The Future Is Female And The Future Is Here
Elevating the voices of women in the Korean startup scene
There’s a serious shortage of female startup founders in South Korea. While women are being increasingly employed in startups, only 6% are founders. In this series, we will be talking to multiple women about their career paths and their experience with Podium Star, a pitching competition hosted by PowerPT.
Our first interview is with Cathy Shin from Remote Monster, a startup that provides interactive live broadcasting solution for businesses.
We sat down with Cathy to learn more about her passion and experiences with startups.
Q: How has your experience been as a woman working in the startup scene?
A: I have been fairly lucky with my career choices so far. My first startup experience was with an all-female startup in India. From there, I have worked for various startups in New York, Australia and Korea. My workplaces have been very gender neutral. No one really told me to “make coffee” or anything. My current boss is a feminist, and fights for equality for all. This resonates with our company vision, and I am really happy to work with him and be a part of this journey.
Q: What excites you about startups?
A: I love the energy. These are people who decided to risk everything to follow their passions! Even to me, that’s so scary yet exciting. We all get excited about our shared vision and feel invincible. We put our best effort into everything we do, because we know every day we are getting a day closer to our goal. That’s why I always choose startups.
Q: What key skills are needed to succeed at startups?
A: Taking ownership is the #1 skill to succeed at startups. There won’t be a 3-week long onboarding process or documents to learn from. You have to be your own manager and set your goals, assess your performance, and figure out how to improve yourself. It can be difficult, especially if you just started working (which was my case), but once you master it, you really appreciate the freedom and the speed of your work.
Q: Tell me about your experience at Podium Star.
A: Pitching at Podium Star was an eye opening experience for me because I could interact with over 100 people in the audience. Normally, I pitch in front of potential investors or partners. I was scared that my pitch was too technical, since we are a B2B company targeting a very niche market. However, after the pitch I heard good feedback from everyone! It was really refreshing.
Q: What has your company achieved since pitching at Podium Star?
A: After winning first place in Podium Star, Remote Monster was selected as KODIT’s (Korea Credit Guarantee Fund) First Penguin Startup, in May. It is awarded to tech startups with high growth potential. Our team grew twice in size, moved to a new office, and is expanding more in the domestic market. Our first white-labeling solution will launch next month! To stay connected, please check out our blog.
Q: What challenges do you think women face in startups?
A: Although I have been lucky inside my company, that doesn’t really apply to me in the outside world. As a young female, dealing with doubts is a daily issue. A lot of times, I am the only female in the room. People may not address me correctly. They assume I am just a secretary until I speak up in the meetings. Someone even made a joke that I should date his assistant, just because we were both single at that time. These incidents do not discourage me. They only motivate me to work harder, so I don’t have to fight for their acknowledgement in the future.
Q: Do you have any advice for women who might want to get involved with startups?
A: Pick a good one. There are a lot of startups out there. You should do some research before joining a startup. Did they receive any funding? What is their product? Is it competitive enough? Do you believe in their vision? Joining a startup, especially early stage startups, means you are ready to deal with the growing pains of a young startup. There could be a relatively small salary, long hours, or both. Can you handle that? How can you add value to this company? And what can you get from this company? These are questions everyone, not just women, should ask themselves.
Are you interested in taking your startup to the next level? Apply here to pitch at the next Podium Star in September. Read a recap of the previous July event here.