What happens when you take about 15 budding Korean entrepreneurs and make them pitch their startup ideas in English to a host of judges?
We found the answer to that question on Wednesday, February 8th during the Seoul Space pitch workshop. With StartupWeekend looming on the horizon, Seoul Space, in conjunction with host AppCenter, led the young entrepreneurs through a series of round robin pitches, and then picked the top four groups to present in front of a full audience. The winner of the contest would receive bragging rights plus a bottle of premium liquor.
|Dr. Per Stenius listens and provides feedback during the round robin stage|
The young men and women had the chance to pitch their ideas in 1 minute or less, practice and refine their techniques, and receive feedback from judges.
|Seoul Space bloggers Ryan Huddleston and Ross Geesman discuss the event|
The judges for the event included several well known names and faces in the Korean startup scene:
1) Dr. Per Stenius, CEO and Founder of Reddal (www.reddal.com), an outsourcing company focused on advanced cognitive functions.
2) Kara Paik, a Professor at Dongguk Business School, who teaches Principles of Management and Persuasion, Presentation & Negotiation classes.
3) Jason Demant, the primary organizer of the Twist Seoul event, and coordinator for many Pitch Workshops with Seoul Space.
4) WonShik Choi, the CEO and Founder of the MKT forum, which deals with consulting and Training.
5) Richard Min, Co-Founder of Seoul Space.
These judges rated the presenters on factors like eye contact, brevity, enthusiasm, applicability, potential customer base, business plan strategy, etc.
After the round robin event had concluded, the judges convened to choose the 4 best company ideas that would move on to the final round.
|Judges in the process of picking the top 4 pitches|
Finally, the top 4 choices pitched in front of a full audience.
|All eyes on the prize: Richard Min hoists the trophy (1 out of only 4 bottles currently available in Korea)|
The top 4 teams (in order) were:
1) 1 Day 1 Song (Hyun-Gyu Ju)
Online Music Publishing Platform that plans to release 1 unique song per day.
|1 Day 1 Song’s Hyun-Gyu Ju|
2) Reflectly (Jaegouk Kim and Paul Kim)
A solution for hair designers that allows customers to easily locate them.
3) Game Item Pricing (Jin Hwan Yang)
Service that allows gamers to easily find out the cost of different in-game items online.
4) Smart Eating (Byung-Uk Kang)
Application that provides personalized information about food.
|Two judges, one presenter: Richard Min and Kara Paik with Smart Eating’s Kang in the background|
The competition was fierce, but in the end, high school student Byung-Uk Kang of Smart Eating came out on top (although, on account of his young age, he had to pass on the premium liquor to his father).
|AppCenter Director Jin Hyoung Kim addresses the audience|
I had the chance to interview each of the top 4 pitch contestants afterwards and ask them how they felt about the workshop:
1 Day 1 Song
Ryan: “How do you feel about getting into the final four at the event tonight?”
Hyun-Gyu Ju: “I feel so happy to be here (in the final four) and I learned so many great things from the event. So, pretty good!”
Ryan: “What did you think about the workshop tonight?”
Paul Kim: “We heard a lot of good comments about our pitch, and this kind of event was really helpful for us for refining our pitch. We probably need to do some more refining at home based on all the comments we’ve heard today.”
Game Item Pricing
Ryan: “How did you feel about the workshop tonight?”
Jin Hwan Yang: “It was so great. I really wanted to meet people involved in the startup market here, and I was very happy to (finally) meet them!”
Grand Prize Winner Smart Eating (Interview Video)
|Group Photo: Everyone had a great time!|
Check out Ryan’s blog over at: ryanceoseminar.blogspot.com
Photographs courtesy of StartupWeekend organizer Sally Park