The Kdrama “Start-Up” Ending And Finale Explained

Published Categorized as Kdrama Recaps

Netflix’s “Start-Up” has aired its last episode on December 6 finally coming to an end after almost two months, but was it a happy ending or not?

“Start-Up” Episode 16 Recap

Do San and the gang find out that the twins are the ones who hacked into the system at the company, they report them to police.

Meanwhile, they’re being interviewed by a reporter who crushes start-ups through his articles, despite Ji Pyeong running to the rescue, it turns out that they had already figured it out. They put the cocky reporter in his place explaining what transpired after the hacking happened.

Do San then goes to meet Dal Mi’s mom and grandma, the grandma thanks him for making noongil and helping her out.

Later, grandma goes to visit Ji Pyeong, she brought some corn dogs. Ji Pyeong speaks as if he wants to settle their debt once and for all, the grandma begins to cry and tells him not to go away and to stay and call her even if he’s doing well in life. They cry together.

The team members are working on the bidding and decide to place multiple bets if they win. Do San says he’ll propose if they win.

On another day, Ji Pyeong meets with a young talented man who wants to connect orphans to people who can help them out. Yeo Jin Goo turns out to be that start-up CEO with the idea. Instead of investing through his company, Ji Pyeong decides to invest personally and donate as well as reflecting on grandma’s suggestion that he should help out people in dire need instead of her.

While Dal Mi and Do San submit for the bidding, they run into the twins who say that they will pay a fine for what had happened.

At work, Sa Ha introduces her elder sister to Chul San. Chul San is very happy that Sa Ha thinks so highly of him and cares about him.

The team later finds out that they’ve made it into the final 5 for the bidding offer. They celebrate.

At the celebration, Dal Mi suggests they accelerate their process and look for more investors. She consults her sister but she’s against the idea at first.

Dal Mi runs into Ji Pyeong one day and they end up exchanging what would become the resolution to Ji Pyeong’s unrequited love. Dal Mi wants to thank him again but he refuses to hear that, he says,

“Back then, I had no friends so your letters were my only comfort. Let’s say we’re even….

Even after reading your letters for 15 years, I didn’t look for you. On the other hand, Do San went to you the moment he read them. So I am not the Nam Do San from the letters. There is no reason you should feel sorry or blame yourself.”

In Jae’s father is giving a lecture at sandbox, not many attend after Yong San and Chul San loudly talk about how his son is receiving punishment for orchestrating the hacking on their company. In Jae attends and asks her father at the end of the session why he fired her, he says he thought she’d listen better to him if he had done this. She says she’s thankful for the opportunities and shows off the certificate that approves her name change back to Seo In Jae.

Later, the trio finds out that their place was rented to other young people. They go there to say goodbye one last time. They cry while apologizing to each other and reminiscing about the old days.

In Jae goes to her grandma’s house, she hugs her tightly and they cry in each other’s arms. She explains she hasn’t been there to their house because she was ashamed for being Won In Jae, not Seo In Jae [WHAT?]. It looks like the family is back together and is getting closer again.

The next day, In Jae meets with the mentor at sandbox and suggests they begin searching for investors. She says she wants to invest in the company and asks Ji Pyeong to pitch them the idea.

Ji Pyeong attempts to decline but eventually, he talks one on one to Do San and suggests the idea. Do San agrees this time because he knows the investment is not coming from a place of petty. Ji Pyeong will continue to nag and interfere as an outside investor.

What happens at the end of the Kdrama Start Up?

In 2020, it appears that the company has grown exponentially. Through photos spread on Dal Mi and Do San’s desk, we find out that they’ve gotten married and won the bidding for the self-driving car. The family of Dal Mi has all gotten together well, and it was revealed that Sa Ha revealed she is dating Chul San.

The last scene shows the four main characters on their way to a shareholders’ meeting.

So what did you guys think of “Start-Up” ending? did you like it?

Do Do San and Dal Mi end up together?

Yes, they do end up together and eventually, they also get married. They are managing their successful business hand in hand.

Who did Ji Pyeong end up with?

Ji Pyeong sadly doesn’t end up with anybody, he gets rejected by Dal Mi. But he manages to move over it and remain in a business relationship with the couple.

“Start-Up” Episode 16 Review

I liked the ending. I think it was wrapped up rather well, a lot better than I had expected. I was scared the screenwriter would make Ji Pyeong go away for a couple of years to the U.S. It might be why I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

The ending was probably the best in the eyes of the people who were fully immersed in the drama’s atmosphere, but not so much for those who had higher expectations walking into the second half. I am part of the latter.

The biggest disappointment will remain In Jae’s character in my opinion, I wrote an article on this, you can read it here. Simply put, she was reduced to this ‘cameo’ type of character. As an actress Kang Han Na was truly a missed opportunity in this drama, she could’ve easily shined as brightly as Kim Seon Ho but it didn’t happen.   

Also, the explanation by In Jae as to why she’s never been to their house because of her name doesn’t make an ounce of sense to me. The fact that no one told her the grandma was going blind is infuriating, to say the least.

Added to that, Ji Pyeong explanation to why he’s not that Do San also doesn’t make sense. It’s clear as the sky for me that the screenwriter wrote this for us, the people who were rooting for Ji Pyeong, too bad it doesn’t make sense. He’s still that person who wrote those letters and the person who eased her loneliness 15 years ago. Just because one person acted on reading letters doesn’t erase the fact that he was never that Do San.

It’s very easy to nitpick at “Start-Up” and it could be because I worked with multiple startups in the past so I know the terms and logic regarding the business part of this drama. But even if you don’t know anything about startups, its pretty easy pinpointing the flaws of this drama.

I am a bit sad the drama couldn’t have been better. I said before in my review of “Start-Up” first half that screenwriter Park Hye Ryun tends to rely on stereotypes a lot, especially towards the second half of her dramas. Sadly, she proved to me once again that I am right. Despite her age and experience in this field, she’s mostly still writing the same style and level of maturity she did five years ago.

I will publish a detailed article in a couple of hours to explain why the second half of “Start-Up” was disappointing in my opinion. But aside from my thoughts, I just want to thank everyone, the actors and the staff for doing an amazing job during such challenging times.

I could feel that everyone in this drama was genuinely trying their best, they looked so happy to have been a part of this drama and everyone was such a treat. The actors in this drama are the reason why I am writing this article. I am so thankful for them, even if I am not pleased with the writing overall, the drama provided me with comfort and I had fun watching the majority of it.

Thank you to “Start-Up” actors and staff.

Whats your reaction to this article?

By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas on this site in form of reviews an/or recaps, join me in the discussion~


  1. This drama was a perfect example of a writer who doesnt even know her own characters. Its also an example of abusing the audience by making characters do nonsensical things and thinking she can get by with it.
    Dosan was never written to be a man worthy of Dalmi’s love for cause. Neither was Dalmi written to be…how shall I say it???? A real woman? Arent real women curious? How do you spend 5 episodes showing how important the letters are, eventually find out who was writing them and never feel urge number 1 to ask any questions?
    No Dalmi was written as a woman who dosan could fart in her face and her heart would flutter. She never once was alert or objective enough to even question dosans quality for a second. She didnt scold him for attacking JP, she didnt apologize to JP on his behalf. Didnt care how many lies he told or that he was so interpersonally ignorant that he left her alone….drunk….in a park…in the middle of the night.. so he could go put on a suit. And this fool the writer wants us to believe has ANY clue about what Sailing off without a map means????
    The writer makes stupid scenes where dosan tells his dad “Its very tiring being someones pride and dream..” and then also spew drivel telling Dalmi “i want to be your trophy, your pride and your dream.”
    So what is it? Geek fool knowing zero about human emotions, people and metaphores, or philosopher empath? It really doesnt matter becuase the writer forced their relationship down viewers throats with no reason rational or why.
    Again Dalmi wasnt written as a real woman. Dispite being asked multiple times why she liked him she only gave 2 responses for cause and they both pertained to JP. She only told dosan about big hands. While he grew to know that wasnt enough and asked again she didnt even try that excuse the second time. She just said she didnt know, she just does. How great! Marry her and the next time she just happens to feel a certain way for no reason, because she just does she will be on to the next guy….
    I have read reports where there was supposed to be more wedding scenes but the chemistry was so poor and without any cause they skipped the whole thing leaving only pictures and filled the time with an anticlimatic conflict with Morning group.

  2. This drama was written poorly by the writer who can’t seem to organizer her/his thoughts. Also, maybe it’s a clever way to make people hate the main lead? They just made a record of having the most annoying leading couple ever. I would agree with the previous comment. Dalmi is not human at all. She declined past suitors then suddenly married someone who pretended to be her penpal?! And she didn’t even have the courtesy of talking to Ji Peyong about it knowing that he is their mentor, he does her many wonderful things. I mean, any human being will feel awkward in front of someone whom she shared feelings with a long time ago. Also, I thought the plant, the fate that yongsil was talking about had a relevance in the story.. I thot there will be deeper meaning that will be revealed in the end, but no. It was so awfully made. Honestly, after Halmeoni and Ji Pyeong’s scene, I skipped it to Dalmi and Ji Pyeong’s scene and stopped watching. I mean, why will I waste my time to some repetitive plot? I’m just curious if they are really happy with how the drama went out but of course, all the actors and staff worked with hard.. I just felt that there’s only one person who put all his heart to the show and he’s shining brightly now as an actor. I don’t need to mention his name even if the drama cheapened his character in the end.

    1. I read the Manhua or manga which ever it is and while I enjoyed it overall I loathed Nam Do Sans character pretty early on. I didn’t feel like his feelings were sincere or authentic through out the story. And the ending made no sense what so ever.

      For more than half of the story FMC has this attachment to the letters. She is head over heals for the person who wrote them. And then for no real reason whatsoever she likes the guy who didn’t write the letters because big hands?

      Overall 7/10 Ending 3/10

  3. Y’all are mad at the main lead, but I was here for the grandma and “her son” (Han) that made the series amazing to me. Yes the writer sucks at romance, but at least they killed it in the family love department. Also I understood the name thing for Won to Seo.

  4. The heart of the story for me is the grandma and Ji pyeong. Their relationship is the only thing that made sense. Do San’s acting is bland. He looked pathetic most of the time. His character has no depth. I wish I didn’t waste my time on this series.

  5. But then you really cant just say the heart of the story is grandma and JP can you? I mean the stupid writer makes grandma go full mental at some point.
    All the way to the mudflat beach scene where Dalmi is poring out her fears about Dosan and literally asking her grandma if he could be 2 different people…..grandma could have said ANYTHING helpful that would have aligned with Dalmi’s true heart. The writer has the IQ at one point to have grandma ask Dalmi which dosan she likes better the letters or the one in front of her and she chose the letters.
    The the writer makes grandma go full mental throwing JP under the bus from then on. She actually has her complimenting dosan on how courteously he throws up all over JP’s back because he did it so quietly. When JP basically says what the hell grandma she tells him to shut up and go clean it off.
    Yes grandma and JP has a long tight relationship but the writer made her into a fairweather friend only. Outside a few scenes designed to calm viewers who were ready to strangle her she wrote some emotional scenes with JP more like the ones she had before she went bipolar and sold him out in the middle to near the end.

  6. I agree with most of what you said and was quite amazed by how the writer somehow managed to salvage this mess of a plot in the last episode. However, StartUp serves purpose as a light-hearted watch that doesn’t require much audience attention. It was quite hard for me to be inspired by the protagonist and her story, as on closer inspection it appears that majority of her achievements were due to an extremely supportive boyfriend (who even gave up a job in the Silicon Valley to help her realize her dream) and an investor who adored her enough to give her all the advice she wanted and protect her in the business world (oh, and he was also willing to invest in her unprofitable business idea so that she would be happy).
    Every other character seemed to achieve a considerable part of their success by themselves. This also includes Dosan (who seems to be much hated) who got an offer for his dream job on his own merit.
    Maybe that’s why the audience appears to dislike the plot so much. The very person we felt the need to root for at the start of the story, got the closest thing to a free pass in real life.

  7. Actually I couldn’t even finish watching this drama because the writer only was much interested in what seemed good for him not to the viewers,the romance in the drama is really annoying,watching a movie with a doubtful mind whether to finish it or not is the most disgusting part in the mind of someone who would wish to enjoy. I’m not even surprised as to why it was underrated. I tried up to episodes 10 not until I gave up.

    1. I also stopped watching this drama half way through, only until episode 9. I was hoping that dal mi and ji pyeong would end up together. This is very annoying, why focus on letters when in the end it will mean nothing.

  8. there was really no chemistry between Do San and Dal mi. not happy with the ending. i just wasted my time hoping Ji Pueong and Dal mi would end up togehter, because come to think of it, even if they don’t have that romantic relationship, they have the chemistry between them.

  9. e queria um final feliz para han,o rapaz bonzinho,queria muito que ele fosse feliz com a suzy.Tomara que tenha continuação paa que eles posssam ficar juntos.

  10. It was so good ep 1 – 5 but I didn’t like where the story was going and could not help myself to know who ended with whom. So I skipped everything just to see who Dal-Mi will like… And I was disappointed for the ending. I stopped at ep 5 and did not bother to watch the rest of the episodes. Sad.. was good, but dissatisfying… :(( Was so excited at the beginning thinking that Dal Mi will end up with Han Ji-Pyeong. I like all the kdramas that I watched but Thank you.. Now I have something to hate :p

  11. I binge watched this over the weekend….and I really shouldn’t have wasted my time. The plot started off so promising. I was excited because I haven’t found any kdramas that I like in such a long time. The focus was on the letters throughout much of it, they were so important that I thought naturally in the end they would carry some weight in who she chose. Obviously I was wrong. 16 episodes and Dalmi was never able to say why/what she liked about Dosan. All we got was his hands are big and basically a “just because”. I really thought Dalmi would come to appreciate JP and see how he’s been there for her both in the past and in the present, but she literally never addressed it. I feel like Dalmi and Dosan’s relationship was forced on us without rhyme or reason. Plus I never really understood what Dalmi’s talent was. She came up with an idea, then what? Everyone else did everything to make it happen…..what did she actually do on her own merit? Maybe I just missed it. Anyhow, upset she didn’t end up with JP, but more than that, upset he ended up alone. They could’ve introduced a new character for him or something. He deserves the family he never had. It’s whatever.

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