Can Korea compete in crowdfunding?

This was originally published in The Korea Herald on Aug. 11, 2015. Korea’s start-up community breathed a collective sigh of relief last month when the government approved the long-awaited crowdfunding act, two years after it was first proposed in June 2013. Aimed at opening funding channels for start-ups, the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act paves the way for equity-based crowdfunding ― a type of fund-raising method that lets individuals invest up to 2 million won ($1,700) in a single start-up, and 5 million won collectively over the year, through an online brokerage site. With the implementation of equity-based crowdfunding,…

Labor laws hurt start-ups

Foreigner quotas, visa rules provoke firms to seek loopholes Published  June 4, 2015, in The Korea Herald Listen to the related radio interview on TBS eFM here This is the third article in a series on foreigners working in Korea’s technology start-up ecosystem. Sang Youn-joo and Stephanie McDonald contributed to this report. ― Ed.   Etienne Maurin hadn’t finished graduate school when Kim Min-kee sought to found a start-up with him. A whiz at programming languages like Ruby, the master’s student from France was the most trustworthy partner to help Kim develop My Memoirs, a story-sharing platform inspired by his time working…

Foreign start-ups edge in on Korean tech turf

Korea opens up to foreign services, workplace diversity Published May 22, 2015, in The Korea Herald This is the second article in a series on foreigners working in Korea’s technology start-up ecosystem. ― Ed. Tech industry pundits in Korea used to joke that this is where overseas companies would come to die. In a country once dominated by local titans like Nate and Cyworld, foreign rivals like Yahoo and Myspace struggled to connect with local Web users and eventually backed out. But the situation has flipped in the past three to five years, they say, as social media and content…

Diversity missing in Korea’s creative economy drive

Global mindsets needed for shift to software, experts say This is the first article in a series on foreigners working in Korea’s technology start-up ecosystem. — Ed. Published May 8, 2015, in The Korea Herald   With the world’s best broadband networks, global technology giants, game-crazy smartphone users and a hefty 4 trillion won ($3.7 billion) government budget to foster the local start-up ecosystem, Korea is building itself up to be the next major Asian tech hub. But on the ground level, financial, legal, language and cultural roadblocks in Korea are still pushing many foreign tech entrepreneurs to favor Singapore or Hong Kong, industry…

Korea mulls lifting foreign worker limit

Published April 22, 2015, in The Korea Herald The South Korean government is considering the need to remove the limit on the number of foreign workers a company can hire, a move that would ease hiring, especially for small businesses, according to a foreign business representative in Korea. French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman David-Pierre Jalicon said Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick wants to remove the foreign worker quota by the end of the year. The quota requires companies to hire five Koreans full-time and have a yearly fiscal revenue greater than 60 million won to hire a…

World Cup: Goetze fires Germany to victory

Published July 15, 2014, on The Korea Herald   RIO DE JANEIRO ― With two minutes left in full time and the teams stuck in a scoreless deadlock, German coach Joachim Loew told substitute forward Mario Goetze to show the world that he could outperform rival Argentina’s star striker Lionel Messi to win the match. “‘I said to Mario Goetze, ‘Okay. Show to the world that you’re better than Messi, and that you can decide the World Cup. You have all the possibilities to do just that,’” Loew said. And on Sunday at Maracana Stadium, he did it in the…

World Cup: 10-man Belgium sends Korea home

Ten-man Belgian team beats Taeguk Warriors 1-0, wins first place in Group H Published June 27, 2014, on The Korea Herald   SAO PAULO, Brazil — South Korea’s slim chance of advancing to the round of 16 faded Thursday in Sao Paulo as a 10-man Belgium secured a late 1-0 victory over the Taeguk Warriors in their final group match. Instead, Algeria earned its first-ever ticket to the knockout round by drawing 1-1 with Russia in Curitiba. Belgian captain Jan Vertonghen, in for an injured Vincent Kompany, pounced on a rebound off goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu to score in the 78th…

World Cup: Korea routed by Algeria

Published June 24, 2014, on The Korea Herald PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil ― South Korea’s defensive problems returned to the fore as it fell 4-2 to Algeria in Porto Alegre on Sunday, giving the African country its first World Cup victory in 32 years. Facing a far more aggressive opponent than in its opening match with Russia, Korea displayed a less careful and more desperate game against a heavy defense and speedy offense. Midfielder Son Heung-min and captain Koo Ja-cheol softened the blow with second-half goals, but the team’s weak defense could not stop the ruthless Algerian attack. With this victory,…

World Cup: Honors even

Published June 18, 2014, on The Korea Herald CUIABA, Brazil ― South Korea’s meticulous World Cup preparations paid off enough to stop its losing streak, as the Taeguk Warriors reached a 1-1 draw with Russia on Tuesday in the final opening group match in Brazil. Korean forward Lee Keun-ho scored the opening goal in the 68th minute, followed by a dramatic equalizer by Russia’s Aleksandr Kerzhakov just six minutes later. Lee Keun-ho celebrates after scoring South Korea’s first goal of the World Cup against Russia in Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba, Brazil, Wednesday. (Yonhap) The draw stopped Korea’s painful pre-World Cup…

A savvy bike for the savvy rider

Published on May 12, 2014, on The Korea Herald With a sleek body, smooth transmission and a muscular engine that masters all conditions, it’s got the looks, the moves and the charm: There’s no denying that the new BMW R nineT is a sexy, sexy motorcycle. It’s clear that BMW Motorrad, the motorcycle arm of the German carmaker, has paid extreme attention to detail to blend design and engineering on its newest boxer twin, which rolled out last year to celebrate the brand’s 90th anniversary and arrived locally in March. The nineT’s minimalist-styled frame is pared down to the bare…