In the midst of Korea’s dynamic pace, The Capsule emerged as a beacon for both weary workers and solo travelers. This startup, founded on the dual pillars of affordable accommodations for explorers and restful retreats for the overworked, is revolutionizing the way urban Korea recharges.

From an Idea to Innovation

CEO Seungho Jeong of The Capsule

The Capsule’s founder, Seungho Jeong, observed two stark realities in Korea. Firstly, he saw the untapped potential of solo travel becoming a popular choice. Solo travelers often prioritized unique experiences over lavish accommodations. Recognizing this shift, Seongjo Jeong and his co-founders, JW Han and Jaden Heo, started their business by offering affordable accommodations, opening the first capsule hotel in Myeongdong in 2019. Their calculated risk bore fruit, achieving an impressive 87% occupancy rate in the initial year. Despite a dip during the pandemic years, they rebounded quickly, opening a second location in 2022, further solidifying their presence in the market.

Furthermore, the founders recognized a growing problem in Korea – the hardworking ethos, which leaves a considerable chunk of the population feeling sleep-deprived. As work environments increasingly demanded longer hours, finding a private space to relax became not just a luxury but a necessity. According to Saram-in’s research in 20202, 74% of office workers expressed a dire need for more sleep. That’s where the founders found their opportunity to venture their innovative sleeping capsules, offering comfort and privacy to travelers and those desperate for a breather.

The Capsule’s Distinctive Edge

While the sleeping capsule market in Asia is burgeoning, The Capsule carved a niche for itself. Catering to two distinct sectors, they have positioned themselves as the go-to solution for work rest areas (B2B) and solo traveler accommodations (B2C). Their unique selling proposition? A remarkably swift assembly time and high-quality products for affordable prices.

Key Features of The Capsule’s Sleeping Modules

  1. Privacy First: Users can relax or sleep undisturbed, shielded from external disruptions.
  2. Swift Installation: Set up in under two hours.
  3. Customizable Designs: Choose from a palette of colors to match your aesthetic.
  4. Durable Build: Crafted from 100% high-grade steel sourced from POSCO, a renowned steel manufacturer.
  5. Space Efficiency: Designed with optimal space utilization in mind.
  6. Noise Insulation: Ensures a peaceful environment, reducing noise from 70db to a quieter 30db.

Pivoting with Purpose: From Manufacturing to One-Person Space Solutions

The Capsule for T1

Recognizing the growing demand for personalized spaces in Korea’s urban settings, The Capsule innovatively transitioned to cater to the individualistic needs of the modern resident. Beginning their journey with a prototype in 2018, The Capsule has consistently evolved. By 2020, an enhanced second model was launched, and a year later, they introduced a sturdy steel variant. Today, not only does The Capsule’s flagship Sleeping Capsule represent their continuous innovation, but their dominance in the domestic market is undeniable with a staggering 119 capsules installed in various B2B projects. Notable mentions are installations in POSCO’s shared office spaces or Korean Air’s staff rooms. Furthermore, the renowned E-sports team T1 has adopted The Capsule, underscoring its versatility and appeal to diverse sectors seeking optimal performance and relaxation.

Looking to the future, The Capsule has clear and bold plans. The startup plans to expand its relaxation spaces within offices and diversify its products by entering the domestic sleep aid market. The team is currently looking into incorporating IoT and sleep-tech features and aims to become a staple household product. Moreover, their footprint is set to grow beyond Korea, with global expansion plans targeting regions like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.