Since then, we’ve been working hard to make Campus a reality: designing the space, learning from local entrepreneurs, fostering new partnerships and establishing the Campus team on the ground. Today, we’d like to share a few updates on what we’ve been up to in preparation for opening the doors of Campus Seoul in May!
Meet our Head of Campus SeoulFirst up, we’re delighted to introduce Jeffrey Lim as the Head of Campus Seoul, helping make it a place for entrepreneurs led by an entrepreneur. Jeffrey will bring a wealth of personal experience and understanding to Campus. From founding and serving as CEO of pioneering social gaming company RocketOz, to investing in young companies at SoftBank Ventures Korea, his vision for Campus Seoul is to create an environment for Korean startups to grow and go global. (for more on Jeffrey, follow the jump for my Q&A with him)
Meet our partners too!
Aside from finding the right leader, we’ve also been hard at work finding the right, best-in-class partners to make Campus Seoul a great place for local startups to connect and grow.
To run our coworking area, where startups can find desks and office space, MARU180, a leading tech hub in Korea, will create a second home for themselves at Campus Seoul. We're thrilled to welcome MARU180 to the Campus family. 500 Startups’ new team in Korea will also be moving into Campus Seoul, looking to help the best local startups gain access to Silicon Valley, which is perfect given our focus on fostering international connections to help startups go global.
And some progress on programs
To start things off right, we have some great programs that will begin right as the doors open in Seoul. As part of our partnership with TechCrunch, they’ll be hosting their their first ever Meetup+Pitch-Off event in Seoul at Campus Seoul on April 16. Talks@Campus, a series of premier speakers, will also kick-off in April, featuring the likes of Bedy Yang, Sarah Drinkwater and Mike Butcher.
“Campus Exchange,” our program that sends startups to other Campus locations to provide them access to new markets, is already underway, kicking off with Soundl.ly, an advanced ultrasound marketing technology startup currently based in Seoul, who will be traveling to Campus London to get some expert help on building out their e-commerce offering.
And did we mention that when the doors open in May, entrepreneurs are welcome to work on their next big idea in our Campus Cafe, or hold an event (for free!)?
Needless to say, it’s been an exciting and busy few months, but this is just the start. We can’t wait to invite Korea’s doers, creators, innovators and entrepreneurs to join our community and truly take their ideas global. Stay tuned for updates on Google+, Twitter and at googleforentrepreneurs.com.
PS - for those of you keen to get to know Jeffrey a little better, here’s a Q&A I did with him on where he’s been and where he’s heading:
Mary: Where did you grow up?
Jeffrey: I grew up in a city called Changwon, located south near Busan. Changwon is primarily an industrial city and my father owned a manufacturing machinery business. My fondest childhood memories are going fishing with my father and hanging out with friends on the beach.
Mary: How did you get involved in the startup community in Korea?
Jeffrey: Back in 2000, while studying at Stanford, I became fascinated with the spirit, energy, passion and creativity of Silicon Valley. I eventually decided to go work for a tech startup, jumping into many aspects of its business from product management, marketing, to new business model development. Upon returning to Korea, I landed a job at SoftBank Ventures Korea, and continued to be actively involved in the startup community as a mentor, organiser, speaker, and most importantly an entrepreneur, starting my own company 4 years ago.
Mary: What do you think makes the Korean startup community unique -- what makes Korea stand out?
Jeffrey: Moving away from industries like semiconductors and online games, the new generation of startups are taking advantage of Korea's mobile and social media penetration. For example, Coupang and TicketMonster launched group buying by cleverly adapting to the Korean consumers. Similarly, SundayToz and Devsisters are market pioneers in transforming an existing messenger app into a lucrative mobile social game platform. In an increasingly mobile-first globe, Korea is becoming a hub for startups from around the world to easily test-flight their product; I believe this trend is just beginning.
Mary: Are there current challenges that Korean entrepreneurs face that you think Campus can help address?
Jeffrey: While many Seoul-based startups have global aspirations, they often lack the know-how to take their product to international markets. I think Campus Seoul can offer countless opportunities for Korean startups to learn and expose themselves to new people and businesses via mentoring, accelerating, exchange programs and much more. At Campus Seoul, we hope to create community, bringing talent and ideas to Korea and helping startups expand globally.
Mary: What’s on the docket for the first month of Campus Seoul?
Jeffrey: We have tons of exciting events, including an opening ceremony, the first TechCrunch pitch-off event in Seoul, an Android bootcamp and talks from 500 Startups and Google leadership. We’ll also be launching many programs and initiatives - so stay tuned!
Mary: Last question, what’s the last vacation you took?
Jeffrey: I spent a week in Levi, Finland, located 110 miles north of the Arctic Circle, to participate in a program where you can drive fast cars on authentic snow and ice. In addition to ice driving and skiing, I got to do some pretty amazing things like riding a wooden sleigh pulled by Siberian Huskies and seeing the Northern lights. I loved every aspect of the trip except for the food. By the end of the week, I was honestly tired of reindeer and elk meat dishes.