June 1, 2017 | Polina Kryuchkova Kadho is a company that develops and distributes language-learning products (games and e-books) designed to help young children learn sounds associated with 12 major languages. With a focus on education, the team behind Kadho knew Korea’s shared focus meant a huge market opportunity. They shared their thoughts on why it is important to consider industry opportunities before expanding to Korea and the most important benefits from K-Startup Grand Challenge 2016. Why did you decide to apply for K-Startup Grand Challenge in 2016? Korea was a market we were interested in because of the high value of education placed by its citizens and the technological leadership of the country. Plus, Korea is known for its generous and encouraging seed funding environment. What was your experience of Korea, during the acceleration program? (business perspective) The cultural barrier is hard. Everything moves slower than you think; not just in Korea but in general. The settlement took time, so getting the company set up and actually doing business happened in the second half of the year. What was your experience of Korea, during the acceleration program? (personal perspective) Korea is great! I had a lot of fun, bonded very well with fellow peers, and made great connections. What services/support was most valuable during the program? Support for networking, and setting up local corporation and government documents. What do you see as the main benefits of applying for K-Startup Grand Challenge? The main benefit is funding, receiving an office space and an introduction to Korea. What did you find interesting / surprising / unique about your experience in Korea? Korea is good at marketing. Most interesting was learning about the culture, respect and role hierarchy. What do you think are the biggest challenges for global startups entering the Korean market? Cultural and language barrier. Global startups especially face a rather conservative and risk-averse business culture. This means the biggest challenge is making local Korean companies move faster to reach an agreement. Do you think that Korea is a viable ‘test market’ for tech startups in Asia? Why / Why not? It depends. Because when we talk about localization, or market-entry, each country and market has their own unique characteristics. If you are referring Korea as a springboard to China, then I’d encourage start-ups just to go straight to China right away. But if we are talking about a specific market, for example, education, then Korea is a good beachhead market because they are actually the trendsetters for consumer purchases What advice would you give startups applying for Grand Challenge this year? Advice would be to really think about if Korea is the place you want to go. It is a commitment and to make the most out of it really requires care and a desire to be in Korea. What should startups that are accepted this year do to prepare for their Korea experience? It would be to plan your registration/incorporation as soon as you arrive. Also, plan your settlement, housing, and other needs by looking on the internet with pre-research.