- Jeju Life
- Local Businesses
LOG Starter Program, BridgeSquare’s incubating program
She thought that Jeju, an island with a variety of tales that are hard to find on the mainland, is a good place to become a content hub. “Jeju is a good fit for “content convergence,” the concept that BridgeSquare has taken. I believed that many companies could grow based on the concept,” says Ryu Ye-ju, CEO of BridgeSquare, an accelerating company for those preparing for or just starting a business.
Co-CEO Ryu Ye-ju of BridgeSquare
Startup Ecosystem in line with Growth Curve
BridgeSquare, founded on May 15, 2020, is an accelerating company specializing in cultural content convergence based in Jeju. BridgeSquare emphasizes creation of the startup ecosystem in their accelerating activities in Jeju. “Jeju has a lower closure rate than in the metropolitan area as the players are well exposed to mentoring and support during the early stage. The investment environment, however, is not solid enough so that the companies often end up flying out of Jeju as they mature and would need a large scale investment,” said Ryu. Instead, BridgeSquare is building a venture investment cooperative to create the “Jeju startup ecosystem,” where the companies that BridgeSquare would find and nurture itself can competently play and perform.
BridgeSquare developed its space design in a business-friendly manner to match the growth curve of a startup, because time matters for a startup in its early stage. Ryu mentioned, “I placed the startup café and the library for startups and job creation, and the open co-working space on the first floor to create an ambience for people with an interest in starting up a business to come and socialize and build a team. And the co-working offices, the classrooms, and the outdoor rooftop for community events are located on the second and the third floors, where a startup in its infancy would participate in the mentoring and accelerating sessions as well as in startup education sessions. Those spaces are accessible and available anytime at their convenience, unlike other classes and spaces. I have already been witnessing the tenants’ rapid growth.”
BridgeSquare Building is designed to match the growth curve of a startup
Build competencies upon the basics
An environment has been created for a startup to focus on its business, and the continuous networking between the junior founders and the more experienced has been facilitated in the ecosystem. The endeavor pays off with the noticeably growing values of the tenant companies. The investors and the startups have been able to build trust with constant encounters on the premises, which also paid off with a continuous inflow of investments and their stable operation.
“The early growth is critical to a startup. That’s why BridgeSquare provides every single assistance for the first six months through our own training program, “LOG.” Once its growth potential is recognized, the startup becomes eligible to receive additional support through the “LOG+.” Even a drop-out is allowed to come to BridgeSquare and still engage in networking.”
The number of LOG graduates is 21, of which 9 received investments in full, including SGMA, the AI fishing platform Usin developer, WEPLAY, a GPS-based basketball team matching service, and TFORUS, a user-friendly AI education equipment developer. BridgeSquare takes training for the basics very seriously. She stressed the basic skills, “The basic manners for a presentation delivery, writing rules, effective communication, and how to write an e-mail are the most basic thing, but not well taught outside. The training opportunities have been scarce from CEOs down to newbies. Good attitude in the business world should be taught from early on.”
Hongik Ingan Sprit of Startup
9 out of 21 graduates from the training program of BridgeSquare received investments in full
It is not easy to quantify the value of a startup. So BridgeSquare takes the capability of a startup founder most seriously, because it is the founder’s capability that materializes an idea. “I believe that when prepared, a startup founder can create the best result by acquiring the basic things from BridgeSquare. We look for a good-willed founder who can influence even a little bit of others’ life to take a turn for the better with its service or products,” said Ryu. Her motto is well captured in the phrase “Startup Hongik Ingan*” hanging on the wall of a BridgeSquare office. The businesses uncovered by BridgeSquare contribute to the local communities through job creation.
“We invest looking to the next 10 years. If a company stands for the first 10 years, it will be fine after that. And an ecosystem will be up and running in the meantime. The startup sector is called a battlefield. BridgeSquare wants to be a proof of mutually-protective comradeship for a startup that standing on the battlefield is not necessarily lonely and they can acquire a lot of things through a battle.”
*Hongik Ingan: Broadly benefit the human world. The supreme motto of Korean politics, education, and culture.