Korea’s beSuccess holds startup competition in Tokyo, winner moves on to Seoul...

Korea’s beSuccess holds startup competition in Tokyo, winner moves on to Seoul for main event

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Read our Japanese report on this event

Our partner tech site beSuccess will hold the second edition of its beLAUNCH event in Seoul this May, one of the largest tech startup conferences in the Asia region. In association with Tokyo-based Skyland Ventures and Seoul-based startup VCNC, the media company had a local satellite event in Tokyo on Wednesday, where one finalist was chosen from six participating Japanese startups to pitch at the main event in Korea.

Let’s rundown through the lineup and take a closer look to who’s going to Gangnam, Seoul this May. The participating judges for the pitching session were (in alphabetical order):

Designclue (the 3rd prize winner)

Prize:

  • Wins a complimentary booth to exhibiting at the Seoul event

designclue

When you order logo design in Japan, it will usually not be very cheap due to high labor costs in the country. It can also be very hard for most Japanese people to order design work from overseas because of the language barrier.

Designclue is a logo-focused crowdsourcing site which allows users to easily place orders from independent foreign designers. Readers may recall that we we featured them on this site last week. The website has multilingual interfaces to easily facilitate your orders. Users can receive many design proposals at affordable rates from registered designers in emerging markets.

Not long ago, the startup announced that it had fundraised 14.7 million yen (about $150,000) from two Japanese seed investors, Incubate Fund and East Ventures.

Comobaco

comobaco

Comobaco allows you and your friends to create a pool of shared items both on the web and in real life. With this service, you can easily share things you own (such as books, DVDs, and game titles) with your office colleagues, your roommates, or any similar sort of group.

To use the service, someone at your location has to become the manager of a box, which will then be used to hold the exchanged items. If you put in things you don’t want to use any more, others will have a chance to take them without having to buy. The service’s founder hopes to change the concept of buying things for yourself only into buying things for the sake of the many people around you as well.

Job Share

jobshare_logo Job share is a community-based talent seeking site that helps companies find new employees who might enjoy working together. When you post a job opportunity on the service, your posting will be shared via social media through colleagues at your company. If someone sees it and would like to work at your company, you can then hire them if they’re a good fit. The startup aims to help companies create a workplace with a positive atmosphere by enlisting the help of existing employees in finding their new colleagues.

Conyac (the 1st prize winner)

From left: Conyacs CEO Naoki Yamada (the 1st prizw winner), Global Brain's Yasuhiko Yurimoto (award presenter), and beSuccess James Jung (award presenter)
From the left: Conyac’s CEO Naoki Yamada (the 1st prize winner), Global Brain’s Yasuhiko Yurimoto (award presenter), and beSuccess’ James Jung (award presenter)

Prizes:

  • A complimentary booth for exhibiting at the Seoul event
  • Round-trip air tickets for two, Tokyo/Seoul
  • A chance to pitch at the main competition

conyac_logo

Conyac is a crowdsourced translation service that gives users an interesting way to communicate with someone in a foreign language for affordable rates. When we spoke to them in a recent interview, they introduced the launch of a high-end service for business use, and told us about their first overseas expansion to San Francisco.

Booklap (the 2nd prize winner)

Prizes:

  • A complimentary booth for exhibiting at the Seoul event
  • Round-trip air tickets for two, Tokyo/Seoul

booklap Finding the right book to buy at bookstore can often take a long time. One recent survey says that 39% of all bookstore purchases take more than an hour. Similarly when you buy a book on Amazon.com, you’ll rely on book reviews posted by other users — but some of them are not reliable or just not good enough to help you decide.

Booklap is a service that wants to help you find a book you will love to read. It has two ways of doing this. The first is based on your interests which are pulled from ‘social graphs’ such as your Facebook profile. The other way by presenting quotes from books that have impressed other users.

The startup is planning to introduce a smartphone app which will allow a user to easily post quotes by just shooting a picture. What differentiates this from Amazon.com is that book reviews are being posted with the real names of those who have written the review.

Their revenue model is expected to come from affiliate fees from online bookstores like Amazon.com, driving users to buy books on their site. Booklap raised 3 million yen (about $32,000) from Incubate Fund last July.

UI Scope

UIscope

UI Scope allows software and hardware developers to crowdsource product testing tasks. A registered tester (called a ‘panel’ in the service) receives a camera from the startup so that it can record the testing process. When a developer (called ‘a client’) chooses someone from all registered testers and asks them to test the product, that person will take about 20 minutes to test it and report back with a video of the testing process. The developer pays 3,000 yen (about $32) for this testing, and the tester receives 500 yen. The testing results are reported online in the form of video, screenshots, and behavioral reports in text.

UI Scope was launched last August with the aim of creating a huge database of product testing by gathering such test results and case studies. It has raised 5 million yen (about $53,800) from Movida Japan, and has acquired 120 developers and 2500 testers during the last six months.

And now from Korea…

Three Korean startups also attended the meet-up, pitching their remarkable services to the Japanese crowd. Let’s have a look at what’s hot in this neighboring tech community.

BeNative

benative_logo

BeNative aims to help students have a more organic language learning experience by providing them with content that imitates real-life situations with native speakers. By presenting video clips of a specific occasion in English or other languages, the service allows users to learn more natural ways to speak new languages. According to Alan Moonsoon Kim, the CEO of parent company Smatoos, they are currently providing English version  and Chinese versions of the language learning site, as well as running news sites in English, Korean and Japanese. For more information, check out this feature over on Technode for more details.

Profeel.me

profeel.me_logo

Profeel.me is your digital business card, incorporating your social network accounts. It can be exchanged through text, messaging services, and social networks. Following the model of a real/physical business card, Korean-startup Venster has created an online business card that can be used as a virtual ID or calling card.  The startup’s CEO HoSuk Jeong presented. beSuccess has further information if you’d like to learn more.

profeel.me_presenting
Profeel.me CEO HoSuk Jeong pitches to a Japanese crowd

Memebox

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Memebox is the Korean version of Birchbox, a subscription-based e-commerce service that periodically delivers a box of cosmetics to users. The startup’s CEO Hyungseok Dino Ha explains they have partnered with 185 brands worldwide, and have delivered 52,900 boxes to their customers since launching in February of 2012. Subscribers can sign up for the service using three different subscription options: one, two, or six months. So far there are over 5,000 total subscribers.

There are 31 people on the team with an expected revenue of $1.3 million in Q2 of 2013. The startup is from the first batch of graduates coming out of Seoul-based SparkLab’s incubation program.


The beLAUNCH 2013 main event is scheduled to take place at COEX, an exhibition center in Korea’s capital on May 1st and 2nd. If you’d like to join. please feel free to sign up.

From the left: Kcube Venture's Jimmy Rim and VCNC's Keisuke Kajitani with a collection of autographs.
From the left: Kcube Venture’s Jimmy Rim and VCNC’s Keisuke Kajitani with a collection of autographs.