Start-Up is a South Korean TV series about young professionals who aim to find their place in the tech and entrepreneurial world. It was aired on Netflix from October 16 to December 6, 2020.
Top-billed by Bae Suzy (Dalmi), a young woman full of creative ideas quit her university life and aims to be like future Steve Jobs. Nam Joo Hyuk, as (Dosan), a young math olympiad champion, a genius in coding and app developer; Kim Seon-ho as (Han Jip-Yeong), an orphan and run away kid, at a young age he knows how money works, grew up victorious and got the wealth and looks that women can dream of, Kang-han-an as (Injae), sister of Dalmi, proves to Dalmi that she made the right choice by leaving her to have a better future. The series was directed by Oh Choong-wan.
The story began when Dalmi’s parents divorced; Dalmi stayed with her Dad. While In-Jae chooses to go with her mom. Meanwhile, when their mom re-married, they left for the US. Dalmi felt devastated. Ms. Choi (Dalmi and Injae’s grandmother) coincidentally met Jip-Yeong; she offered him help, and eventually became good confidants despite their age. To comfort Dalmi, he asked Jip-Yeong to act as a pen-pal to Dalmi. Jip-Yeong agreed to Ms. Choi but disguised himself and used the name of Nam-Dosan.
Fifteen years later, Jip-Yeong worked as a successful investment advisor and mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs. He had not forgotten how Dalmi’s grandmother helped him when he was a teenager. Meanwhile, Dalmi worked part-time and aimed to start her company, still living with her grandma. Dosan pursued his passion as an app developer and started a Samsan Tech company with his friends, working but could hardly make ends meet as they do not have investors yet. Injae worked in her stepdad’s company but was intimidated by her step-brother; she gets away from them.
Looking to start their own company, the four young professionals crossed each other’s path in SandBox- a company that offers a residency program to fund aspiring entrepreneurs, App Developers, and Creators to startup their own company.
The director succeeded in showing how it is like working in the tech world. The settings of the sandbox depict a real silicon valley. The Office and Spaces were professionally designed, with all the convenience inside the complex for the young entrepreneurs and developers. A training ground for a startup company. The cinematography and the soundtrack in the series are excellent; they are joyful and make you feel happy while watching the series. It is fast-paced and no boring scenes.
In the series, the actors have equally given their respected roles. The female and male lead actors, Bae Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk, have perfect chemistry. They are both good actors. The storyline is more on achieving their dreams as professionals than of a love story. However, the director did not fail to show the love story part. It did show a lot of giddy moments between Dalmi and Dosan but implied in the story. In the scenes where Dosan develops the Noon-Gil app to help Dalmi’s nearly blind grandma, supporting Dalmi’s idea to produce a self-driving car, the upgrade for Noon-gil’s App to help her grandma recognized the pills, and for retrieving files from a ransomware attack is all good gestures and an act of showing how he is devoted to Dalmi, that he will do everything to support her. This side of the story is indeed very selfless.
Meanwhile, The second male lead actor, Kim Seon-ho, is neither a heroine nor a villain; this shows how versatile an actor he is. In one of the scenes, he acted as if he always against the idea of Dalmi and Samsan Tech’s team; he is straightforward and harsh but has a soft heart for Dalmi’s grandma. Doubted his personality if he is really helping them because of the way he mentors them. Later on, the team recognizes him as a real mentor. He is a wonderful actor. It showed his exceptional acting skills, especially when he met grandma after hearing that Dosan and Dalmi’s app is for her. He regrets that he opposed it before, telling them it will not be successful. Also, in the finale scene, where he is comforting him for being heartbroken, his emotions are so real.
The Supporting casts nailed their respected roles; it helps the main leads bring out the best in them. Everyone has their own place in the series; no one was left behind.
Comparing the two male lead actors. If I were in Dalmi’s shoes, I would choose Dosan. Why? Because his love is so genuine. From joining the sandbox to saving Dalmi’s company from ransomware, he always helps and supports her. He makes Dalmi’s ideas into reality. Dosan dreams are Dalmi’s dream. No question asks; he believes in Dalmi’s vision for the future. They compliment each other. On the other hand, Jip-Yeong is straightforward and harsh guy. He helps Dalmi not to get hurt because grandma asks him to. At first, he has no feelings for Dalmi. He was just being good to her to return the favor. It took him so long to admit that he has feelings for Dalmi, but he lost the chance. He suffers the consequences of his actions.
In the finale episode, I commend how the director ends the story. All of the casts find their place in the business world. Dosan married Dalmi, and the team succeeded in their joined ventures. Scenes of them walking to stockholder’s meetings explained it well. And finally, settle the disagreement with Jip-Yeong. In-Jae realizes that she made the wrong choice, dissolved his adoption, and reunited with grandma. The bond between Jip-Yeong and grandma is a beautiful part of the story. He did not win Dalmi’s heart but gain grandma’s love and devotion that he will forever treasure. He also figured out how he will give back to grandma.
This series is one of the Best Inspiring Korean Drama I have watched this 2020. The storyline is superb and relevant, especially for the millennials. This story challenges us to continue to chase our dreams and never give up. The path to success will never be easy, but we will reach our goal with strong determination and passion for work.