Archive for April, 2008

VC Practice: West to East

April 23, 2008

 

Here is my recent update. I was working with a leading online game publisher, called CJ Internet, affiliated with the CJ Group, a large food & entertainment conglomerate to serve my military obligation last two years. (Every male Korean citizen has to serve army for certain capacity.) Prior to that, I was holding an executive director role with an int’l VC firm called BINEXT Capital and heading off its Silicon Valley Office. I directly invested into 6 companies in the Silicon Valley and there were 3 exit events as of last December. Anyhow, I left CJ Internet last January and started working back in the venture capital business. Only difference was that I’ve started my own firm instead of going back to my past employer. I still manage good relationship with BINEXT and other investors.

So, now, I’m on my own and I started a new firm called Megalos Asteria & Co. (It means precious big stone in Greek.) My pitch is quite simple. I will work with early stage companies in digital interactive media and alternative energy (as my primary focus) and accelerate their growth so that they can fully realize their values in the next round of funding and eventually go public. As an independent venture capitalist, I will try to find a deal at a fairly reasonable value and manage risk throughout life cycle of the capital partnership on behalf of investors. Territory-wise, I’m trying to cover cross-border deals such as technologies or business models applicable overseas. I’m currently recruiting opportunities in Seoul. Life in Seoul is quite different from the Silicon Valley. Though, it isn’t too bad at all. It’s a busy metropolitan city like NYC. Though, Korea has serious innovators and active consumer groups who are open to new idea and who are willing to pay for extra dollar for it. Seoul is an early adopters’ heaven.

 

[Samsung-dong Area in Seoul]

I’m starting my VC practice quite small but eventually I’m hoping to create an umbrella company managing a number of PE/VC partnerships and alternative investment vehicles in the next few years. Having said that, I’m currently looking for partners, liaisons, and advisors to share more ideas and to establish strong ties in the industry. It would be great to find a common ground with someone who can help each other and, maybe, share some resources like our brain power, domain expertise, and local knowledge.

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Noble Ambition Starts

April 17, 2008

 

This is my first journal here. I’ve decided to post how I came up with this blog’s name and what I want to do with it, rather than writing a traditional “Hello World” type article.

I’ve worked in the Silicon Valley since 2001 after I finished the college in Indiana. I was working with the int’l venture capital firm called BINEXT until early 2006 in my capacity of managing principal of Silicon Valley office and executive director of headquarter. (Now, I’m running my own firm called “Megalos Asteria“) While I was staying in the Valley, I often visited Stanford University to attend tech conferences, networking events, Toastmasters Club (Lee Emerson Bassett Chapter chartered in 1935), or just made a casual visit to the campus with friends and families who were visiting me. 

One of my favorite spots at Stanford was the Memorial Church right behind of the Main Quad. This building is just fabulous. All the hand-made mosaics on the facade of the building are spectacular. When you walk inside the sanctuary, it feels like “this is the place where I need to kneel down and say few prayers.” (More historical background of the MenChu can be found at here.)

[Front of the Memorial Church]
In the back of the main sanctuary, there is a remark carved on the sandstone wall saying like the following. 

“A noble ambition is among the most helpful influences of student life, and the higher this ambition is, the better. No man can work well unless he can speak as the Great Master did of the joy set before Him.

And this leads to the greatest of all safeguards, and the most encouraging of all stimulating influences to a noble life, – that is, the power of personal religion. We need something outside of and beyond ourselves. ‘Remember, you are not your own, – you are bought with the precious blood of Jesus.’ [Cf. I PETER 1:18-19]”  

 

[Inside of the Memorial Church]

Ever since I read it, I loved it. I started deeply thinking about “what my true calling was” and “what noble ambition I should have.” It happened around time when I first started working in the venture capital industry. I was a newbie and had no idea what I was getting into back then, but luckily, I liked working with entrepreneurs with high energy and ambitions to change the world with their so-called break-through technologies. My passion is aligned with tech entrepreneurs to start a new thing from scratch and I like people coming up with a new idea without fear. It has been great blessing for me to work with talented tech entrepreneurs who have been making great progress with very limited time and resources.

My “noble ambition” is to play a major role building 10 Microsoft-or-Google-alike companies during my life span. My goal won’t be achieved without people who are willing to go extra miles and I eagerly want to find and interact with people from all around the world with different perspectives and ideas on how to make a great venture. That is what I envision with this VC blog: providing connecting points of many talented entrepreneurs and sharing valuable thoughts on technology & innovation and success stories.

I will try to write my current and past experiences on handling ventures and major issues in the venture industry from time to time. This could be another venture capitalist blog, but my experience handling many cross-border venture deals could be something unique and fun to read.  My journey has begun to find next generation Mr. Gates and Brin & Page duo.