Start-Up episode 11 presents a tense period for Samsan Tech after they seem to land a proposition that’s difficult to reject.
This recap of Netflix K-drama series Start-Up episode 11 contains significant spoilers.
We will be recapping this weekly — check out the archive.
Nam Do-san asks Alex if the offer is still on the table for the opportunity at 2STO in Silicon Valley; he also wants him to buy out Samsan Tech. Alex is not sure about acquiring the company and states he is impressed with In-jae’s developers. The first scene is important in episode 11 — it provides the answer of what Alex is trying to do later.
You killed my brother
As for Yong-san, he is still confronting Han Ji-pyeong about his brother who committed suicide. He is angry and upset at the investor. As Yong-san looks at him square in the eyes, Han Ji-pyeong has a look of fear — he’s unsure to why Yong-san believes he killed his brother. Afterwards, he researches Kim Dong-su. In a flashback, Han Ji-pyeong was very harsh to Kim Dong-su, questioning his credibilities as a CEO. In another flashback involving Yong-san, he is pumped for his brother who is joining Yong-san. In the present day, he misses him greatly and wonders why he had to kill himself. This whole story proves that bullying in a work environment can seriously harm a person’s mental health.
Are Do-san and Dal-mi affecting the company?
Chul-san and Jung Sa-ha talk to Do-san and Dal-mi about their relationship and how it could be affecting the company. Do-san wants Dal-mi to see him for who he is but Jung Sa-ha plants a seed that Do-san could be wishfully thinking. Chul-san raises an important question — what if Dal-mi picks Han Ji-pyeong? They also raise the question of Han Ji-pyeong potentially investing in the company — neither Do-san nor Yong-san want to accept his money. Dal-mi doesn’t want a Plan B and wants to win Demo Day instead.
And Demo day is the core story of episode 11 and proves to be a turning point in the story. It’s a must-win, and the company that convinces investors secures funding. In-jae presents first and introduces her Guardians AI solution that acts as a security system and detects suspicious activity. She claims a high accuracy rate which worries Dal-mi and others. Suddenly, Do-san’s father Nan Seong-hwan interrupts In-jae’s presentation and wants to ask a question; Do-san is embarrassed and runs to the auditorium. His father talks about how the 3.6 billion saved is income that many people rely on. Episode 12 discusses the ethics of innovation and how it can deeply impact the livelihoods of many workers.
Nam Seong-hwan asks the important question — why is In-jae doing this? In-jae talks about the importance of innovation to make the world a better place; In-jae then points out his son, who is following the same path. Nam Seong-hwan concedes that his son is on the same path, but the world cannot go too fast. In-jae then reveals that she is looking for a global partner, not an investor. Alex states his company 2STO may be interested, but he wants to see another presentation first.
It’s time for Samsan Tech
Before Samsan Tech’s presentation, they decide to tweak the accuracy rate and then fix it later. Dal-mi presents the NoonGil application and how it benefits the lives of the visually impaired. Alex asks about the accuracy rate of human recognition and Dal-mi pauses. In a flashback, Do-san tells Dal-mi to be honest about it. Back to the present and Dal-mi gives the real accuracy rate. Do-san explains to Alex that they had to consider battery usage as people will be using it all day.
The twin-track test
And then a tense period of the episode begins where In-jae and Dal-mi have to go head to head once again.
Alex asks In-jae’s company to come on stage. He wants both companies to test their apps in the same technical environment to prove if Do-san was making a relevant point regarding usage. As both teams run their AI, Samsan Tech’s solution works while In-jae’s doesn’t work to the state it should. It means they’ve won — they are all ecstatic. Han Ji-pyeong watches it on television and remembers all the times he told Samsan Tech that they wouldn’t make it. He speaks to Yoon Seon-hak about his guilt. He’s starting to understand how his words can hurt people.
Mother at home
Dal-mi goes home and shares the news with Ms Choi. She’s also happy that she’s outdone her sister. But then she finds out that her mother is living in her house with her grandmother and she’s upset about it. Ms Choi tells Dal-mi that her mother’s life hasn’t always been smooth.
The next day, Samsan Tech look over the contract from Alex; they offer 3 billion won, and they’ll be in Silicon Valley for at least 3 years at HQ. Dal-mi wants to go through the contract and feedback. When Alex leaves, the whole team celebrate with each other. Nam Do-san, Yong-san and Chul-san get a little deflated when they learn that their name Samsan Tech will be gone. The core problem should have been seen before the contract signing.
Old office memories
Nam Do-san offers to show Dal-mi his real office. He gives her a quick tour. Compared to the last chapter, the pair are way more relaxed. I guess that’s what 3 billion won does to you. When they try and enter another part of the office, they find Chul-san and Jung Sa-ha together — it looks like they’ve been fooling around. Do-san and Dal-mi interrogate them, but they both deny anything happened. Dal-mi and Do-san do not believe their story. That was a predictable romantic subplot.
Dal-mi tells the team they should try to build a self-drive system. The others discourage it, but then Do-san reminds them that they have the money now. Dal-mi gets out the whiteboard and starts brainstorming. She’s demonstrating here that she’s arrived as a CEO.
The next day, Han Ji-pyeong hears that Samsan Tech accepted an acquisition, not an investment which makes him worry. He rushes to find Dal-mi, who is in a meeting with Alex. He asks Jung Sa-ha for a copy of the agreement. Do-san and Dal-mi sit down for their meeting with Alex. Han Ji-pyeong is concerned that there are zero problems with the contract, and as Yong-san stops him from ringing Dal-mi, he asks why 2STO would pay three billion for an unprofitable start-up. Yong-san asks Han Ji-pyeong if he stopped his brother on speculation as well.
Han Ji-pyeong tells Yong-san, Jung Sa-ha and Chul-san that Alex is “acqhiring” — acquiring a start-up to recruit talent. Han Ji-pyeong states that as soon as they sign, Alex will disband the team. Meanwhile, Do-san and Dal-mi are signing the contracts. Episode 12 ends with a deal that could destroy Samsan Tech’s aspirations for good.
In the epilogue, Dal-mi wakes up in the original Samsan Tech office and watches Do-san sleep. In a flashback, Dal-mi tells Jung Sa-ha she isn’t sure who has her heart yet. In the present, she continues to smile and watch a sleeping Do-san and blows a kiss on his face but doesn’t realise she has marker pen on her hands. Do-san wakes up and admires Dal-mi who is pretending to be asleep.
Start-Up episode 11 presents a tense period for Samsan Tech after they seem to land a proposition that’s difficult to reject. The consequences of their new agreement will cause ramifications in future chapters, especially with Han Ji-pyeong’s hunch that Alex is agreeing to the acquisition so that he can hire their engineers.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.