[Buzzvil People] Rob Seo, CEO of Buzzvil US

Buzzvil People took the opportunity to introduce each Buzzvillians with a variety of backgrounds, personality, and thoughts. If you are wondering how best colleagues in Buzzvil are gathering to create the best team, if you are curious about each of the colorful Buzzvillians, please pay attention to Buzzvil People.


1.Please give us a quick introduction of yourself.

Hi, this is Rob. I was born and raised in the US (Maryland) and went to UMD for undergrad. I joined the US Marines while I was in school and in 2003, I took a year off to invade Iraq. After my deployment, I finished school and moved to NYC to work at UBS in investment banking. After a few years, I moved to South America for a year to learn Spanish and to do an Ironman Triathlon (3.9km swim, 180km bike and 42km marathon). I came back to NYC and worked at Goldman Sachs investing their capital for a bit before getting my MBA at the Wharton School (UPenn). After graduation, I moved to Korea for a year to look at startup ideas and then moved back (with a rockstar team) to start my company, Slidejoy. Buzzvil just acquired Slidejoy and now I’m very excited to join the team! You can read a more detailed bio about me before Slidejoy in the link here.


2. How do you define yourself? Do you have a personal goal or dream? If so, how does your experience at Buzzvil help you?

I don’t define myself by specific labels, but rather, the things I care about. Outside of my family and friends, there are two things I care about. First, a challenge. But not just any challenge. One that is so intimidating that I’m terrified to even attempt it. I have to be completely unsure of my ability to accomplish it or else I’m not getting out of bed to pursue it. Second, fighting injustice to help others. I joined the Marines because I wanted to serve and do my part to right some of the injustices in this world. I get angry seeing someone/group get discriminated against or even if someone butts in front of me in line. Over the years, I’ve learned to pick my battles (and how I fight), but I think it’s important for everyone to fight a good fight. Buzzvil/Slidejoy fits perfectly into what I am looking to accomplish in life. It is a huge challenge to build a two-sided marketplace from nothing. There were so many times I wasn’t sure that we’d be able to do it. Second, we’ve built a business by giving. I think it’s so amazing to start a business that gives value back to its users. I’m really proud that we’ve been able to give away millions of dollars to other people. I’m always going to work harder so that we could give more, but in the meantime, at least I’m able to look at myself in the mirror and call myself a man.


3. How does it feel to work at a startup?

I think the important part about working at a startup is that you are able to feel. Don’t get me wrong, some of the time, it feels TERRIBLE, like so bad that you think your world is ending, but some of the time, it feels AMAZING. I think being alive as a human being is about feeling emotions. A startup allows me to feel a wide range of emotions that I would not be able to feel working at an established company. I’m not saying working at a large company is bad because I learned a lot in my previous experiences. But I founded a startup because I felt it was time to feel something while applying what I learned.


4. What brings you to Buzzvil? In other words, What made you decide to sell your company to Buzzvil? What kind of synergies do you expect after the merger?

The answer to all of your questions is the same, people. A mutual friend of my cofounder, Jaeho Chung, introduced us to Joshua. As we got to know the people at Buzzvil better, it became clear that we had to work together. Our vision, culture and values are completely aligned so it just made sense. From my experience with some of the most respected and prestigious organizations in the world, I’ve seen that a small, dedicated team can make a serious impact in the world. I see the potential to do that at Buzzvil. I would say working with smart, accomplished people who are too focused on our shared goal than to be concerned with their egos is the best part of being a Buzzvillian.


5. Tell me about Slidejoy? What are its strengths?

We are the lockscreen market leader in the US, the largest advertising market in the world. As a result, the unit economics for Slidejoy are very strong. Now that we have built a scalable business on the consumer and B2B side, we’re poised for significant growth. Also, there were a lot of other competitors in the US who had more people, funding and time than Slidejoy, but we outperformed all of them. The only way we were able to do so was because we have a world-class team. We have engineers from the best schools and companies in the world including Stanford, Seoul National University, KAIST, Nexon, Naver, Oracle, Line, etc. In addition, with 3 Wharton MBA’s, we were able to strategically navigate the difficulties of starting a business.


6. What is your role at Slidejoy and in the future with Buzzvil?

I was the CEO of Slidejoy and am now the CEO of Buzzvil US. I will continue to grow both the consumer side of the business through our app, Slidejoy, and the B2B side of the business with BuzzScreen. We already have our first BuzzScreen partner in the US and 2017 will be about establishing more partnerships in the US. To be honest, I am pretty excited to be a part of Buzzvil not just because I can continue to grow the business but because I can work with smart, accomplished people who are very focused on our shared goal. It feels pretty amazing. 

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