A team, consisting of a 90s born Korean journalist and a Chinese AliExpress e-shop owner, aims to share the message “Seek your dream” through their cycling trip
Shanghai, China - May 24th, 2018 — The SeekRoad team held its launching party today at WeWork Yanping-lu, where it unveiled its plans to organize 14 tech meet-ups during a ten-month-long cycling journey from Shanghai to London. They shared information about the sponsors who will support the team along their way.
The SeekRoad team, consisting of Chaewon Yoo, a 1990-born South Korean girl and Jianan Li, a 1991-born Chinese guy, plans to cycle from Shanghai to London, organizing 14 tech meet-ups and interviewing startup entrepreneurs on the ancient Silk Road (the areas of today's One Belt and One Road Initiative) from June 2nd, 2018 to March, 2019. The team will cycle along the Silk Road through 13 countries -- China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France and the U.K. and then come back to South Korea, Chaewon’s home country.
Chaewon Yoo, project leader of SeekRoad
“I volunteered in Ecuador for one year in 2012, and I went there without a smart phone. My friend and I always enjoyed watching a documentary of a Korean guy named Sang-eun An, cycling around Eurasia with his friend. Since then, I have been dreaming of a cycling trip,” Chaewon Yoo, the project leader at SeekRoad says. “I chose a cycling trip, because planes and trains are still too fast for me. I want to observe different cultures with human speed.”
“When Chaewon first told me about her huge plan, I was very surprised. Those who lead a day-to-day normal life, might not have such ambition. She asked me to join her trip, and I said I needed to think about it. But I immediately made up my mind when she said: ‘we are turning 30 soon, if we want to do something crazy, we’d better do it now’,” Jianan Li shares.
After three and a half years working in China as a reporter at Chinese tech media outlet TechNode, Chaewon Yoo, better known as Eva Yoo in China, quit her job on May 10th to embark on this road trip with Jianan Li, a previous e-shop owner on the AliExpress platform.
“My name Chaewon(采源）means seeking for origin. I’m on a journey to seek my dream and origin, and I want to encourage others to do the same. That’s why I named this project “SeekRoad (采路)”,” Chaewon explains.
When they first revealed their plan to their friends and family members, they were not supportive.
“I know many people around me don’t encourage me to do this, and some doesn’t even understand me for doing this. But I think that everyone needs to believe in their own way of living, stick to it, and never regret. I follow my way,” Jianan reflects.
“In order to “seek my dream”, I just needed to speak out. After telling my cycling plan to people around me, my friends and members from the cycling community kindly offered me with their bikes, jerseys, and panniers. That way, I didn’t have to spend much money to start cycling,” Chaewon says.
Chaewon Yoo and Jianan Li are not cycling professionals. Chaewon first started cycling on a professional road bike this March 13th, and Jianan has not ridden a professional bike for many years. Chaewon was also diagnosed with osteopenia this March, meaning that her bone density is lower than others. Rather than complaining about their physical conditions, the two are counting on their young age and passion.
Finding sponsors was also not an easy process. After Chaewon first pitched her project to her Korean community on March 13th, she reached out to all her networks in China and South Korea to look for possible sponsors for her journey. After two months of searching for sponsors, the team revealed the sponsor names for this trip.
The project’s exclusive main sponsor is Shanghai-headquartered blockchain company Robin8 (robin8.net), a global leader in profile-centric advertising that utilizes AI and big data to profile, rank and match consumers to brands. Their silver sponsors include Primer (primer.kr), a Korean venture capital firm for early stage startups; Startup Alliance (startupall.kr), a Korean organization that enriches the Korean startup ecosystem and helps Korean startups go global; MyRealTrip (www.myrealtrip.com), a Korean travel startup providing personalized guided tours; EnterMedia (eng.enter-tech.com), a Korean company behind wireless home karaoke microphone Magicsing; and SparkLabs (sparklabsglobal.com), a Korean startup accelerator focused on global expansion.
Product sponsors include Oyama (oyama.com), a Taiwanese bicycle company which has a wide range of touring bikes, mountain bikes, and folding bikes for the global market; KOLON sport (kolonsport.com), a Korean outdoor sportswear company; Trickoo (trickcoo.com.cn), a Chinese winter outdoor clothing designer brand; Silicon Power Computer & Communications (silicon-power.com), a Taiwan-based manufacturer of flash memory products and Cadence Translate, (cadencetranslate.com), a translation firm providing world-class interpreters for high-end meetings.
Angel investors include Sunwoo Kim, founder and CEO of Chinada (chinatan.co.kr), the biggest Chinese language learning company based in Korea; Jason Xu, managing partner at Modern Capital; and Eliot Shin, CEO of NEOPLY China (neoply.com). WeWork (wework.com) is SeekRoad’s collaborative partner, providing shared workspaces and an international startup community network for the team.
SeekRoad launch party held in WeWork Shanghai
People can follow SeekRoad by searching “SeekRoad” on Facebook (fb.com/seekroad18), Twitter (twitter.com/road_seek), WeChat (WeChat account: seekroad18) and Weibo (weibo.com/seekroad), and their YouTube channel SeekRoad.
For more information, please contact:
Chaewon Yoo, Project leader at SeekRoad +8618516360462 firstname.lastname@example.org