Two Penn students created Kfans, an app that aims to foster connections between fans of Korean pop culture.
College sophomore Louis Chung, one of the co-founders, said that the purpose of the app is to allow users to interact on a more intimate level with other United States-based Korean pop music and Korean drama lovers. The app enables users to have one-on-one conversations, and a Tinder-style matchmaking system is currently in development.
Chung, along with College senior Wenxuan Chen, launched Kfans ‚ originally named K-net, in November 2021 after the pair met in a Korean popular culture class and connected over their shared passion for K-dramas, Chung said. Chung has taken on the business side of the app while Chen is focused on technological development.
Chung said that he and Chen noticed that other South Korean entertainment platforms could make it difficult to build friendships due to language barriers caused by an international user base and content feeds filled with a high number of users.
“Other apps claim that they can help you make new friends, but that’s just not the case,” Chung said. “In a general feed of thousands or even millions of people, you really can’t have meaningful conversations.”
In the near future, by providing personal information on their profiles, users will be able to be matched with others who share similar interests in the Korean entertainment industry, according to Chung.
“Our app is special in that it’s the first K-drama-oriented app where people can connect one-on-one in a private chat setting,” said Chung.
Surviving as an independent business can be a challenge, Chung said, especially in a market dominated by apps such as Weverse, a web platform created by HYBE — the entertainment company behind the K-pop powerhouse BTS. As of March 2020, Weverse had over 1.4 million daily users, and the Korean Herald reported that the number of accumulated Weverse users reached 36 million in December 2021.
Chung added that as two college students trying to make an impact on the K-pop industry, the pair has had to work around having limited time and resources.
“I believe with the proper vision and effort, we can provide something meaningful,” said Chung, adding that they hope their latest development, the matchmaking system, will put them ahead of the curve.
The pair also found help through the Wharton School’s Venture Lab, a resource that provides support for Penn student and alumni entrepreneurs. Chung and Chen are the only undergraduate team to be part of the VIP-X spring 2022 cohort, a program within the Venture Lab that provides resources to student entrepreneurs.
Chung said that while the work can become hectic, the pair enjoys bringing their project to life.
“We don’t consider this to be a side project,” said Chung. “We consider it to be a valuable part of our lives.”