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Sam Kim: Pioneering the Startup Ecosystem in New Zealand

In the vibrant world of startups, there are trailblazers who redefine the entrepreneurial landscape. One such visionary is Sam Kim, the founder of Hobby Company, whose journey in the startup industry has been nothing short of remarkable. With a diverse portfolio of ventures, an unwavering passion for innovation, and a commitment to nurturing budding entrepreneurs, Sam Kim's story is a testament to the power of persistence, adaptability, and the spirit of innovation.

A Journey of Entrepreneurship

Sam Kim's foray into the startup world began in 2017 when he founded his first startup, Gifticon. Gifticon emerged as a simple yet ingenious solution to send and receive digital gifts across the globe. With a seed capital of $1.1 million, Gifticon quickly gained momentum, offering users the ability to gift digital vouchers redeemable for various products, from movie tickets to coffee and food, in New Zealand, Australia, and South Korea. It wasn't long before the platform amassed over 20,000 users, all achieved with a minimal marketing budget, a testament to Sam's strategic prowess.

The success of Gifticon didn't go unnoticed, as it attracted the attention of MIE Pay, leading to a merger and acquisition process. Sam Kim's astute entrepreneurial instincts had earned him a significant milestone early in his journey.

Undeterred by the ever-evolving startup landscape, Sam embarked on a new venture in 2019, founding Dog on Restaurant. This gourmet handmade pet food startup took New Zealand by storm, offering delectable pet food options, including sushi, pizzas, desserts, wines, and even birthday cakes for dogs. The concept was unique and quickly gained a substantial market share. Plans were in motion to open a local restaurant where dogs and their owners could dine together, but the unforeseen challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of the company.

A Prolific Creator

Sam Kim's entrepreneurial spirit knows no bounds. His love for consumer tech products drove him to create an impressive array of services from 2020 to 2023. Sam's journey involved every aspect of a startup, from ideation and idea validation through user surveys to building a minimum viable product (MVP), launch, gaining traction, data analysis, pitch deck creation, and innovative approaches to attracting investors on platforms like LinkedIn.

Empowering the Startup Ecosystem

With over six years of experience in the consumer tech space and the startup industry, Sam Kim recognized the challenges faced by early-stage founders. He understood the struggles of building software, gaining traction, and raising capital. To address these challenges, he established Hobby Company, a platform dedicated to assisting founders in their early-stage journeys.

Since its inception, Sam and Hobby Company have provided invaluable support to over 130 founders across multiple countries, including New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, and the Philippines. Their assistance spans various stages of the startup process, offering mentorship, guidance, and resources to help founders overcome hurdles and achieve their goals.

The Vision

Sam Kim's entrepreneurial journey is a testament to his unwavering commitment to innovation and the startup ecosystem. From Gifticon to Dog on Restaurant and the founding of Hobby Company, Sam has left an indelible mark on the startup landscape in New Zealand and beyond. His dedication to empowering early-stage founders reflects his belief in the transformative potential of startups. As Sam continues to pave the way for budding entrepreneurs, his story serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved through determination, resilience, and a passion for innovation.

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