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Start-Up: Overview, Cast, 3 Fun Facts & More

Overview of Start-Up

‘Start-Up’ is a Korean Drama series starring Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho and Kang Han-na in lead roles. This most awaited series released in 2020 is about young adults running after their dreams to become successful business icons and technological innovators in the Korean version of American Series, Silicon Valley.

The direction and the editing gave the storytelling vibe and made viewers immersed in the story. The story rolls around a girl named Seo dal-mi (Bae Suzy), and her life journey with her strong determination, facing ups and downs, failures, and success.

The drama portrays young people working hard to build start-ups and how competitive, busy, and exhilarating the business world is.


  • Drama: Start-Up
  • Director: Oh Choong-hwan
  • Writer: Park Hye-ryun
  • Network: TVN
  • Episodes: 16
  • Release Date: October 17 – December 6, 2020
  • Language: Korean
  • Country: South Korea



  • Bae Suzy as Seo Dal-mi
  • Heo Jung-eun as young Seo Dal-mi
  • Nam Joo-hyuk as Nam Do-san
  • Kim Kang-hoon as young Nam Do-san
  • Kim Seon-ho as Han Ji-pyeong
  • Nam Da-reum as young Han Ji-pyeong
  • Kang Han-na as Won In-jae/Seo In-jae
  • Lee Re as young Won In-jae


  • Kim Hae-sook as Choi Won-deok
  • Song Seon-mi as Cha Ah-hyun
  • Um Hyo-sup as Won Doo-jung
  • Moon Dong-hyeok as Won Sang-soo
  • Yoo Su-bin as Lee Chul-san
  • Kim Hee-jung as Park Geum-jung
  • Seo Yi-sook as Yoon Seon-hak
  • Jasper Cho as Alex Kwon


The drama ‘Start-Up’ begins with two sisters, Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) and Won In-jae (Kang Han-na), who were separated at a young age because their parents got divorced during their father’s struggling days.

Seo Dal-mi aspires to be a big-time entrepreneur. During her childhood, she was extremely attached to her father but had to separate from her sister and mother. She chooses to stay with her father and support him. She notices an urgency to start a business, and remains with her father.

kdramalive images of Start-Up.
Still from “Start-Up” (2020). Credits: Pinterest.

She wants to prove herself to her sister, Won In-jae, who has become a wealthy and successful woman as their mother married a rich businessman who gave In-jae a rich lifestyle. Won In-jae and Seo Dal-mi’s father passed away due to an accident and she moved in with her grandmother.

Seo Dal-mi grew up as a hard-working woman with little to no financial stability. She entered the world of start-ups to establish her own business. She never regrets her choice to start a part-time job after she gets dropped out of school, and tries hard to make good choices in her life.

Han Ji-Pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) is introduced as an orphan who got support from Seo Dal-mi’s grandmother at a very young age. Her grandmother requests Han Ji-pyeong to be in touch with Seo Dal-mi and exchange letters as she had no friends during her childhood.

Seo Dal-mi then started receiving long conversational letters from Han Ji-pyeong who used the name Nam Do-san, whom Dal-mi has believed to be her pen pal since.

15 years later, Han Ji-pyeong is now a successful name in the start-up world. He is a team leader at SH Venture Capital with a plain-spoken nature and good investment skills.

Years passed, Seo Dal-mi’s actual pen pal, Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk) is a genius tech-savvy with futuristic visions but with very low self-confidence. Nam Do-san and his two programmer friends Lee Chul-san and Kim Yong-san are struggling to thrive in the start-up world with their new business, as they were not able to find an investor.

Then the focus of the drama shifts to Sandbox, an organization coordinated by great investors. Sandbox is known to be the fictional Silicon Valley of South Korea.

Seo Dal-mi joined Sandbox to give wings to her start-up dream whereas Nam Do-san started a company called Samsan Tech. Han Ji-pyeong is already a successful adviser in the company. Won In-jae, Dal-mi’s sister, also joins Sandbox with the determination to institute a company of her own as her step-father fires her so that he can admit his son to that position. All these characters meye after many years under Sandbox and hence started a start-up journey.

kdramalive images of Start-Up
Still from “Start-Up” (2020). Credits: Pinterest.

Later, Sandbox, a platform for fresh startups, conducted a competition to find five sustainable start-ups and provide them with the required investment along with providing office space, needed equipment, salary, and other expenses. Seo Dal-mi and Nam Do-san submitted their business proposal and they even win, followed by the grand exposure of their businesses.

Nam Do-san finds out that Dal-mi mistakenly recalls him as a secret pen pal whom she considers her first love, so he decides to progress towards turning the misunderstanding of Seo Dal-mi into reality.

With this, all these characters have an evolving growth and they figure out life and relationships.


‘Start-Up’ brings up technology as its main theme. The drama revolves around an interesting storyline of young ambitious souls striving to succeed in the world of startups. The entire drama basically leans toward the message of finding one’s life purpose through their chosen profession.

‘Start-Up’ gives an insight into the processes and terms of starting a new business and it also depicts the industrial, professional, and commercial activities in the tech industry. The charismatic and well-rounded characters make us empathise and take us through their dreams, ambitions to their emotional baggage and anxiety.

kdramlive images of Start-up
Still from “Start-Up” (2020). Credits: Pinterest.

This office drama is an ideal fit for those who are looking for a motivational story filled with glimpses of career, friendship, love, and life lessons. Bring forth the message, dare to dream big and be courageous enough to overcome obstacles that interrupt your journey.


  • Baeksang Arts Awards (2021)
    Most Popular Actor (Kim Seon-ho)
  • Korea First Brand Awards (2020)
    Actress of the Year (Bae Suzy)
  • Seoul International Drama Awards (2021)
    Outstanding Korean Drama (‘Start-Up’)
    Outstanding Korean Actress (Bae Suzy)
    Character of the Year (Kim Seon-ho)

Interesting Facts about Start-Up

  1. ‘Start-Up’ is set in the middle of Korea’s Silicon Valley, known as Sandbox.
  2. Kang Han-na had cut her trademark long hair to a shorter hairdo for her role in the series.
  3. In one of the scenes in ‘Start-Up’, the South Korean government’s support for developing start-up businesses portrayed is as authentic.


  1. Who is the director of the drama ‘Start-Up’?
    The drama is directed by Oh Choong-hwan, a popular South Korean director.
  2. What is the genre of the drama ‘Start-Up’?
    The drama falls into the Drama, Romantic comedy, and Slice of Life genres.
  3. How many episodes are out of the Korean drama ‘Start-Up’?
    ‘Start-Up’ has 16 episodes, and each episode is around 72–85 minutes long.
  4. Who are the main couple in the Korean drama ‘Start-Up’?
    Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) and Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk) are the main couple in ‘Start-Up’ with their heart-fluttering romance.
  5. What are the Instagram ID’s of the lead actors?

    skuukzky is the Instagram ID of Bae Suzy and skawngur is the Instagram ID of Nam Joo-hyuk.

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