Review: Start-Up

tvN's Startup drama poster

No. of episodes: 16
Genre: Business, Romance, Friendship

Native title: 스타트업
Original network: tvN, Netflix

The drama is about the joy and hardship of being an entrepreneur. The story sets in South Korea’s fictional Silicon Valley Sandbox, the world of start-up companies. Founder and co-founder of Samsan Tech find it tough to produce a sellable product despite receiving the highest recognition from CODA. They joined Sandbox and met Seo Dal Mi (Bae Suzy) who became their CEO.

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Growing up

Dal Mi and Won In Jae (Kang Han Na) are close sisters that got separated after their parents’ divorce. In Jae went with her mother that remarries a chaebol, living a luxurious life. Dal Mi chose to follow her father Seo Chung Myung (Kim Joo Heon) who is an entrepreneur. However, Chung Myung passed away in an accident. Dal Mi was raised up by her grandmother Choi Won Deok (Kim Hae Sook) with a corn dog van business.

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Won Deok found a just-out-orphanage boy Young Han Ji Pyung (Nam Da Reum) and took him in. They wrote letters and became Dal Mi’s pen pal using another name, Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk). Ji Pyung left them after a misunderstanding and reunited decades later.

Entering Sandbox

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Sandbox is a South Korea’s fictional Silicon Valley founded by Yoon Seon Hak (Seo Yi Sook) that aims to help start-up businesses and give them a better stage to find investors.

From zero experience to a CEO within a few hours, Dal Mi is ready to grill herself so that she is fit to protect the company that Do San, Kim Yong San (Kim Do Wan), and Lee Cheol San (Yoo Soo Bin) entrust her with.

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Together, they formed Samsan Tech in Sandbox with a lawyer-turn-designer Jung Sa Ha (Stephanie Lee).

Grandma and Ji Pyung

This isn’t the drama where your tears shed because of the sad romance story, but because of kinship built not by blood-relation. Regret, compensate, and love.

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Ji Pyung (Kim Seon Ho) felt like he doesn’t deserve the nickname Grandma Won Deok gave him, he is not a good boy. Grandma did not blame him for leaving her, and really glad that he made it himself in Seoul.

To future proof

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Grandma Won Deok’s vision is depleting day by day and the doctor mentioned that she will one day lose her vision completely. Tough grandma keeps her secret but was found out by Do San. Do San promised to keep it a secret but he built an app to help the visually impaired and believes it will have her in the future.

The three years

To let go for the best interest. After Dal Mi realized that Do San is not the letter’s Do San and Ji Pyung is, the triangle relationship turned into confusion. Dal Mi is confused between love for the letter Do San or the man standing in front of her.

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Even though she figured it out, Samsan tech went into a stage known as ‘Acqui-hiring’ and the pioneers of Samsan techs venture to the real Silicon Valley for 3 years contract.

Starting again

While the guys are in Silicon Valley, Dal Mi joined her sister’s company which was her competitor. Three years helps Dal Mi to grow as a future CEO and also bridge the torn relationship between the sisters.

The crisis strikes again and the engineers call quits. Just nice they are back in Seoul for a mini vacation. They voted to move back Korea after the contract ends and end up joining Dal Mi in her newly established company that are in the midst of building automated driving car, Tarzan.

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Will Do San still feel inferior? What happened to all of them during the three years and how it changes them.

I love this so much! Don’t get me wrong, the main characters made me feel so much love as well, just Grandma Won Deok and Ji Pyung made me laugh and cry the most.

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