Hi, I’m Koosy (Seongyong Koo), and I want to tell you the story of how I became the Korean country director of an ambitious Belgian company called Pickit.
In the summer of 2017, I came across Pickit while I was browsing the internet. Even though I already had a PhD and 2 post-docs on 3D vision, object detection, deep learning, and robotics under my belt, I was always hungry for more. I participated in the Amazon picking challenge earlier that year and won a silver medal with my team in Germany. In my free time, I surfed the internet in search of new technologies and interesting applications, and was drawn more and more to the holy grail of bin picking and robots with eyes.
How a video led to a visit
That’s when I first saw one of Pickit’s YouTube videos. I had never heard of the Belgian start-up, but was surprised by their high quality product that was already proving its worth in the field. One thing led to another and soon I was talking to Pickit’s CEO, Peter Soetens, and visited the headquarters. I met the team, which were mainly engineers at the time, and immersed myself in the software. I was offered the job of senior robotics engineer / deep learning expert.
Mind you, I wasn’t even looking for a job. I was perfectly happy with my academic career and had no ambitions to go into the industry... until that visit. After seeing the software, I couldn’t sleep - all I did was dream of Pickit.
How a fair led to a new career
I moved from Germany to Belgium with my family, joined the team of 15 people, and spent my days working on deep learning and developing the software. One of my fondest memories was our participation in the Automatica 2018 fair, which was where all our hard work and team efforts came together. That feeling of good fellowship among the colleagues is something I still reminisce about.
Automatica was the big pivotal moment in my career at Pickit. Our booth was spotted by some potential Korean customers, that needed follow up. Being Korean, I started taking care of them: having remote meetings, training Korean partners, handling our first big accounts in Korea. Google Hangouts and email were a big help, but after a while, some face to face visits were called for. The original plan? I would visit Korea for a couple of months to get partners and customers on the rails. What actually happened? I moved back to Korea with my family.
Pickit is on the rise
Flashforward to 5 months later, March 2019. “Country Director” replaced “Senior Robotics Engineer” on my business card. The 15 people at Pick-it became 35 people. We’ve tapped into the Korean market for Pickit, but we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. We want to educate and train the Korean market, close the gap between SMEs and big manufacturing companies, further develop our partner network in this high-potential country and change the Korean industrial culture. I have a lot on my plate, but that’s exactly how I like it.
I love my job, the company, the product and being able to work in an industry that I’m so passionate about. Even though I’m the only one in Korea for now, my colleagues at the Belgian office provide me with great support. I feel connected by sharing my insights into the Korean market and telling everyone what I’ve been up to. The working environment and company culture are honestly the best in the world. We opened up a new 3D vision market with our technology and easy-to-use 3D vision product and we’ve grown incredibly in the year and a half that I’ve been on board.