Well hello there, Seoul.....
2015 has been a great year for the Rockitt team - especially when we were one of the lucky start-ups to be chosen for the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Programme 2015.
We had an amazing experience and want share our journey and tell you about all the cool stuff we got up to in this brilliant programme....
Above: The 2015 Google for Entrepreneurs Gaming Exchange cohort at Campus Seoul.
Top (L-R) John Halloran (Six Minute), Andrew Olson (Rockitt), Wonchul Oh (Campus Seoul), Ryan Figueiredo (GamerLink), KyungJong Seo & Co (KongDoo Company), Jeffrey Lim (Campus Seoul).
Bottom (L-R) Joyce Lin (Rockitt), Yoonmin cho (Campus Seoul), Katrin Orbeta (Mash & Co), Flavien Guillocheau (PandaScore), Jonathan Retterer (PandaScore), Deion Farrington (GamerLink)
What's the exchange programme about?
We all spent a week in Seoul discovering, exploring and connecting with many great people in the gaming industry. We also visited G-Star 2015 which is a global gaming exhibition in Busan, showcasing some of the world’s leading games developers, upcoming gaming sensations and more!
The Gaming Exchange Programme brought together a great bunch of talent from around the world. The other start-ups in our group included GamerLink, PandaScore, Mash & Co, KongDoo Company and Sixminute.
Rockitt was selected for the gaming exchange programme in Seoul as we’re developing game-based fitness for kids. We’re on a mission to help kids be more active and to make it exercising fun.
Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange is a week-long immersion program that bridges the gap between startups, experts, & new markets. This year the 4 themes for the Exchange programme included fashion tech, travel, scaling up and gaming, spanning the globe in locations such as Seoul, London, Dubai and San Fran. A small handful of start-ups were selected for each programme.
Above: An eye-opening experience in Busan checking out G-star 2015.
There's a long list of awesome memories from our trip (too many to list here), but here’s our top 5 highlights:
1. Korean hospitality and amazing people.
Wow. We were treated like celebrities, walking on red carpet. It was magical stuff. It was a surreal experience being followed by photographers and supported by a very organised crew looking after us every step of the way. Every detail was carefully planned. The team at Campus Seoul were truly amazing and made it a perfect experience.
2. Discovering how much gaming is part of everyday life
The South Korean gaming industry can be described in one word: crazy. South Korea is the 3rd largest in the world in the gaming industry, with so much talent, creativity and a love of playing games. The Korean’s eat, live and breathe gaming and it was fascinating to see the stark contrast to the gaming markets in other parts of the world. Gaming for the Koreans is a very social and competitive experience - professional gamers are considered celebrities with huge fans watching their every move. We’ve learnt so much just by seeing how gaming is intertwined into the lifestyle of Koreans.
3. Connecting with inspirational people
We were invited to so many networking parties, with the opportunity to meet many wonderful people in the gaming industry from developers to distributors. Google Play hosted a great networking party called Google Connect leading-up to the G-Star Convention. We were also guests to a host of G-star events, showered with food and drink and lots of great company. We were really excited to hear the Lego team were around and delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Micki and Vaughan (hey!). We are huge fans of Lego. It was great to get their feedback on Rockitt and they were both very supportive of our mission to get kids active. We also had the opportunity to meet with Matt Ellsworth from 500 start-ups, who ran a great workshop just for the Gaming Programme and also generously gave up some of his time for mentoring sessions.
4. The food
Above: Our takeaway lunch boxes. Some of the most amazing lunches we’ve ever had. So much thought goes into making lunch look so beautiful and appetising.
This was definitely one of the highlights. Even the fast food is delicious and super healthy. We were treated to some fine dining experiences as well as trying out some of the very traditional places where locals hang out. The food was always fresh and presented beautifully, with small plates of side dishes and tasty treats. The Koreans love their hot pepper sauce and we loved it too…and the kimchi of course! Our lunches can only be described as gastronomically beautiful, meticulous prepared and presented. We’ve never experienced take away lunches like this before.
5. PC Bang (Korean: PC방)
Cool name huh? It’s an apt description for PC rooms filled with gamers, all busy playing multiplayer games online. It was described to us as the place kids and gamers go to escape – the place they can go to have fun and hang out with friends. It’s a phenomenon which doesn’t really exist in Europe, but is huge in Korea.
Above: Talking to the press. We were all asked what our top takeaway was from the event. That was a tough question. We all had so many great experiences and couldn’t choose just one.
We’d like to say a humongous thanks to all the wonderful people who made this opportunity possible for us. A big thanks to Google, Campus Seoul and to all the other great start-ups for making this a fabulous event.
We cannot thank Jeffrey Lim, Yoonmin Cho and Seoul Campus team enough for their kindness, friendship and warm welcome throughout our stay. We made many new friends and look forward to staying in touch and returning the hospitality to our lovely Korean friends one day.
We love Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange programme. It’s a brilliant opportunity for start-ups, helping to make dreams possible.