...But in the end of the day, as you expand and grow your business, it is important to know that it is always good to have friends everywhere in the world who see past the business to land a hand.
— Kevin Yoo (CFO WearWorks)
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About WearWorks

WearWorks is a haptics design company.

We design products and experiences that deliver information through touch. Our first product, is a wearable haptic navigation device for the blind and visually impaired called WAYBAND™. It guides users to an end-destination using only vibration.

Offloading this from the eyes and ears, the WAYBAND™ delivers information without a display in a more intuitive way.


Why did you decide to participate in the program? What did you expect?
Did you reach the goals you have set for yourself?

In the midst of intensity in NY, this program was recognized by Ruby. Her hometown is Berlin and she knew the awakening of the start-up scene there. We really didn’t know that much about the program before we participated and found out about it through a friend in Berlin. But being invested by BMW, working with German engineers in New York and also hearing a lot about the booming startup scene in Germany made us curious to check it out ourselves. We had varying expectations but in the end it was better than we could have expected! The goal was to have international exposure, education on expanding to Germany, how to obtain financial support and make great friends in the progress. It was all fluidly accomplished.

Did you have any program highlight?
What kind of information did you use right away after the end of the program?

Our personal program highlight was obviously when we won the final pitch! But besides that the people at Berlin partners have been a highlight throughout the entire journey and beyond. We got such great support in bringing the business to Germany, making connections and learning about the German market. So we decided to open a representative office right after the program finished and also hired three people.

Can you share with us any lesson learned?

I was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. when I was 10 years old. I had cultural shocks and adapted to them. But as I traveled more throughout my life, I saw something that was most important, the mentality of people formed by culture. This was an important lesson since I wanted to expand the business to work with the nations, through influence and differences. By listening to the people who are at the forefront of business development for international companies while living and working in Germany provides the best sense of what works and what doesn’t.

What makes Berlin so special and which kind of contacts and networks did you meet during your stay?

Berlin Partner of course was the main start to our successful journey in Germany to establish our presence there. With support from Berlin Partners as well, they have assisted with my residency approvals and provided meetings that educated us about the hurdles of starting a branch in Berlin. Through Start Alliance, I have had opportunities to pitch at numerous events that provided me with connections to fantastic individuals whom I still keep in touch today. I even partook in Design Farm Berlin to see the students delivering ideas to the final stages, Founders Garage where I pitched in front of hundreds of people and traveled all around Germany to execute partnerships with Beneficial Design Institute for sustainability where we received a grant.

We heard about your european project – could you tell us more about that? 

Berlin partner suggested the WearSustain Open call to us. It is a funding opportunity by the EU for sustainability and ethics based projects. We partnered up with a Berlin based institute and are now able to share the happy news that we got funded to integrate sustainability and ethics into our product! We are very excited to explore a new but very important path.

What would you recommend to startups interested in participating in the program?

We can’t recommend this program enough. The Berlin Partner team is great, the workshops and events are extremely helpful in learning and understanding more about the Berlin startup ecosystem. Berlin Partner’s network and support is invaluable and of course, it is two weeks of a lot of fun! Most importantly, for international companies like us coming into an ecosystem for the first time, I believe we should be required to educate ourselves about what the cultural mentality is and listen carefully to the people to understand more about ethical business.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

It was a wonderful experience without a doubt and I have recommended it to many of my friends who are founders in NY and all over the world.

I’ve met with potential competitors and allies as I pitched and traveled. But in the end of the day, as you expand and grow your business, it is important to know that it is always good to have friends everywhere in the world who see past the business to land a hand.

 

We are a group of passionate designers and engineers focused on building the next generation of wearable devices that improve living in urban environments.  

Visit WearWorks

www.wear.works