Author Archives: Nabil Naghdy

Ad X-Zyte’s story: All signs point to taking business online

As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Norachai Lappiam, the founder, CEO, and owner of Ad X-Zyte, to find out how he operates a creative sign-making business with global customers — all without a physical storefront. 

Norachai Lappiam
Ad X-Zyte founder, CEO, and owner Norachai Lappiam

Tell us about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
Eleven years ago, I was just making ends meet as a normal salaryman for a small local company producing newsletters and some signs. With a growing family to take care of, poverty was a real and terrifying prospect for me. That’s what motivated me to start my own company.

I started a sign-making company because I recognized that every business needs a sign for their storefront location if they want to attract customers. Now, I can support my family and give them a better life. We are fortunate to have enough money to send my son and daughter to university for higher education.


What sets your business apart from other sign makers in Thailand and in the region?
We’re completely online! Most sign makers in Thailand only have a walk-in shop. That means their business is limited to the town or city they are located in. As an online-only business, customers anywhere in the world can find us easily, using a search engine like Google Search. They can reach us by phone, tablet, or the laptop at their fingertips. I think convenience is the most important thing for attracting customers.

What difference has the Internet made for your business?
The Internet changed business for the better by growing our sales, connecting us to more customers, and keeping us ahead of our competitors. Before mastering AdWords, I was struggling to promote my products and to reach customers. We didn’t have enough social media, either. The change came when I started learning about AdWords. I’ve been working with the Google AdWords team for 4 years now. It’s been amazing.  Whenever I have a question, they immediately reply and even call me to ask if it’s been answered. I saw a big difference to the business as early as 2014, when we hit TBH 50 million ($1.4 million) in revenue.


Ad X-Zyte signs.png
Ad X-Zyte makes signs for all kinds of businesses, including the Ayutthaya Park Mall in Thailand, Honda cars, and the Mahidol Medical Center. His fifty-person team has also exported its signs, proudly lighting up the Hard Rock Cafe  in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Master your own trade. Be active in the core of your business, expand your personal and professional connections, and use as many online media channels as possible to promote your business! I also treat my employees’ families like they are my family too. I try to take good care of them as much as I can. It builds our relationship in the long-term. Finally, be adventurous, too. Being adventurous is a key characteristic of our company—we enjoy discovering what’s new, being open-minded, and ready to face new challenges.

Ad X-Zyte workshop.png
The Ad X-Zyte workshop floor

What’s next for your business?
We’re continuing to build our presence online and are experimenting with social media more. Recently, I’ve uploaded videos to YouTube to show our customers our sign-making process but we’ve been so busy I haven’t promoted it yet, so I haven’t gotten feedback yet.

I want to do my best in signage and continually improve our sign-making as much as I can. I also want to stay in the present moment and try not to worry much about the future. This doesn’t mean I’m not looking out for the future of my company! Let’s just say the older I get, the more I realize we should be less stressed. All I want is happiness, not money anymore since we’re fortunate to have enough and my family is happy.


How Singapore’s QLIPP is taking tennis to the next level, globally

Editor’s note: This one's just in time for Wimbledon fans. As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Dr. Donny Soh, co-founder and CEO of QLIPP, whose six-person startup developed a tennis sensor and mobile app to help players track and improve their performance in real time.

Dr Donny Soh

Tell us, what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always wanted to build my own products—products that people would find useful. That’s what drove my decision to leave my job as an engineer in another company. 

I come from a very traditional family with a humble financial background, so my relatives were surprised when I told them about my plans to start my own business. I’ll admit being an entrepreneur does have its financial ups and downs, and one can’t expect success to come easily. I believe the key is to always press on regardless of whatever difficulties one faces.

What does a tennis performance sensor actually do and how does it help your users?  
QLIPP fits on any racquet and measures every part of your stroke, analyzing the spin, speed and sweet spot accuracy of each shot. It syncs to your phone, so you can easily access the data to track your game and improve over time.

We currently have over 7,000 users, most of whom are in the Americas and Europe. While many tell us it’s the best tennis sensor they’ve ever used, we’ve also had negative feedback. We welcome all feedback and whenever we see negative comments, we use them as suggestions to improve. Over this past year, the feedback has helped us create a much better product.

What difference has the Internet made for your business?
We’re a small startup with limited resources, but we have big dreams to reach out to tennis players all over the world. Using Google Search ads and YouTube video ads, we’re able to bring our products to life and reach the right customers overseas—this has really magnified our potential customer base beyond those living in Singapore. 

For example, we worked with Google to target the top 10 tennis-playing states in the United States, resulting in a ten-fold increase in web traffic and a 30% increase in sales in just three months! Since we adopted digital tools, 90% of our company’s sales now come from overseas.

What are some of the biggest challenges for a startup in the Internet age?
“How can you get your message out?” That’s one of the big challenges. There’s so much information out there. This is where Google’s tools help us a lot. We conduct user surveys using Google Forms.

We also use another tool known as Firebase, which helps people build better mobile apps and run them as a business. That’s how we’re able to identify the features users love and understand how they interact with the QLIPP app. We also use Google AdWords to drive both traffic, downloads, and sales too.

What’s next for your business?
We’re aggressively moving into other sports. I would say in two years, we would have to have a strong brand presence on at least three sports. Ultimately, we aim to be the go-to company for all sports wearables.

Who’s your Asian Internet hero?
Jack Ma. He has a great quote: “Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” What really inspires me is his persistence. But it doesn’t take much to find heroes all around us. 

One of my early inspirations was my neighbor. She lost the use of her legs and had to move around in a mobility vehicle. Yet everyday, she brought her three kids to school and went to the market. In the evenings she would sell newspapers. Whenever I think of her, I’m inspired. No matter what situation I am in, there will always be a way forward.

A vision for success: Taking LED glasses made in Korea to the world

As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the Internet to grow their business, we caught up with Kyuhee Lee, marketing manager at Chemion, to find out how this startup went from selling zero pairs of Chemion LED glasses to over 10,000 in just three months.

Chemion's Kyuhee Lee
Kyuhee Lee, Chemion’s marketing manager, puts a pair of Chemion glasses to work at Neofect’s office in Seoul

We’re excited to learn more about you! Tell us about your startup...and these fancy looking glasses.
Our company, Neofect, has been around since 2010. Today we have 50 employees working primarily on high-tech, rehabilitative devices, including the Rapael Smart Glove, which helps patients strengthen the range of their hand motions. Our business’ core goal has always been to help people have fun while doing everyday, routine activities. That’s why we invented various games associated with our rehabilitative devices. 

We began making LED glasses for fun. We thought it would offer a way to get people to laugh with their friends and have more fun at parties and events. That’s how Chemion got started, and I think this is what differentiates us from other startups—we’re making these glasses just to have fun ourselves and let our users have fun, too.

What were some challenges to launching Chemion?
When we launched the LED glasses in February 2016, we only had B2B experience. First, we tried focusing exclusively on the domestic Korean market, hoping the glasses would catch on at electronic music festivals or become trendy at nightclubs in Seoul. We were disappointed to find the local reception just wasn’t there. But instead of giving up, we knew we needed to re-think how to reach out to new customers. So we did. That is when we started to expand to overseas markets and focus on our digital reach, specifically, via e-commerce and online social platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

How did you turn your business around and make Chemion popular?
Initially, we faced challenges setting up marketing campaigns online. Every time I encountered an issue, I would search for and watch how-to videos on YouTube, including the ones made by AdWords Online Seminar in Korea. This was a huge help in setting up AdWords and I still use the channel today to learn more about Google Analytics.

Eventually, we reached out to the Korea Google Marketing Solutions team for ideas, too. They gave thoughtful advice on campaign optimization strategies. They even shared their screen via Google Hangouts which was cool and extremely time-saving, since I could see exactly what I needed to do. I thank the team for their help!

At what point did your product really begin to take off?
It’s a funny story actually. Chemion glasses were featured in a video that we didn’t even know about for a while! In Q4 2016, sales suddenly shot up, especially from overseas. People were buying Chemion in Germany, the US, the UK, Japan, and even Austria. We had no idea why!

Eventually we found out through our customers that a YouTube creator The Never Cat had posted a video about how he used our glasses and created a role-playing mask to represent a gaming character. He was really creative and found Chemion online and incorporated the glasses into his mask. He took something we had made and made something new and original, which is very cool. Ever since his video went viral, people started asking where they could purchase the glasses and the name of our brand. That’s when we realized the power of YouTube.

What’s next for Chemion?
We need to get our brand out there and reach people who want to have fun. Video is an important medium for getting our message across—especially through the power of YouTube creators. When a famous YouTube creator, Unbox Therapy, decided to review us, we saw a direct impact on our sales, better than our own offline marketing events. That’s really the beauty of the Internet—it allows us to find and connect with people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.

You've Never Seen Glasses Like This...

You've Never Seen Glasses Like This...

A vision for success: Taking LED glasses made in Korea to the world

As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the Internet to grow their business, we caught up with Kyuhee Lee, marketing manager at Chemion, to find out how this startup went from selling zero pairs of Chemion LED glasses to over 10,000 in just three months.

Chemion's Kyuhee Lee
Kyuhee Lee, Chemion’s marketing manager, puts a pair of Chemion glasses to work at Neofect’s office in Seoul

We’re excited to learn more about you! Tell us about about your startup...and these fancy looking glasses.
Our company, Neofect, has been around since 2010. Today we have 50 employees working primarily on high-tech, rehabilitative devices, including the Rapael Smart Glove, which helps patients strengthen the range of their hand motions. Our business’ core goal has always been to help people have fun while doing everyday, routine activities. That’s why we invented various games associated with our rehabilitative devices. 

We began making LED glasses for fun. We thought it would offer a way to get people to laugh with their friends and have more fun at parties and events. That’s how Chemion got started, and I think this is what differentiates us from other startups—we’re making these glasses just to have fun ourselves and let our users have fun, too.

What were some challenges to launching Chemion?
When we launched the LED glasses in February 2016, we only had B2B experience. First, we tried focusing exclusively on the domestic Korean market, hoping the glasses would catch on at electronic music festivals or become trendy at nightclubs in Seoul. We were disappointed to find the local reception just wasn’t there. But instead of giving up, we knew we needed to re-think how to reach out to new customers. So we did. That is when we started to expand to overseas markets and focus on our digital reach, specifically, via e-commerce and online social platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

How did you turn your business around and make Chemion popular?
Initially, we faced challenges setting up marketing campaigns online. Every time I encountered an issue, I would search for and watch how-to videos on YouTube, including the ones made by AdWords Online Seminar in Korea. This was a huge help in setting up AdWords and I still use the channel today to learn more about Google Analytics.

Eventually, we reached out to the Korea Google Marketing Solutions team for ideas, too. They gave thoughtful advice on campaign optimization strategies. They even shared their screen via Google Hangouts which was cool and extremely time-saving, since I could see exactly what I needed to do. I thank the team for their help!

At what point did your product really begin to take off?
It’s a funny story actually. Chemion glasses were featured in a video that we didn’t even know about for a while! In Q4 2016, sales suddenly shot up, especially from overseas. People were buying Chemion in Germany, the US, the UK, Japan, and even Austria. We had no idea why!

Eventually we found out through our customers that a YouTube creator The Never Cat had posted a video about how he used our glasses and created a role-playing mask to represent a gaming character. He was really creative and found Chemion online and incorporated the glasses into his mask. He took something we had made and made something new and original, which is very cool. Ever since his video went viral, people started asking where they could purchase the glasses and the name of our brand. That’s when we realized the power of YouTube.

What’s next for Chemion?
We need to get our brand out there and reach people who want to have fun. Video is an important medium for getting our message across—especially through the power of YouTube creators. When a famous YouTube creator, Unbox Therapy, decided to review us, we saw a direct impact on our sales, better than our own offline marketing events. That’s really the beauty of the Internet—it allows us to find and connect with people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.

You've Never Seen Glasses Like This...

You've Never Seen Glasses Like This...

How machine learning in G Suite makes people more productive

Email management, formatting documents, creating expense reports. These are just some of the time-sinks that can affect your productivity at work. At Google, this is referred to as “overhead”—time spent working on tasks that do not directly relate to creative output—and it happens a lot.

According to a Google study in 2015, the average worker spends only about 5% of his or her time actually coming up with the next big idea. The rest of our time is caught in the quicksand of formatting, tracking, analysis or other mundane tasks. That’s where machine learning can help.

Machine learning algorithms observe examples and make predictions based on data. In G Suite, machine learning models make your workday more efficient by taking over menial tasks, like scheduling meetings, or by predicting information you might need and surfacing it for you, like suggesting Docs.

Time spent chart

Source: Google Data, April 2015

Eliminating spam within Gmail using machine learning

One of the earliest machine learning use cases for G Suite was within Gmail. Historically, Gmail used a rule-based system, which meant our anti-spam team would create new rules to match individual spam patterns. Over a decade of using this process, we improved spam detection accuracy to 99%.

Starting in 2014, our team augmented this rule-based system to generate rules using machine learning algorithms instead, taking spam detection one step further. Now, we use Tensor Flow and other machine learning to continually regenerate the “spam filter,” so the system has learned to predict which emails are most likely junk. Machine learning finds new patterns and adapts far quicker than previous manual systems—it’s a big part of the reason that more than one billion Gmail users avoid spam within their account.

See machine learning in your favorite G Suite apps

G Suite’s goal is to help teams accomplish more with its intelligent apps, no matter where they are in the world. And chances are, you’ve already seen machine learning integrated into your day-to-day work to do just that.

Smart Reply, for example, uses machine learning to generate three natural language responses to an email. So if you find yourself on the road or pressed for time and in need of a quick way to clear your inbox, let Smart Reply do it for you.
Smart Reply GIF

Explore in Docs, Slides and Sheets uses machine learning to eliminate time spent on mundane tasks, like tracking down documents or information on the web, reformatting presentations or performing calculations within spreadsheets.

Explore

Quick Access in Drive predicts and suggests files you might need within Drive. Using machine intelligence, Quick Access can predict files based on who you share files with frequently, when relevant meetings occur within your Calendar or if you tend to use files at certain times of the day.

Quick Access

To learn more about how machine intelligence can make your life easier, sign up for this free webinar on June 15, 2017, featuring experts from MIT Research, Google and other companies. You can also check out the Big Data and Machine Learning blog or watch this video from Google Cloud Next with Ryan Tabone, director of product management at Google, where he explains more about “overhead.”

Indonesia’s YouTube creators Cameo Project: Laughter for Good

As part of our series of interviews with people using the Internet to do exciting things, we sat down with Cameo Project, Indonesia’s favorite comedic troupe on YouTube. They’ve been making relatable and funny videos about life in Indonesia since 2012, and have been using comedy to raise awareness about important social issues for young people. They were named YouTube’s Creators for Change Ambassadors last year.

As we announced at the YouTube Pop-up Space in Jakarta today, Cameo Project is teaming up with local NGOs—the Maarif Institute and Habibie Center—on a cross-country project to encourage students to create videos for positive change on topics that affect their community. They’ll also run workshops on YouTube to create content that can make a difference.

Here we speak to the members of Cameo Project about their plans to shine a light on the importance of diversity in Indonesia, and why they think video is the best medium to affect the change they want to see.  

The guys of Cameo Project
The Cameo Project

You’ve made videos confronting difficult and heavy topics such as racism, inclusion, and bullying. What prompted you to enter into these conversations, and why on YouTube?
We think video is the best medium for communication, and YouTube makes sense because it’s where you find the world’s biggest video audience. To make an impact, we have to deliver our message on the platform where we’re heard the most.

Through video, we can illustrate our points of view in a way that resonates with our audience—often in a humorous way, but in a way that is thought-provoking and honest, too. Indonesia is a diverse country with many different voices and perspectives—and we want to show that those differences are there to complement each other, and to make us stronger.

What feedback have you gotten from your viewers about these “social change” videos?
The responses are varied. The Internet is a platform for free expression, so even though some viewers may not personally agree with us, we hope they still appreciate our point of view.  We also understand that haters will be haters, and positive messages don’t always go viral. However, we are encouraged by the fact that there are always people in the audience who give us constructive feedback, which helps us evaluate how we can get better.

MAYORITAS VS MINORITAS #GUEMAYORITAS

MAYORITAS VS MINORITAS #GUEMAYORITAS

What do you think are the most important social messages that Indonesian youth need to hear today?
Create for good, make positive content, and embrace differences. The strength of Indonesia lies in its diversity. Because we’re different, we complement each other, and that’s unifying.

What’s the best part about being an Ambassador for YouTube’s Creators for Change program?
We get to meet young people from different cities all across Indonesia, and we get to remind them that you can change people’s lives through the positive content you create. And they can make money while doing it too! Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Work from home, make positive content, AND get paid.  

You’re also teaming up with two local NGOs—the Maarif Institute and Habibie Center. Can you tell us more about that?
The work we do will create a bigger impact if we have more hands joining us.  It’s humbling to be named a role model for young people, but we definitely can’t do it alone—it makes sense to work with organizations that have been working on social change initiatives for years. So as part of the Creators for Change program in Indonesia, we will join forces with local NGOs with similar objectives: to make the Internet a better place for  youth.

With Maarif Institute for instance, we will have a program to show how diversity can lead to many good things for the country. We will travel and meet high school and university students in ten cities and share what it’s like to be YouTube creators and how they can play a part in creating a positive online community. We will also give technical workshops for those interested in becoming YouTube creators, and provide them with a challenge where they have to make videos that they think will affect positive change in their home city.

Indonesia’s YouTube creators Cameo Project: Laughter for Good

As part of our series of interviews with people using the Internet to do exciting things, we sat down with Cameo Project, Indonesia’s favorite comedic troupe on YouTube. They’ve been making relatable and funny videos about life in Indonesia since 2012, and have been using comedy to raise awareness about important social issues for young people. They were named YouTube’s Creators for Change Ambassadors last year.

As we announced at the YouTube Pop-up Space in Jakarta today, Cameo Project is teaming up with local NGOs—the Maarif Institute and Habibie Center—on a cross-country project to encourage students to create videos for positive change on topics that affect their community. They’ll also run workshops on YouTube to create content that can make a difference.

Here we speak to the members of Cameo Project about their plans to shine a light on the importance of diversity in Indonesia, and why they think video is the best medium to affect the change they want to see.  

The guys of Cameo Project
The Cameo Project

You’ve made videos confronting difficult and heavy topics such as racism, inclusion, and bullying. What prompted you to enter into these conversations, and why on YouTube?
We think video is the best medium for communication, and YouTube makes sense because it’s where you find the world’s biggest video audience. To make an impact, we have to deliver our message on the platform where we’re heard the most.

Through video, we can illustrate our points of view in a way that resonates with our audience—often in a humorous way, but in a way that is thought-provoking and honest, too. Indonesia is a diverse country with many different voices and perspectives—and we want to show that those differences are there to complement each other, and to make us stronger.

What feedback have you gotten from your viewers about these “social change” videos?
The responses are varied. The Internet is a platform for free expression, so even though some viewers may not personally agree with us, we hope they still appreciate our point of view.  We also understand that haters will be haters, and positive messages don’t always go viral. However, we are encouraged by the fact that there are always people in the audience who give us constructive feedback, which helps us evaluate how we can get better.

MAYORITAS VS MINORITAS #GUEMAYORITAS

MAYORITAS VS MINORITAS #GUEMAYORITAS

What do you think are the most important social messages that Indonesian youth need to hear today?
Create for good, make positive content, and embrace differences. The strength of Indonesia lies in its diversity. Because we’re different, we complement each other, and that’s unifying.

What’s the best part about being an Ambassador for YouTube’s Creators for Change program?
We get to meet young people from different cities all across Indonesia, and we get to remind them that you can change people’s lives through the positive content you create. And they can make money while doing it too! Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Work from home, make positive content, AND get paid.  

You’re also teaming up with two local NGOs—the Maarif Institute and Habibie Center. Can you tell us more about that?
The work we do will create a bigger impact if we have more hands joining us.  It’s humbling to be named a role model for young people, but we definitely can’t do it alone—it makes sense to work with organizations that have been working on social change initiatives for years. So as part of the Creators for Change program in Indonesia, we will join forces with local NGOs with similar objectives: to make the Internet a better place for  youth.

With Maarif Institute for instance, we will have a program to show how diversity can lead to many good things for the country. We will travel and meet high school and university students in ten cities and share what it’s like to be YouTube creators and how they can play a part in creating a positive online community. We will also give technical workshops for those interested in becoming YouTube creators, and provide them with a challenge where they have to make videos that they think will affect positive change in their home city.

Indonesia’s YouTube creators Cameo Project: Laughter for Good

As part of our series of interviews with people using the Internet to do exciting things, we sat down with Cameo Project, Indonesia’s favorite comedic troupe on YouTube. They’ve been making relatable and funny videos about life in Indonesia since 2012, and have been using comedy to raise awareness about important social issues for young people. They were named YouTube’s Creators for Change Ambassadors last year.

As we announced at the YouTube Pop-up Space in Jakarta today, Cameo Project is teaming up with local NGOs—the Maarif Institute and Habibie Center—on a cross-country project to encourage students to create videos for positive change on topics that affect their community. They’ll also run workshops on YouTube to create content that can make a difference.

Here we speak to the members of Cameo Project about their plans to shine a light on the importance of diversity in Indonesia, and why they think video is the best medium to affect the change they want to see.  

The guys of Cameo Project
The Cameo Project

You’ve made videos confronting difficult and heavy topics such as racism, inclusion, and bullying. What prompted you to enter into these conversations, and why on YouTube?
We think video is the best medium for communication, and YouTube makes sense because it’s where you find the world’s biggest video audience. To make an impact, we have to deliver our message on the platform where we’re heard the most.

Through video, we can illustrate our points of view in a way that resonates with our audience—often in a humorous way, but in a way that is thought-provoking and honest, too. Indonesia is a diverse country with many different voices and perspectives—and we want to show that those differences are there to complement each other, and to make us stronger.

What feedback have you gotten from your viewers about these “social change” videos?
The responses are varied. The Internet is a platform for free expression, so even though some viewers may not personally agree with us, we hope they still appreciate our point of view.  We also understand that haters will be haters, and positive messages don’t always go viral. However, we are encouraged by the fact that there are always people in the audience who give us constructive feedback, which helps us evaluate how we can get better.

MAYORITAS VS MINORITAS #GUEMAYORITAS

MAYORITAS VS MINORITAS #GUEMAYORITAS

What do you think are the most important social messages that Indonesian youth need to hear today?
Create for good, make positive content, and embrace differences. The strength of Indonesia lies in its diversity. Because we’re different, we complement each other, and that’s unifying.

What’s the best part about being an Ambassador for YouTube’s Creators for Change program?
We get to meet young people from different cities all across Indonesia, and we get to remind them that you can change people’s lives through the positive content you create. And they can make money while doing it too! Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Work from home, make positive content, AND get paid.  

You’re also teaming up with two local NGOs—the Maarif Institute and Habibie Center. Can you tell us more about that?
The work we do will create a bigger impact if we have more hands joining us.  It’s humbling to be named a role model for young people, but we definitely can’t do it alone—it makes sense to work with organizations that have been working on social change initiatives for years. So as part of the Creators for Change program in Indonesia, we will join forces with local NGOs with similar objectives: to make the Internet a better place for  youth.

With Maarif Institute for instance, we will have a program to show how diversity can lead to many good things for the country. We will travel and meet high school and university students in ten cities and share what it’s like to be YouTube creators and how they can play a part in creating a positive online community. We will also give technical workshops for those interested in becoming YouTube creators, and provide them with a challenge where they have to make videos that they think will affect positive change in their home city.

Campus Exchange in Korea inspires start-ups’ minds, hearts and “Seoul”

Campus Exchange is a start-up exchange program hosted by Google for Entrepreneurs. We recently invited four start-ups from Korea and another four from Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, and Poland to join us at Campus Seoul for a week.  We gave them access to Startup:Con 2016, and hosted workshops on the topic of going global with their businesses. Two founders — Byungik Choi, CEO of CoolJam, the Korean start-up behind “Hum On!”, an app which transforms hummed melodies into musical soundtracks, and Pedro Matsumura Kayatt, co-founder of VRMonkey, a virtual reality start-up based in Brazil — share their insights from the exchange.  

Byungik of Cool Jamm

What are some of the differences between running a start-up in your countries and elsewhere? 

Byungik of Cool Jamm (Korea): I’ve realized just how supportive the Korean government is of start-ups compared to some other countries. Mentors are readily available here—though I do think there’s always room for more role models who are open to sharing advice about their entrepreneurial journey. 

Pedro of VRMonkey (Brazil): Korea has a very tech-friendly environment that helps companies to perform better and even attract more investments. Brazil’s still an emerging country when it comes to technology—there aren’t many big tech players, and many people with a technical background end up going abroad. 

Pedro of VRMonkey

How do you think your experience at the Google Seoul Campus Exchange will shape your company?

Pedro: First thing we learned is to focus. Our VR studio has been doing a lot of things, and we should really focus on doing more in one particular area. We also learned how we can collaborate better with so many content providers to create really amazing VR experiences that’ll hopefully go mainstream.

Second, we now understand how important it is for our projects to be accessible in other languages. English is not enough. People in Korea and other countries want to play games in their own language. Plus, we understand that we can launch games and experiences that can also impact other regions, so we are exploring more themes—including Asian themes—to create more content. 

Byungik: First, it reminded me of the importance of English. For a global start-up, having fluent English skills are mandatory. Second, the dogfooding session taught us that we could get a lot of meaningful feedback from Googlers and other start-up members who are from different cultures. It was really helpful. We've now decided to do dogfooding sessions frequently.

Who was one of the most memorable entrepreneurs or people you met during this trip? 

Pedro: Wow, that is hard! I met so many amazing people during the program, but one guy who made me feel at home was Junsoo Kim, Chief Operating Officer of Reality Reflection. He invited me to their office and we spent a night there talking about the future of VR and sharing our companies’ projects over a pizza! It was a great time and made us rethink a lot of things about VRMonkey.

Byungik: All the participating start-ups are wonderful. FanFootage from Ireland was most impressive to me. I think it was a good example where a great idea and great technology are well-combined. And the Brazilian guys of VRMonkey were cool and friendly.

What's your advice to entrepreneurs seeking to expand their business?

Byungik: Staying humble. It is I who must ask for advice from other entrepreneurs because I just started my first start-up. Everything is new to me.

Pedro: My strongest advice would be to share. Be honest about what you are doing, do it in the best way you can imagine, and share your work with anyone interested in it. There are few secrets and almost no competitors when it comes to markets like mobile and VR because basically, the whole world is your client.

Campus Exchange in Korea inspires start-ups’ minds, hearts and “Seoul”

Campus Exchange is a start-up exchange program hosted by Google for Entrepreneurs. We recently invited four start-ups from Korea and another four from Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, and Poland to join us at Campus Seoul for a week.  We gave them access to Startup:Con 2016, and hosted workshops on the topic of going global with their businesses. Two founders — Byungik Choi, CEO of CoolJam, the Korean start-up behind “Hum On!”, an app which transforms hummed melodies into musical soundtracks, and Pedro Matsumura Kayatt, co-founder of VRMonkey, a virtual reality start-up based in Brazil — share their insights from the exchange.  

Byungik of Cool Jamm

What are some of the differences between running a start-up in your countries and elsewhere? 

Byungik of Cool Jamm (Korea): I’ve realized just how supportive the Korean government is of start-ups compared to some other countries. Mentors are readily available here—though I do think there’s always room for more role models who are open to sharing advice about their entrepreneurial journey. 

Pedro of VRMonkey (Brazil): Korea has a very tech-friendly environment that helps companies to perform better and even attract more investments. Brazil’s still an emerging country when it comes to technology—there aren’t many big tech players, and many people with a technical background end up going abroad. 

Pedro of VRMonkey

How do you think your experience at the Google Seoul Campus Exchange will shape your company?

Pedro: First thing we learned is to focus. Our VR studio has been doing a lot of things, and we should really focus on doing more in one particular area. We also learned how we can collaborate better with so many content providers to create really amazing VR experiences that’ll hopefully go mainstream.

Second, we now understand how important it is for our projects to be accessible in other languages. English is not enough. People in Korea and other countries want to play games in their own language. Plus, we understand that we can launch games and experiences that can also impact other regions, so we are exploring more themes—including Asian themes—to create more content. 

Byungik: First, it reminded me of the importance of English. For a global start-up, having fluent English skills are mandatory. Second, the dogfooding session taught us that we could get a lot of meaningful feedback from Googlers and other start-up members who are from different cultures. It was really helpful. We've now decided to do dogfooding sessions frequently.

Who was one of the most memorable entrepreneurs or people you met during this trip? 

Pedro: Wow, that is hard! I met so many amazing people during the program, but one guy who made me feel at home was Junsoo Kim, Chief Operating Officer of Reality Reflection. He invited me to their office and we spent a night there talking about the future of VR and sharing our companies’ projects over a pizza! It was a great time and made us rethink a lot of things about VRMonkey.

Byungik: All the participating start-ups are wonderful. FanFootage from Ireland was most impressive to me. I think it was a good example where a great idea and great technology are well-combined. And the Brazilian guys of VRMonkey were cool and friendly.

What's your advice to entrepreneurs seeking to expand their business?

Byungik: Staying humble. It is I who must ask for advice from other entrepreneurs because I just started my first start-up. Everything is new to me.

Pedro: My strongest advice would be to share. Be honest about what you are doing, do it in the best way you can imagine, and share your work with anyone interested in it. There are few secrets and almost no competitors when it comes to markets like mobile and VR because basically, the whole world is your client.