"We were confident that QuotaBook was the answer to our problem with equity management."
Sandbox Network is Korea’s leading multi-channel network (MCN) company co-founded in 2014 by CEO Lee Pil-sung, an ex-googler, and “Ddotty” Na Hee-sun, the Chief Evangelist, who is also famous for being the first-generation YouTuber and so-called “Elementary president”. Sandbox represents more than 450 teams of creators and entertainers, including high-profile creators such as Ddotty, Psick University, and Pungwolryang.
Based on the mission “We create better together”, Sandbox not only focuses on helping creators gain popularity through their contents and channels, but also runs a variety of businesses utilizing its intellectual property rights.
So far, Sandbox raised about 76 million USD including the most recent 40 million USD raised in a Series D last November. Curious to learn more about how Sandbox manages all its securities as it continues to raise money and grow rapidly? QuotaBook’s Customer Success team met with Cheong Jae-hun, CorpDev Lead of Sandbox Network to hear about the challenges that follow large-scale investment and rapid growth, and how the company is handling them.
Quotabook: Quotabook Customer Success Team
Jae-hun: Cheong Jae-hun, CorpDev Lead of Sandbox Network
QuotaBook: Hello Jae-hun, thank you so much for being the first customer interviewee for QuotaBook! Please introduce yourself and tell us briefly about what you do at Sandbox.
Jae-hun: Hello, I’m Cheong Jae-hun and I’m the CorpDev Lead of Sandbox Network.
I am mainly responsible for attracting investment in Sandbox, communicating with shareholders, and also investing in partner companies that can bring synergy to our overall business.
QuotaBook: How did you join Sandbox?
Jae-hun: I worked as a media/content analyst at a brokerage firm until I joined Sandbox about three years ago, and the rise in new media, including YouTube, was already very clear back then. No one sits around a TV anymore, watching a show someone else has already turned on, but each person gets to choose their own content. I was thinking that the content industry was structurally bound to shift to new media when I was offered a job at Sandbox, and decided to join because I was confident that the company would grow and that I could enjoy the work.
QuotaBook: When do you find it especially rewarding to work at Sandbox?
Jae-hun: It’s really rewarding to feel that the company is growing. What’s surprising is that YouTube’s growth has accelerated more than I expected, and Sandbox has also almost tripled from 2018. When I joined, I had to explain about the company to people, but now everyone already knows us. I am happy to help in the process of such an interesting company’s growth, and I think it was an excellent choice to join Sandbox.
Actually, I’ve always been a big fan of idols. From visual styling to performance and communication with fans, I think the idol industry is such a comprehensive art. Now that the times have changed and creators are playing that role, it’s exciting to see them up close.
QuotaBook: Wow! I think everyone can have a lot of fun here. As you mentioned, Sandbox is known as a really interesting company with diverse creators. How would you describe Sandbox yourself?
Jae-hun: I think Sandbox is drawing a map that has never existed in the world. In the era of new media, what matters is who first discovered the new treasure island.
We are making this voyage by emphasizing the internal motto “Creator first”. We support our creative and attractive creators in every way to fully demonstrate their capabilities and talents, while at the same time doing our best as their business partner to maximize the possibility of new IPs. One of the core values of Sandbox is that creators should be respected and valued for their talents and personalities, not for their business purposes. Based on this belief, Sandbox is growing further with more creators to represent.
QuotaBook: I think Sandbox is definitely a strong supporter of the creators.
QuotaBook: Now I’d like to ask you further about the status of shareholders/equity management of Sandbox. I understand that you attracted large investments at the end of last year- what were the difficulties at that time?
Jae-hun: First of all, there were too many shareholders to handle. At first, our CEO alone could manage shareholders through direct calls or meetings. Sometimes, there would be documents gone missing but we could handle them one-by-one and check up with them later.
However, as the investment round progressed, there were more shareholders with stricter standards along with more requirements. This is when we decided to focus more on IR as we just couldn’t call and chase after every document like we used to- it was too much of a hassle.
QuotaBook: As you just said, many startups face difficulty when it comes to shareholders/equity management, which is exactly why QuotaBook exists. Guess that’s why you chose QuotaBook as well!
Jae-hun: That’s right. Especially after CorpDev team was put in charge of investor relations, I was starting to think that there was a limit to taking care of each shareholder one-by-one. This was when I came across QuotaBook and for the next few months, we carefully reviewed QuotaBook internally and discussed a lot with QuotaBook directly as well. Finally at the beginning of this year, we decided to adopt QuotaBook because we were confident that it could hit the spot and make our problems go away.
QuotaBook: Wasn’t the process of adopting QuotaBook cumbersome or difficult?
Jae-hun: I originally thought that the whole onboarding* process would be quite a hurdle. However, QuotaBook dedicated onboarding team set up everything ready for use, so it was actually very convenient for us.
Another good point was that the instructions for later use were not simply guided through the manual. The person in charge helped me learn how to use it easily by allowing me to access QuotaBook myself and clicking on this and that. I felt like the team was paying very much attention to that in detail. Because the team handled all of the early complex tasks, it became so much easier for me to use QuotaBook thereafter with no burden or difficulties.
*Onboarding: the process of transferring all equity data from spreadsheets and document files, including old stock transactions, new stock issues, stock options, etc. to QuotaBook
QuotaBook: The onboarding team will be very happy to hear this. Are there any other additional advantages of using QuotaBook?
Jae-hun: Basically, it’s a big advantage to be able to generate various documents on equities and their transaction histories. For example, it’s very useful to be able to go back and check cap tables at any time when a stock-related event (ie. paid-in capital increase and secondary sales) took place, and to generate documents based on that.
QuotaBook: Last but not least, do you have any other features that you expect to see from QuotaBook?
Jae-hun: I hope that more investors will use as well QuotaBook so that everyone can communicate actively through QuotaBook. We can check if our shareholders are using QuotaBook through the little green check box next to their names. Hopefully every one of our investors will turn green soon so that when we have any updates, our shareholders will be able to check directly on QuotaBook whatever they want, when they want.
Soon, there will be a day when a single sentence, “it’s on QuotaBook”, can easily replace a bunch of manual tasks.
Sandbox is no longer just the leading MCN company in Korea, but has stepped further into the global market, attempting to become the global ‘IP Publisher’. It also runs content businesses that cross the field of e-sports games, cable TV channels, and film production. Watch out for Sandbox’s quest to become the leading entertainment company in the digital content industry!
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