Posted in kdrama

Start-Up (2020) Review

Samsan Tech (삼산택)

I have finished watching this drama and I have to say… The story was intriguing and it did deliver good results (and a huge wave of fans).

The story is about Seo Dalmi (portrayed by Bae Suzy) who came from a broken family who had hopes of becoming a CEO of her own company. Nam Dosan (portrayed by Nam Joo Hyuk) was genius kid who won a quiz bee defeating kids who were way older than him and it went to a point that he went straight to college but eventually dropped out and went back to middle school. After a small plot by Dalmi’s grandmother and Han Jipyeong (portrayed by Kim Seon Ho) long time ago. They became penpals and the rest is history

My thoughts about the story overall:

The drama shows the reality of how difficult it is to build a start-up company. As one company will have to go through a ton of hardships in order for them to succeed. During the course of the drama it also shows important terminologies that is essential while building a start-up company. What I also liked was the plot twist wherein the Samsan Tech team was disbanded. But after 3 years they were reunited to finish that one project that they have planned before Samsan Tech was bought by 2STO.

Character thoughts:

Seo Dalmi – The CEO of Samsan Tech (which later turned to Cheong Myeong) who grew up with her grandmother shortly after her father died. She proved to everyone why she was picked as CEO during the Sandbox exam. She may not have the technical skills but she has faith on all her team members. She was deceived that Nam Dosan was really the one sending her letters when she was a child but it turns out to be Han Jipyeong who was presuaded by her own grandmother to become friends with after being separated from her older sister Injae.

Nam Dosan – CEO of Samsan Tech (before entering Sandbox)/CTO of Samsan Tech/Cheong Myeong – The brains behind the Image Recognition tech of the company. The boy whose name was randomly picked by Dalmi’s grandmother and Han Jipyeong to pretend as Dalmi’s new friend. He was approached later on by Han Jipyeong and was asked to pretend to be a successful businessman to protect Dalmi’s feelings. It turns out that his real identity has been revealed and later on became Dalmi’s love interest. He was always on the receiving end of Han Jipyeong’s criticism especially about Samsan Tech’s business model and became rivals with him to win Dalmi’s heart.

Won/Seo Injae – Dalmi’s elder sister who followed her mother during their parent’s divorce. She became a successful CEO from her stepfather’s company. She was seen originally as the evil sister on the drama but later on during the series, she showed how she still care for Dalmi. After hearing her grandmother’s degrading vision, she eventually showed up and making amends with her family and later on changed her family name back to Seo after her mother’s divorce to her stepfather.

Han Jipyeong – Director of SH Venture Capital. In my opinion, the most interesting character throughout the series. An orphan that used his skills in investing at a very young age. She was adopted by Dalmi’s grandmother and was fondly called “Good Boy”. He is Dalmi’s real penpal and he has protected Dalmi on numerous occassions. He is straightforward about his opinions especially if he sees any flaws on any start-up businesses that he encountered. He became a rival of Dosan when it comes to Dalmi. At the end of the series, he set his feelings aside and became a business partner for Cheong Myeong. Kim Seon Ho’s popularity when through the roof after the drama aired on TvN/Netflix.


I would definitely recommend this drama to everyone. It provides us with a fresh plot that revolves around Business, Family and Friends (without the usual goons or similar stuff).

Additional Notes

Due to the drama’s popularity, there were a ton of merchandise producing replica shirts from the series (Sandbox’s CEO, Mentor and Staff shirts). I was able to secure the CEO and Mentor shirts, but news has it that TvN will be releasing the official merchandise from the series (hopefully I can secure the official merchandise soon). In addition, I was rooting for the relationship of Cheol-San and Sa Ha, as their segments were way more interesting than the segments that we saw from Dosan and Dalmi.

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