As the influence of OTT services grows, the lifestyle of watching satellite or cable broadcasts only on TV is changing. Everyone can easily watch their favorite TV shows or movies on their laptop or smartphone. According to the “2022 Broadcast Media Usage Pattern Survey” released by the Korea Communications Commission, the smartphone ownership rate is 93.4%, showing that most people use smartphones, and the online video service usage rate is 72.0%. In terms of age, people in their 20s had the highest usage rate of OTT services at 95.9%, teenagers and people in their 30s had usage rates in the 90% range, and older age groups starting from people in their 40s had lower usage rates.
However, as more people watch video on larger monitor screens instead of smartphones, various types of monitors, such as smart and portable monitors, have begun replacing TVs and smartphones.
In addition, as remote or hybrid work becomes more common, the number of people working in places other than the office has increased, as has the demand for portable monitors. According to a report released in August by global market research firm Future Market Insights, the portable monitor market is expected to reach $266.2 million by 2023 and $247.96 million by 2033, 10 years later.
Below is an interview with Matthew Chung, CEO of ÉKLEER, which is challenging the portable monitor market.
Revolutionizing the Smartphone-Exclusive Monitor Market with ÉKLEER’s Innovative Technology
Q. Please tell us what made you start your company, ÉKLEER.
I founded ÉKLEER in 2021. Before starting my business, I was the general manager of the monitor business at Foxconn Group in Taiwan. At that time, I realized the potential of the monitor market and started this business.
There is a perception that a monitor is only a peripheral to a PC. In other words, the monitor industry has had no choice but to follow the ups and downs of the PC industry over the past 50 years. Then I began to wonder why a monitor could only be a peripheral device for a PC when there were already many devices such as tablet PCs and smartphones. So I started this company thinking, “What if a monitor could be connected to smartphones, the most widely used digital devices in our daily lives?
Q. What are the unique features that only ÉKLEER has?
When we started our business, we thought about how to impress our customers with our products. First, we designed the interface to be different from existing monitors. One advantage is the built-in USB-C interface.
The second advantage is that our product is compatible with smartphones, so we considered using smartphone peripherals. Different accessories can be used together in the case of the existing widely available USB-A. So we designed our product to connect various accessories using the USB-A port.
Since the pandemic, the mobile computing environment that helps people work with smartphones has developed rapidly. As it has become possible to perform both work and leisure activities with smartphones or laptops, the demand for portable monitors is expected to increase. Therefore, ÉKLEER has been seriously focusing on producing portable monitors since 2022 and aims to become a successful monitor production company.
Utilizing Crowdfunding for Product Market Fit Validation: Perfecting Products with Customer Feedback
Q. Your company received funding from WADIZ and reached 5,446% of the target amount from the first fundraising stage. What prompted you to start fundraising?
When we decided to sell portable monitors in Korea, we wanted to check the buying patterns of Korean consumers to see how our products resonated with them.
We wanted to introduce more advanced products to overseas markets by reflecting the opinions of demanding domestic consumers and making up for shortcomings. Before launching the product, we first tried Wadiz crowdfunding. We believed that by using crowdfunding, we could quickly check customer demand and customer purchase factors. Since there were no products compatible with the iPhone in the existing portable monitor market, our company discovered this need. It made our product compatible with the iPhone and optimized it for portrait mode screens. As a result, our company recorded the highest funding amount in the same product category on Wadiz and received a positive response from customers.
Q. Your company is entering the European market after successfully receiving funding. Please tell us more about your current strategy.
I lived in Europe from 1998 to 2005. At that time, there was no online broadcasting in Europe, so only the traditional brick-and-mortar business existed. Although the size of the European market may seem attractive because it is larger than the United States, it is important to understand the business practices of the various European countries before entering this market.
The personal network I built while living in Europe was a great help. When I started selling in Europe, many people showed interest and as a result, I could consistently sell 100 products a week for 4 months without any advertising or promotion.
Today, ÉKLEER has 15,000 distributors in Europe. In Europe, our product sells for 249 euros, about 350,000 won in Korean won. Therefore, we decided to start overseas sales in the European market because our products can be price competitive while maintaining a reasonable margin for the distributors.
Q. Why did you decide to start your business in Pangyo Techno Valley?
I came back to Korea in 2018. I had lived abroad before and came back after 25 years. All of my old friends had retired. So I went to other acquaintances in the business world and asked where the best place to start a business would be, and they recommended Seongnam City, where IT companies are concentrated.
Coincidentally, the Gyeonggi Business & Science Accelerator selected me for the global accelerator program, so I started my business at Pangyo Startup Campus.
ÉKLEER’s Vision: Pioneering a New Category in the Tech Industry
Q. What is ÉKLEER’s ultimate goal?
I have been in the ODM and OEM business for more than 30 years before starting this business. I created this brand, ÉKLEER, to promote my brand to the world.
While only 130 million monitor products were sold last year, 1.3 billion smartphone units were sold last year. In other words, the market for smart device-enabled monitors is a new market that could be 10 times bigger, but no one has taken the lead yet. That is why ÉKLEER wants to position itself as a “category creator” in this market. In addition to our portable monitors, we plan to introduce other types of personal IT devices to the global market.
For inquiries and connections with Korean tech companies mentioned in this article, contact us at [email protected]. We’re here to facilitate valuable partnerships.
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