INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
3D Asset Platform ACON3D: Secret to the Fast-Growing Webtoon Industry in Asia
Julie Seo, Co-founder, and COO at ACON3D tells us how they strongly believe creations utilizing 3D and those in the 3D form will become dominant in the future.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Julie Seo: Here in South Korea, we are still in the middle of dealing with COVID-19, wearing masks at all times and limiting private meet-ups to less than 5 people. Most of us are able to go on normally with our everyday lives, though, thanks to our great medical & healthcare workers.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ACON3D.
Julie Seo: From previous work experiences together at another IT startup, we started from Minhong’s (Minhong Lee, co-founder & CEO) idea to solve problems in the architecture industry. As an architecture student, Minhong witnessed thousands of great 3D designs from failed bids and coursework left forgotten in his field alone, while content creators from industries such as animation and webtoon had difficulties in finding assets they needed for efficient creation. We teamed up with Minhong’s entrepreneur & service planning backgrounds and my backgrounds in marketing, strategy & business development from Samsung to IT startups to build ACON3D as it is today.
How does ACON3D innovate?
Julie Seo: Our service connects 3D designers (sellers) and content creators (buyers) who would each have critical painpoints, with a user-friendly platform & technical efforts to narrow down differences in creating and using 3D models. Sellers upload their 3D models to our platform, and from our assistance & services, buyers easily find assets to use for the backgrounds, details, and characters in their creations. From our service, we are enabling a sustainable ecosystem for 3D designers and contributing to the growth of creators from easier & affordable content creation. Having started from South Korea, we are supporting more than 10,000 creators in our second year in service and currently expanding to other parts of Asia and the world also. Specifically, most webtoon artists in South Korea buy 3D assets from our service to create high-quality works under tight publishing schedules.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Julie Seo: Luckily, as our product & services are completely in digital form, and because our suppliers and customers also work digitally, our business did not suffer directly from COVID-19. On our team side, the pandemic broke out after less than 1 year of servicing ACON3D, and most of our team had to work remotely for over a year. Our team had been using various communication & work-related online tools from the beginning of our business, which made us quite ready for remote work.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Julie Seo: We wanted to be as connected as possible and tried to narrow the difference between office & remote work to the extent of location only. Communicating with Slack and Google Meet at all times during working hours and leaving records & documentation with Notion and Gsuite’s many tools, we were able to team up almost seamlessly regardless of where we were. Our team also had many virtual meet-ups with food and drinks at our homes, which kept us personally close together too.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Julie Seo: ACON3D competes with traditional 2D & 3D asset providers, who are big in scale but leaving painpoints in newly emerging ways and forms of creation. Our team is currently leading creators from new & exploding markets in content, such as webtoon and video creation. From closely keeping in touch with our target customers and satisfying them both platform & product-wise, we plan to keep our advantage by continuously introducing innovative ways of creating content faster & easier.
Your final thoughts?
Julie Seo: From many factors, including the pandemic, people around the world are continuously finding new ways to connect, enjoy and live in digital & virtual forms. ACON3D is already a strong supporter of 10,000+ creators who aim for such needs and is also home to hundreds of 3D designers who want to add new value to their works from these creators. We strongly believe creations utilizing 3D and those in the form of 3D will become dominant in the near future, and we hope ACON3D will become the center of this excitement.
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