South Korea is becoming one of the most vibrant nations in the world and a growing tourist destination. South Korea has come a long way since the Korean War where their national income per citizen was the same as the country Ghana. In 60 years they have become one of the top economic powers in the world. South Korea now makes smartphones, TVs, laptops, and tablets. They even have an up and coming startup ecosystem. The success of South Korea in turn has created many Korean angels and VCs who are looking to invest their money in Korean companies.
Raising venture capital in Korea is not easy. To be a great fundraiser in Korea takes a lot of skills that can’t be learned overnight. SeoulSpace has seen a lot of great fundraisers get seed funding for their startups and here are some of the keys that were similar in most of them.
It will take some time to develop relationships with Korean VCs.
When looking to develop a relationship with potential VCs it is important to think of the process for the long term. Spend time doing research and ask around your network to find the right VC. It is important to develop a personal relationship with VCs and find ones that want to work with you, not just invest. So take time getting to know them and their interest. Be their friend first before you pitch them any ideas. They get hit up for investments every week so to stand out, try to build a relationship with them that doesn’t center on funding.
Go to as many meetings, events, and meetups as possible.
It is important to take every meeting because you never know who that person knows. It is all about building a vast network which will allow many pathways to VCs. The meetings don’t have to be formal, Korea has many coffee shops and a quick 15 minute sit down could go a long way. Events are also a great way to meet other entrepreneurs who have gotten funding. Getting close with them could lead you to their VC connections. Same goes for meetups, VCs will probably not be there but companies they have invested in will be.
Sell the potential for Global expansion.
Korean VCs want to find the next big startup. A startup that will not only be big in Korea but the world. These startups are rare. Korean companies/startups tend to think small. It is important to show the VCs a bigger picture, a picture of the global market potential. When pitching to VCs in Korea, make sure you articulate your plans for expansion. Remember to have big goals with big potential, these are the types of investments Korean VCs want to make.
Look for partners not just funding.
A great fundraiser is not all about funding. True funding is the main goal but it is crucial to find partners as well along the way. A VC needs to really like your company and if they really like your company they should want to be a partner as well. Korean VCs want to be a part of something. If they are not willing to invest right away, a partnership is another option to go to. This could be your window to impress them and show your companies true potential.