Korean startup Wayne Hills Ventures CEO Su Min Yi wants to help content creators create much richer content that reaches a global audience using his company’s AI-based technology. Yin founded Wayne Hill Ventures that converts text-based content to image and video format. Wayne Hill Ventures’ AI software will revolutionize the market for content makers, who won’t need complicated tools to create videos, believes Yi.
Su Min Yi spoke to koreatechdesk.com in detail about his company, the product, and his belief in global growth.
1. Please tell me about your background and what motivated you to get started with your company?
While working in the content industry, people found a need to consume knowledge on video content such as YouTube. Instead of having a costly option, I wanted to save money and time by developing an SW that can analyze text with AI and automatically produce images. Our SW uses an AI algorithm to analyze text documents by paragraph and verse. Afterward, each keyword’s dictionary meaning is automatically analyzed and summarized in 1/10th, and the images and sounds are searched based on the summary. It is supplying software (SW) that automatically converts and produces contents that are searched.
2. Can you share details about your current main product?
Wayne Hills ventures is a third-year domestic digital content IT startup, and its source technology, “Parsing,” is an algorithm that extracts text-based planned manuscripts and overall contents of books and dictionary meanings of words and analyzes synonyms, related words, and significant words to automatically convert/produce them into digital video contents. It is currently building a digital live book service that provides a book with about 20 minutes of video content using the technology.
3. How is your product resolving a problem in the market? What is the market opportunity for your startup?
Customers who want to produce video content usually refer to freelance and media production companies and software. But the SW available in the market that supports video content production has a strong character as a tool that can be used by freelancers and related industry experts and technicians and has low utilization of AI technology. To solve this problem, we want to provide a service that uses Artificial Intelligence technology to convert text into video content automatically. Worldwide revenue from AI software markets is $14.7 billion in 2019, and the sales forecast for 2025 is $ 118.6 billion, showing high growth. I think we can open a new market if we catch customer’s needs well while addressing inconvenience in an existing way.
4. What stage is your product at currently?
All video content production processes will be automatically produced by Artificial Intelligence-based algorithms. Customers need to upload text data to Wayne Hills Ventures’ SW and receive video content. To enhance user satisfaction and manage the quality of video content, only 80% is automated, 20% is provided for customization, and users can insert and edit images, video clips, and sound sources they own and enter text directly without summary function. Although the service is not fully developed yet, it is currently growing by distributing and strengthening each team’s roles, such as AI development, media, and R & D, through team building.
5. Please tell us more about your founding team?
I started the business early and developed it with six engineers. But when we moved to a corporation last year, we divided it into development teams, brain teams, and media teams and formed a team through open recruitment.
6. How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Wayne Hills Ventures attracted two seed investments in May 2019, three months after its establishment, and attracted a total of 2 billion won as of September. The latest investment came from POSTECH.
7. What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fund-raising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
– We needed our strength to convince investors because our product wasn’t fully developed. I think it’s essential to get the best points to appeal to them, and I think that startups should be based on their courage, perseverance, and tenacity at the center of rapid growth, which is to say, explosive growth drawing a J-curve curve.
8. How has the investment helped the company, and what is the next step?
I think the investment has given us time to focus on the company over the next few years. We believe that it is important to use this time to make the BM model a reality, and we will step up research and development and hiring the right people.
9. How do you plan to grow the user base for your product?
Wayne Hills Ventures has signed business agreements with 176 major domestic companies, including LG, BNK Busan Bank, and Shinhan Financial Group, in recognition of their technological prowess, and has also achieved excellent results in various competitions and support projects. Service development is not complete yet, but I think it has come to this point that we have constantly been knocking and challenging every small opportunity.
10. What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
A US market research agency surveyed the causes of startup failures and found that there was a gap between what developers or engineers think about their products and what consumers actually accept, which most often did not lead to actual sales. Market research is very important before launching the product, and I think the most important thing is to support our ability to market our products by specifying our target customers in detail.
11. How do you plan to expand globally?
First of all, we will make the most of our domestic overseas expansion program. Currently, we are preparing to apply for PCT to enter the US, and we are developing additional models such as English and Vietnamese.
12. How did you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
I recently read an article about the explosion of Netflix subscribers, the world’s largest video streaming company. It is analyzed that this is due to the increase in the number of people staying at home, refraining from going out due to the spread of COVID-19. I think this trend is an opportunity for us as more and more generations become more familiar with video.
13. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? and What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
I’ve been saying a lot lately, ‘This too will pass.’ When I have difficulties, I think this is not the end, and I tend to comfort myself thinking that it will pass someday. If you are a CEO running a startup like me, I recommend you to have the key to overcome the anxiety about vague things on your own.
14. What are the top-three books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
I read a lot of books about Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. I recently read a book called “Bezonomics” written by Brian Dumain, and it was very interesting to read Amazon’s future business paradigm from the process of Amazon’s establishment. Bezos said this. “The most important thing in moving forward. You run into problems and you experience failures. Then you step back and try again. A wise man is not bound by custom. He’s always trying to reinvent himself.” I have a lot of thoughts about trying to be a wise person.
15. How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
I get up early every morning and take time to organize my schedule. Through that time, I feel motivated every time that there are things I can do and people looking for me.
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