[Lecture Series #2] Lendit CEO Sungjoon Kim "Startup begins from empathy and consideration"
May 13, 2019
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[Lecture Series #2] Lendit CEO Sungjoon Kim "Startup begins from empathy and consideration"

The second Lecture Series of 2019 was held at KUBS Main Building 2F, KUBS Startup Station on April 30, 6:30 pm. Sungjoon Kim, CEO of Lendit, gave a lecture on the topic of "From Scientist to Designer, Now P2P Financial Entrepreneur." Lendit is an online platform that connects loans and investments; it has mediated more than 170 billion won over a four-year period and now has the highest market share among local P2P financial platforms.

First, Kim explained his somewhat unusual academic career. Kim graduated from science high school and studied biotechnology at KAIST. While in college, he by chance took a lecture on IDEO, a design firm that designed Apple's interface. With this incident, he felt a great attraction to design studies and changed his major to industrial design. He then studied product design at Stanford University. “After listening to the lecture, I came to realize that design is not just about aesthetic, but needs much more values than that,” Kim said.

Recalling the lecture, he stressed the importance of "design thinking" in startups. Kim explained that the keyword for IDEO is “empathy and consideration,” and that design thinking is a way of empathizing with what people look for and being considerate of them to find a solution. Kim also stressed that many observations and experiments are essential. "If you are thinking of starting your own business, try various experiments to find problems through observation, to empathize and be considerate of other people," he advised.
Kim stressed this mindset by explaining the early stage of Lendit. "At that time, I had to borrow money from the secondary banking sector since I had already failed in other startups, and I was asked for a very high interest rate of 22 percent," he said. "But when I used the online lending service from the U.S., I was asked to pay 7.8 percent, even though I was a foreigner. This is how I decided to start Lendit." Kim said. "It is better to start a business from an area to which you can relate easily or in which you can become a customer. Start with empathy for the problem, not the mere idea of having your own business,” he added.

The Q&A session was filled with questions from many prospective entrepreneurs. Among them, Seung-jun Park, a KUBS student, asked for advice regarding the difficulty of running a business as a college student. "It's hard to do something else when you launch a startup. If you are not in a hurry, it is not so bad to get a job before you start your own," Kim said. "In fact, you may experience a lot of things and build your know-how through your company life."

Every semester, Startup Institute provides startup education through "Lecture on Demand," a working-level lecture series, and "Lecture Series," a special lecture series on startups and ventures. Classes are open courses, which means they are open to not only the employees of a tenant company, but also anyone interested in starting a business. For related inquiries, you can contact the Startup Institute (02-3290-1699).