Chan-jin Lee is the so-called "first-generation venture heroes" in Korea. He was the founder of Haan Soft. Many readers of this blog may not be familiar with the company, but it's the maker of "HWP", a word processor software that had effectively kept Korea as one of only few markets in the world where Microsoft Word didn't get a significant market traction, for many years. (Now even in Korea MS Word has the lion's share of the market, but HWP still sees quite significant usage to this date). Haan Soft also owns Thinkfree, an online office application suite. 

In 1999, after 10 years of tenure at Haansoft, Lee had moved on to his second venture, Dreamwiz, an internet portal. Talk about a big transition: Unlike some folks in Redmond, Lee had a big success with packaged software but had soon developed a foresight that the future would lie in the web not in the packaged software. Dreamwiz is not top 5 portal now, but it's still a decent tier-2 portal site in Korea. 

So his first venture was a smash hit, and the second one wasn't too shabby either. And now this serial entrepreneur seems to have caught another startup bug - this time, the name of the game is smartphone apps. 

These days, Lee seems to be focused single-handedly on developing iPhone apps, such as the iPhone Go-Stop game. (Go-Stop is like a Korean poker). With no iPhone officially available yet in Korea, Lee's iPhone apps are not exactly seeing millions of downloads - but the figures do show a pretty steep growth, Lee says. Lee recently wrote a blog post (in Korean) that the cumulative revenue of his iPhone apps has reached the $10K mark, in 2 months. Still pretty small figures, but Lee seems to be pretty giddy-up; After all, iPhone hasn't even launched in Korea yet. 

Lee's iPhone game (Go Stop)

If you still have a lingering doubt that the mobile web, despite all the hypes, never took off and therefore will likely remain that way in the future, maybe it's time to think again. Lee may be little known outside of Korea, but that doesn't mean he's not a visionary. This man is a classic visionary type who just knows when something big is coming. (Maybe he gets a tingling feeling in the back or something.) According to Lee, first there was packaged software, then there was the internet, and now it's the smartphone apps. He's pretty tenacious - he spent a decade each for the first two waves, and he's now braced for spending his third decade on this newly emerging market. His smartphone apps venture is still very much nascent, but let's see how he pulls this one and turns it into a jackpot. Meanwhile, you are also welcome to join the smartphone apps bandwagon, especially if you are bold enough to trust one serial entrepreneur's hunch. 

TAG chan-jin lee, dreamwiz, go-stop, , smartphone
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