, and are planning to come back to Silicon Valley this February in order to do a feasibility test in the US market after testing it beforehand in Korea.
What did you get from this acceleration program in Silicon Valley?
Leveraging on Plug&Play’s network, we were able to meet the person in charge of Google news. Google also has a similar service, and they had an issue of stagnant user growth. Google is using a feeding system to bring news, so it cannot provide individually customized news. They also think that human beings should be involved in curating and reading news. Through this meeting, we first thought about adding a voice service to ionews, leading to the pivotal change now.
In addition to this, it was a big achievement to meet with Anis Uzzaman, a general partner of FENOX Venture Capital in Silicon Valley. He hinted that small regional newspaper companies were looking for a new growth momentum since the major press dominates the US news market, and it’d be good to consider partnerships with those companies.
Regarding pitching, it was very different. In Korea, it feels like people fill out standardized forms in a business plan; whereas it is more casual here in Silicon Valley, but you emphasize one or two points for an impressive pitch.
I personally thought sometimes that people from startups seemed to be stereotyped when I met them. If there is a business that became popular, many copycats will probably appear in the market, in terms of not only functions but also design. Getting diverse feedback from different cultures was the most helpful aspect of this program here in Silicon Valley.