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10 Korean startups trying to disrupt their way onto the world stage [GMV]

Startup battle Korea

Think startup hotspots and Korea isn’t exactly the first country to spring to mind. Thing is, the East Asian country is making some real progress when it comes to entrepreneurship and building a solid startup ecosystem.

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One of the most visible demonstrations of that is Startup Battle Korea, taking place today as part of the Global Mobile Vision conference in Seoul.

These are the 10 companies taking part and aiming to disrupt the world, starting with Korea.

1. TheNextVision

Car safety always has the capacity to improve, and within the next few years it looks set to make some serious leaps forward.

Right now though, a lot of those leaps are being made by tech giants such as Google and the automakers themselves. It is a pace therefore that is undoubtedly open to disruption.

TheNextVision aims to do exactly that, using software rather than cameras to take over a car’s steering and brakes when a driver is drowsy or distracted from using their cellphone at the wheel.

2. Divii

the concept behind Divii is pretty interesting. Rather than working as straightforward web-based translator, it uses video to provide contextual examples of people using English words.

It manages to do so by searching through YouTube videos with subtitles. So for instance if you want to know what a hamburger is in English, it’ll take you through to an array of videos that feature hamburgers. This not only allows non-English speakers to get a sense of how words are used but also the extended vocabulary around those words.

3. Magotec

Okay, this one’s a little bit scary, if only because it’s in the security technology space. Magotec’s Snooper is effectively a long-distance metal detector that brings military-style technology into the private space.

The mouse-sized Snooper can plug into any USB port and can theoretically detect concealed weapons over a few metres. It’s meant to be an extra barrier against catastrophic events like school shootings. Given its small size though, it seems likely to run into privacy issues

4. Ediket

Hey, did you know that over 80% of the internet is in English? That makes communication pretty difficult if it’s not your native language. Even if you are a first language speaker though, you can still end up making a ton of costly mistakes on reports, articles and research papers.

That’s what makes Ediket a pretty compelling proposition. Essentially it’s a crowdsourced online proofreader. Editors can make money from proofreading, while people wanting stuff proofread can try it out for free before eventually paying for future proofreading projects.

The team is apparently working on an algorithm that will ensure every document gets the best quality of proofreading possible.

5. Tenjoy Smart Gym Board

Gamifying exercise isn’t exactly a new idea. It played a large role in the initial popularity of the Nintendo Wii.

Tenjoy’s smartboard aims to get people to enjoy exercise by integrating physical activity into conventional games, tailor made activities and virtual experiences.

It’s pretty ambitious too, aiming to be the world’s number one smart exercise company by 2020. That said, it seems pretty difficult to imagine why someone would buy a specific device when similar functionalities could easily be built into products like the XBox Kinect.

6. Bridge Mobile

If you thought there was no room for any new players in the free to call space, Bridge would like to humbly disagree with you. The way Bridge tries to differentiate itself from other VoIP operators is by allowing you to make calls without having to launch a separate app.

Evidently it’s a problem that needed to be solved, if only in Korea. In the 100 days since launch, the service has managed to attract more than 1.5-million downloads. Apparently, it’s doing pretty well among Korean moms.

7. Qode Interactive

If Qode’s founders are anything like their product, then it’s a miracle they actually managed to build anything. They have managed to build something though: It’s an Internet of Things-based smart table that can be used for the kind of drinking games that would likely leave you craving a massive fry up the morning after.

If the company has its way, you’ll soon see it in bars around the globe.

8. Jewelise

Tech has brought customised experiences and products into the mainstream, covering everything from our desktop wallpapers in the early days to our smartphone covers today. For the most part though, customised jewelry has always entailed going to a jeweler and handing over a large amount of money.

Jewelise is aiming to change that, by bringing customised jewelry online. It may have trouble though in that it’s appeal seems to be in acting as a B2B player for shop and brand owners rather than allowing individuals to create their own jewelry. Think of it as a cross-platform Face Time.

9. Pedium

This isn’t the first crowdsourced translation tool to come out of this competition. It is probably the most ambitious though, aiming to provide accurate and flowing translations (unlike Google Transalte) for articles from English and Chinese-language sites.

The service is aimed at people from countries such as Russia, Japan and Brazil. Interestingly, it isn’t even considering a subscription service, instead aiming to share ad revenue with publishers and translators.

10. Newsystock

The premise behind Newsystock is that individual investors simply don’t have enough information when it comes to the performance of their stocks.

It claims that its mobile app provides high level quantitative analysis capable of providing great equity recommendations to its users as well as enabling them to pick their stocks.

It also reckons that its analysis model can be applied to any stock market on the planet.

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