Kang Han-na, Nam Joo-hyuk, Bae Suzy, and Kim Seon-ho of “Start-up.” (tvN)

“Start-up,” an ongoing K-drama set in a fictional Korean Silicon Valley, is the number one show on Netflix Philippines as of this writing.

This K-drama is about the dreams and aspirations of young entrepreneurs and how they try to find their own place in the startup world. Interwoven with this is a story of an unrequited love that has turned into an exciting love triangle.

Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho, and Kang Han-na are the main cast of “Start-Up.” Also in this series is Kim Hae-sook, every K-drama fan’s current favorite halmoni.

This Korean drama on Netflix has at least three things that made me enjoy its early episodes.

1. Kindness Without Expectations

I watch K-dramas like “Start-Up” to be entertained. They help me escape — albeit temporarily — the painful realities of our times. The pandemic, the blatant abuses of those in power, and the daily dose of other negative news wear us down. Seeing inspiring acts, even within a fictional story, can give us moments of respite from darkness.

Kim Hae-Sook as Choi Won-Deok (tvN)

In “Start-Up,” Choi Won-deok (Kim Hae-sook), a corn dog seller, gives the young Han Ji-pyeong a place to stay. An orphan, he is suspicious of other people’s intentions. He cannot understand why the old woman would help a stranger.

Years later, Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk), a startup founder, gives in to Ji-pyeong’s request to help Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy), a struggling part-timer. Do-san has no idea who Dal-mi is; he just decides to help her.

Halmoni Won-deok and Do-san are ready to help even if they do not know if doing so could be of any benefit to them. Maybe they just love to create ripples of kindness.

2. Pen Pals

When I was younger, I used to send and receive letters from other young people from other places in the Philippines. It was fun exchanging stories with distant strangers who might eventually turn into friends.

The feeling of anticipation as I waited for letters from my pen pals was priceless. It was an era before social media, and I didn’t know email yet at that time.

Nam Da-Reum as young Han Ji-pyeong (tvN)
Heo Jung-eun as young Seo Dal-mi and Kim Joo-hun as her father Seo Chung-myung. (tvN)

Like me, the young Ji-pyeong also had to write letters for a friend. The only difference was that he did that to return the favor given by Won-deok. She asked him to write letters for her granddaughter Dal-mi. She believed that the letters could help the girl gain confidence and be more cheerful. It did, but it would also cause Dal-mi so much confusion.

3. The Startup Scene

Among my favorite books are those that chronicle popular Internet companies’ stories. I enjoy knowing how these firms’ founders started and struggled to make their companies big. There was a time I got so impressed with the mission of a mobile startup that I was willing to leave a stable job to join it.

However, I never got to work in an actual startup. Being a part of Yahoo! when it put up a Manila office was the closest experience I had to being in a startup.

Kim Seon-ho as Han Ji-pyeong in “Start-up.” (tvN)
Kim Do-wan, Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Yoo Su-bin, and Stephanie Lee as Team Samsan Tech. (tvN)

In the “Start-Up,” we get a glimpse of what entrepreneurs go through as they develop their product or service, form their team, come up with a business model, and secure funding. Start-up life is risky, but the successes that come with it can also be very fulfilling.

These three are just some of my favorite elements of “Start-Up.” These may not be enough for you to start watching this K-drama, but its lovable characters, mini-business lessons, and funny lines may get you hooked.

Ederic Eder

Ederic is a Filipino communications worker in the telecom, media, and technology industry. He lives on the web.

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