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Hami Kim's Startup Journey: The Power of People and Embracing Change

Updated: Aug 1

Country: South Korea

Industry: Entertainment Platform

Founded date: 2021

Building a successful business is a team effort, where everyone's unique contributions blend together to create a winning recipe. This is one of the lessons Hami Kim, founder of the startup Kooky, learned throughout her journey. She values the significance of the people around her, from talented colleagues to supportive investors and mentors.

Hami Kim, CEO of Kooky

Introducing Hami Kim and Kooky

Before she became a founder, Hami Kim was an artist in her own right. She released a total of 9 single albums, with one of her most successful tracks garnering over a million streams. Hami wrote and produced her own music, and like many artists, strived with the long wait to receive revenue from her music. This experience motivated her to create Kooky, a platform that helps artists monetize their content and engage with fans.

Kooky bridges the gap between fans and artists,

allowing them to interact and connect on a deeper level,

and in turn, strengthening the music industry as a whole.

The platform Kooky holds immense value for both fans and artists alike. It provides a unique space where fans can connect with their favorite Korean artists in new and exciting ways. This not only helps the artists to stay motivated in their music journey but also provides fans with the opportunity to feel closer to the artists they admire in a more personalized and enriching experience.

Shifts in Kooky

As Kooky evolved, Hami learned to be open to change, which often led to better outcomes. The first shift was transforming the platform from being a local Korean to a global one. In the beginning, Kooky was solely available in Korean language and catered only to local fans. But due to the global popularity of Korean music, also known as K-Pop, which has skyrocketed in recent years, going global was inevitable. In fact, it is estimated that there are now over 200 million fans of Korean music across the world, with a significant portion of these fans residing in countries outside of South Korea. Initially, the focus was on the artists and helping them continue their music journey.

As the platform grew and evolved, the team at Kooky came to understand the true power of their users.

By shifting their focus to the fans and putting them at the center of the platform, Kooky has seen significant growth and positive changes. The new user-centered approach has proven to be an ingredient to their success, and Kooky continues to thrive as a result.


Importance of Support

Hami learned that having the right support is essential to the success of a business. In the very beginning, she received help from Sy Kang, a high school friend who was also a startup founder by developing her core idea and identifying her MVP. This support helped her get recognition from the Korean government, who provided further assistance. Later on, Jin Lee joined their team, bringing in the perspective of the users as he is a creator himself. Jin, now product lead of Kooky, is a K-Pop dancer and YouTuber. This contributes well to Kooky as he brings in the perspective of the artists. Hami also has investors, mentors and business partners who continually provide invaluable support.

She emphasizes the importance of having individuals around you who connect with you beyond funds.

They align with your goals, bring relevant experience, and can help guide you towards success. She experienced this firsthand as a female founder. She knew when to step back and focus on what matters. This decision-making process ultimately led to the success of Kooky, with a rapidly growing user base and successful funding rounds.

Rising to the Top

Hami's efforts and the support she received have paid off. Kooky now has 660,000 users and a recent 30% weekly increase in user-generated content. With her recent successful seed funding and an upcoming Pre-A round, the upward trajectory of Kooky's growth is gaining momentum.

A testimony to the fact that starting a business involves more than just the founder, and that the people involved can make or break its success. Hami is grateful to the people who has been a pillar of support for her in Kooky's journey: Alex Ha, Timur Daudpota, Rock Oh and Peter Hlavnicka to name a few. Hami learned that it's important to surround yourself with the right people and to be open to new perspectives and change. They can bring about a world of positive outcomes for a business. By incorporating fresh ideas and innovative approaches, a business can break free from conventional limitations and reach new heights.

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