Jaewoo: Let me start by briefly introducing our company. Our company, 'Enjoying Lions' makes vodka DIY kits. In creating our company name, I took the first syllables of the Korean words for ‘social’ and ‘capitalist’ and the corresponding ‘Sa Ja” was translated to English as ‘lion’. It is our motto to package relaxation and happiness into everyday products, and we chose liquor as the first item. We are currently preparing to release vodka that you can enjoy in your own way at home.
Hyunshik: Allow me to explain more to you. While typical homemade winemaking methods of brewing and aging certain main ingredients focus on obtaining various efficacies, what we are proposing is a method of putting ingredients such as fruit into vodka to infuse it with an aroma that you can drink. The kit comes with bottles of ingredients such as fruit, herbs, and flowers in an optimal ratio. Customers simply pour vodka into the kit and wait for the aroma to soak for as little as 24 hours or week at most. We plan to introduce two new products made with new recipes once a month to ensure product diversity and allow customers to choose their favorite flavor and taste vodka kits.
Saeryung: My job is to analyze YouTube channels. 'NewMedia Big Data Platform (ladder.kr)', monitors 100,000 domestic YouTube channels every day and collects data. If you hit the search box on the homepage, you can see the contents. By analyzing this data, you can see the creator's rankings and the videos that generated the most interest. The platform automatically creates a wide range of data including channel affection, viewer age and gender distribution data
Sukyung: I am curious about how sales will be generated and what the profit model will be.
Saeryung: From a broad point of view, we can consider it as serving two purposes. One is that it can be used by creators as a means of promoting their channels, and the other is to provide our ultimate goal of providing data analysis services. We anticipate our customers to be advertisers looking for YouTubers who can better promote their products, media companies that want a better understanding of YouTube trends, and multi-channel networks that need to discover new creators. However, I have a very amusing reason as to why I started a company with this particular item. For a while I was addicted to games (laughs). But I have a reason to start a business with this item because I've been addicted to the game once (laughs). After I thought I had to get myself out of this, instead of reducing the number of times I played, I watched broadcasts of games. While watching the broadcasting platforms I wondered how much money these people were making and started to analyze the gaming channels. I became interested in data analysis and broadened my areas of interest beyond games. This is when I started to think of a platform for analyzing YouTube in its entirety.
The first meeting in a startup class naturally extended to becoming founding members.
Jaewoo: That part you mentioned about your game addiction led you to start up a company was impressive (laughs). As I also like to drink alcohol, it naturally became a startup item for me. After watching a TV show that introduced how to create your own homemade yakwanmunju (a traditional plant-based wine), I tried doing it with my friends. We decided to let it age for 100 days and then drink it. The waiting process was good, and it was especially fun to open it after 100 days and drink amongst friends. I thought that it would be great if others could also experience this charm and decided to commercialize it. At first, I considered a homemade wine kit but it seemed somewhat old-fashioned and so I switched to vodka. With the item decided and while searching for colleagues to collectively form a startup, I met Hunshik in a Software Venture Convergence class. I met Sukyung while taking a practical course for CEOs and asked both to join me.
Saeryung: I also took the campus CEO course and it helped me a lot. I learned a lot from the class, but it was even better that I could ask many questions to my team members because they were already in the process of starting a company.
Hyunshik: I have benefited a lot from that class. Professors have given me a lot of advice about starting a business, and I think that the greatest benefits was that I found great startup colleagues.
Jaewoo: I think forming a good team is important for the campus CEO class. Although there are students who are genuinely interested in entrepreneurship, there are students that are attending because it is a compulsory class for Software Convergence interdisciplinary majors. If you were to be teamed with such students, it would be no different than doing a group project for other subjects. If it’s not about just fulfilling credits, then it is truly a great program for anyone considering creating a startup and are keen to gain something valuable from the class.
Office space provision and mentoring are the most useful methods of support for startups
Hyunshik: We entered the KUBS Startup Institute in June this year upon winning the School Entrepreneurial Competition. Being able to use office space for free is a great privilege for startups.
Saeryung: I also got a chance to enter the KUBS Startup Institute in February last year by placing at the startup competition. Since the startups are gathered together, I can communicate with other delegates and share information, and I can talk to managers and professors at monthly station meetings. Perhaps because I primarily interact with IT-related industry representatives, I think today is the first time I’ve said hello to the people from Enjoying Lions.
Jaewoo: I suppose we are in an unusual field (laughs). Because of this, I believe we have more challenges. It wasn’t to find subcontractors for the dried fruits, herbs, and sugar cane that go into the kits, and it was difficult to secure food stability.
Saeryung: I also had a hard time subcontracting. As a startup that had nothing to show I was snubbed numerous times. Fortunately, I met a good mentor and was able to overcome difficult moments.
Hyunshik: For startups, mentoring is a very reassuring and appreciated support method. In particular, we get a lot of help from the professor who is mentoring us now, since for a long time he used to work at a food company. Also, I plan to sell products through Wadiz crowdfunding, and I have been able to get a lot of advice from my professors about crowdfunding. Actually, creating a startup is not really difficult. It is what comes after that’s hard. I feel that it's really hard to build a system for the company and to systemize it.
Jaewoo: I always thought of starting a business and because of that, I’m still finding it fun rather than difficult. If you go to work at a company, you will do what is asked of you, but when it comes to issues at a startup, it’s you who has got to take the initiative to find a solution to resolve any problem. I like this process. Looking at the future and visualizing the bigger picture is also interesting.
Sukyung: I naturally thought that I would get a nine-to-five job but the work that I am doing is so fun that nowadays I am deliberating my career path. The process of creating new things is more fun than I had imagined.
Saeryung: The work’s fun, but it’s tough whenever there is a money issue. Until now, I have managed with the funds received from government support projects and reward money received from contests, and demo-days. Because it's not at a profitable stage yet, it's a matter of hanging on until it's profitable.
Hyunshik: Funding issues seem to be a common difficulty for all startups. We are now running the startup from funds and money out of our pocket. But right now, I'm trying to focus on product development. If I think that we can be competitive with the product by the end of this year or next year, then we will plan to actively seek funding. I believe we will be able to produce prototypes because fortunately, our partners had a good impression of us and although the order volume is well short of the minimum quantity, they have heartily agreed to make them.
Incubating that identifies potential rather than award results is what differentiates Korea University from other schools.
Jaewoo: It's only been a few months since we started, but the systematic incubation process at school seems to be growing us into a respectable business. I heard that Korea University's startup support is different from other schools in that respect. Whereas other schools are mainly focused on achievements, and the results of contests are important, Korea University’s concentration on incubating properly and connecting it to accelerators (venture company) are what sets them apart. From a startup’s perspective, this is something to be extremely thankful for.
Saeryung : Although we are in different industries, I think it would be good for both our companies to grow and become good startup examples. Once the YouTube service that I am doing now settles, I want to grow it into a data analysis company. Internally, I want to keep my promise to the employees by creating a firm and upright company.
Jaewoo: We have a clear plan for the future. Anyone who has an item that encompasses our company’s fundamental value of ‘relaxation and happiness’ can join us. Alcoholic beverages are only our first item, it can be reading, tea blending, or a variety of things in the future.
Hyunshik: We have officially set the working hours to be between two and six in order to sustain that value in the operations of our company. In the rest of the time, work is done freely. We need to have relaxation and happiness, so we can put the value into our products. Even just with this, we would like to prove that we can succeed. Above all, we hope that our society, which lives excessively hard, will become more relaxed and happy with our products.