Even though Korean companies are in the technologic forefront of the world, the complexity of the European market makes it hard for them to establish their business here. betahausX and KIC Europe set out to change that with a pilot program customized to introduce Korean startups & SMEs to German corporates in order to expand to Europe. “Korean companies normally don't have access to the big German corporates,” Seok Koo Ji, President of KIC Europe, explains and continues: “After I met with betahausX last year it was clear that we had the same vision of helping Korean startups branch out here and get that access. Together we're building bridges between the markets.”
In the first batch, six startups working within mobility, remote computing, AI, and IoT were invited to come to betahaus for one intensive month of meetings, training, and business opportunities. The startups were scouted to fit the search fields of the program’s official partners Artur Hasselbach (Volkswagen) and Onno Szillis (Deutsche Bahn). All to make sure their innovative products fit current corporate challenges.
But primary product fit is not enough to make business connections abroad. To be prepared for meetings with corporates like DB, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Körber the startups were given one-on-one sessions with experts in areas of for example Product Strategy and Confidence in Foreign Language.
“In South Korea, the culture is very different; we are not used to talking ourselves up in the way that is necessary for European business culture. The program here at betahaus has taught me how to present myself confidently,” Hyunsun Shin, a participant from one of the attending SMEs Wizcore Inc., says.
Kwangil Jung, part of the startup Hanshin Vision, agrees and continues:
“In Korea, they say that everything is good even if they think it's not. Whereas in Europe people communicate more openly, you get feedback and questions directly after your presentation. Meeting big companies and being introduced to these customs via this program has been very helpful for me.”
The more impressions, connections, and experiences the better, therefore the startups made visits all around Berlin. In the station of Jannowitzbrücke, right next to the Spree, they were introduced to the DB Mindbox office and ideas, as well as asked to deliver a one-sentence pitch themselves. Hyunsun Shin from Wizcore Inc. happily remembers the visit. "Not only was the office beautiful, but I was also surprised by how innovative they are. Sure, technology-wise the train companies in South Korea are way ahead. We have WiFi you know ;). But I'm impressed with how DB collaborates with startups, are open to new ideas and talk to smaller companies like us."
Both Wizcore Inc. and Hanshin Vision had four successful weeks of rewarding meetings and valuable feedback. “Meeting the big German corporates like this means I get direct feedback from the customer, which has been very meaningful for the development of my product,” Kwangil Jung, from Hanshin Vision, says and adds excitingly: “Some of the corporates have even shown interest in possibly testing our products!”
When asked to summarize the experience she’d had during the program Hyunsun Shin, from Wizcore Inc., answers with a smile.
"It’s been great! I would definitely recommend other Korean companies to join this program and come to Berlin. It's such an international city with a lot of different cultures, and the people here at betahaus are professional and open-minded. It’s a great atmosphere!"
Find out more about the startups
Being the world leader in remote access solutions, Rsupport already has 10.000 companies using their products, among them Huawei and Xiaomi, in various industries ranging from machinery to customer service, to remote support, etcetera. So, what is their solution? A patented remote access system based on the web, that isn’t open source and therefore can’t be copied, making it a system suited for security and legal issues. The system is also being used by operation managers and makes it possible for them to control 1000 PCs simultaneously.
Wizcore is providing factories with the optimal Smart Factory solution Nexpom, which utilizes big data and provides real-time monitoring and predictions. By not only collecting data but also analyzing and visualizing it, Nexpom is a perfect fit for the Industry 4.0 strategy. The product is already used by companies like Hyundai Motors, and they are collecting Data from Production Line, Equipment, QC, and Energy.
With already two products on the market, Prosense is a startup developing high precision ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) and deep learning based vehicle solutions to penetrate into the future market of self-driving cars. Their products are not LIDAR dependant, making them essential contributions to the industry.
Founded in 2015 as a spin-off from KARI (Korean aerospace research industry), Contec has developed a solution that uses Precision Time Protocol (PTP) to detect microsecond delay for self-driving cars. Their PTP technology can be used in the financial markets as well.
This early-stage startup is developing an indoor navigation app that doesn’t rely on WiFi, beacon or geomagnetism, instead, it uses 3D maps and image processing to find your current location. Which makes it a valuable tool in locations like underground parking lots and other confined spaces that don’t have WiFi or mobile network. The app can also be used in smart car concepts where cameras are available.
Hanshin Vision is developing and manufacturing a 60G WiFi module using unique hardware and software technology including H/W and S/W cloud solutions. Their next step is to develop a combination with mobile network 5G. The product is currently being used in OTA mobile hotspot for VR, ultrasonic on-rail crack system, and by the end of this year, it’ll also be in car mobile WiFi hotspots.
Want to know more about the program or the attending companies?
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Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different.
Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally.
Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.
Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.
Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte
Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.
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