By Chris Kenji Beer
Northwest Asian Weekly
Since Simon Yu moved up the I-5 corridor from the Rose City to attend the University of Washington (UW), his life has been a fast moving whirlwind. Not long after arriving in the Emerald City in 2011, Yu’s parents’ business fell on hard times.
Forced to pay for college on his own, Yu took a job working as a bank teller at near minimum wage. “It was still not enough to pay for my college tuition and make ends meet,” explains Yu.
“I always wanted to start my own business, so I tried my hand at selling meals and delivering them to university students. I started out borrowing $100 from my dad, which I spent in two weeks,” says Yu. Yu used his mother’s Korean barbeque recipe, similar to what you see in Korean communities. He had no orders for the first two months…no sales. “It was one of the most difficult times of my life. I ate little or no food, maybe an occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
“My first two orders came from Facebook. One of these first customers said they were the best tasting taco he’d ever had.” With that feedback, Yu was on his way. He asked this customer to share his comment with his Facebook friends, and in return, Yu promised to give them free tacos on their next order. This seemingly simple gesture propelled Yu. “I turned my dad’s $100 into $10,000,” says Yu. “It helped pay for my education at the UW.”
“In 2014, I opened up a food truck, Bomba Fusion, selling Korean tacos with my mom and dad,” explains Yu, who continues to run the food truck today. “We cater to local tech companies now, generating over a million in revenue since opening, and over a half million in the first half of 2017.”
Able to return to college, Yu studied finance, his long-term career interest. “I became fascinated with cryptocurrencies, and wrote a 10-page research paper on Bitcoin.” StormX, Inc., Yu’s current venture, grew out of this research and Yu’s developing passion for cryptocurrencies. He viewed this technology as a next-generation, disruptive innovation force that would impact the financial markets. “I saw that with blockchain, you can cut out credit card fees completely and bypass credit card processing by using Bitcoin transactions.”
Yu built the first “BitMaker” Android app with help from his team developer Calvin Hsieh. StormX has seen a 56 percent week over week revenue growth in the first half of 2017.
The company has leveraged partnerships with leading companies engaged in online transactions, such as Hulu, Machine Zone, and Dollar Shave Club. “We have become a user acquisition platform for other businesses,” adds Yu. For example, “Hulu has signed up over 1,000 new customers using the StormX Bitcoin platform. “Today’s financing industry leaders charge up to 40 percent on their transactions, whereas we charge a fixed 1 percent, thanks to the advantages of blockchain technology.”
Yu’s StormX uses the virtual currency Ethereum, which in addition to supporting it’s own currency ether, also supports smart contracts. Smart contracts are agreements written in computer code that execute automatically when conditions are met. After generating over $150 million in its initial rollout earlier this year, Ethereum was hacked. Though currently stabilized, the developers have been working on an upgrade they call Metropolis.
On Nov. 7, StormX relaunched its new and improved Ethereum upgrade, Metropolis. The STORM Token Crowdsale will help raise virtual currency for Yu’s company.
Yu thinks STORM Token will propel StormX into a leader in the adoption of microtransactions. “We estimate that we will have generated over a million in revenue by Q1 of 2018,” asserts Yu. They have ambitious plans to be a fast growing, profitable startup company. With humble beginnings, StormX is well poised to take on a global audience, as they launch into their next phase of their corporate journey.
Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.