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Smartphone battery sharing service hits Korea

Feb. 13, 2014 - 19:57 By Korea Herald
Choi Hyuk-jae (left) and his younger brother Hyuk-jun are CEO and COO of MycooN Corp., the world’s first smartphone battery sharing firm. (MycooN Corp.)

Choi Hyuk-jae and his younger brother Hyuk-jun together run MycooN Corp., a startup that provides the world’s first smartphone battery sharing service.

Through MycooN, which works with up to 70 partners such as mobile dealers in Seoul and Busan, customers can trade off drained smartphone batteries for fully charged ones. The empty batteries will then be charged and passed on to another customer.

The brothers said they hope to expand into other regions across the nation.

“My goal is to make every smartphone user ― there are currently around 35 million users in Korea ― receive our services at least once a year,” said the elder Choi in an interview with The Korea Herald. “I don’t think it is such a far-fetched idea since people always want quickly charged batteries.”

The cheap price of 3,000 won per transaction is especially appealing for smartphone users, he said. Extra fees are charged for deliveries based on distance.

MycooN conducts voltage tests on the recharged batteries as well as the empty batteries to make sure that they are properly working.

The brothers added that initially they use only new and authorized batteries, so there is no need for customers to be concerned about malfunctioning batteries damaging their smartphones.

They also spoke of how some people feel uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their batteries with complete strangers.

“But their preference for convenience overrides such concerns,” the older Choi said.

With MycooN’s newly updated Android application “Manddang” (slang referring to “fully charged” in Korean), users can receive push notifications on locations where they can replace their smartphone batteries.

Choi first came up with the idea of sharing smartphone batteries while working on a smartphone project for LG Electronics.

“I kept forgetting to bring my charger and would borrow batteries from my colleagues. It made me think that it would be convenient if there were fully charged batteries ready for use,” the CEO said.

The younger Choi, who is in charge of sales, recalls his first day of business.

“We had only two customers on the first day of business in 2011, but pretty soon we began to see business grow at a faster pace,” the younger brother said.

It is at outdoor events, including rock concerts, that MycooN really shines.

The brothers said their company would unveil a social networking service for its application to reach out to more customers. They also aim to strike more deals with convenience stores and major mobile carriers.

Last year, the company attracted total investment worth 400 million won ($376,000) from BonAngels Venture Partners and IDG Ventures Korea.

By Kim Young-won (