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Coronavirus app kids get digs from Hyundai Card

Mar 06,2020
Park Ji-hwan, left, and Kim Jun-tae pose for a photo on Feb. 17. [HYUNDAI CARD]
Four college students working together in a borrowed office came up with a great idea. They created an online map showing the routes of people infected with the coronavirus.

It’s called Corona-Nearby (corona-nearby.com), and it’s a huge hit, with 3.9 million views in the first two days.

Choi Ju-won, Park Ji-hwan, Lee In-woo and Kim Jun-tae became instant successes and quickly found themselves a bit cramped in their borrowed digs.

“Most of the work could be done online, but the live update of cases that change so fast in real time was a very sensitive work process, and in order to do that we needed a face-to-face discussion,” said Choi.

“In order for the four of us to work on future projects other than just coronavirus-related services, we were in need of our own space.”

Hyundai Card has offered them free space and consulting services at its Seocho-based Studio Black. Boulder, Colorado-based Techstars, an accelerator, is also providing support.

“We felt they didn’t have enough space,” said Cho Yun-jung from Hyundai Card’s talent management team.

The quintet moved into the space, which is worth a minimum of 400,000 won ($340) a month, on March 2.

The college students are already working on their next project. They are testing a version of Mask-Nearby (mask-nearby.com), which guides the users to the nearest available masks.

The Corona-Nearby service suspended its operations on Wednesday as case totals grew too fast.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]