Two years ago, South Korea announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2050.
aSouth Korean manufacturers say they are trying to change their ways, but the country’s GDP is tied to uniquely polluting industries such as petrochemicals, automakers and shipyards. Some businesses may not be truly sustainable, but of venture companies Soule argues that emerging climate-related tech start-ups will help improve the overall performance of big manufacturers.
Sopoong, a social impact-focused VC, intends to support green tech founders in South Korea and Southeast Asia while building a bridge between South Korean conglomerates and startups in the space. increase. Sopoong recently raised about $8 million (10.3 billion won) in his sixth fund, bringing the company’s total assets under management to about $22 million (28 billion won).
I spoke with Max Sang-Yop Han, CEO of Sopoong, a serial entrepreneur who joined Sopoong in 2016 and acquired the company in 2019, to learn about their VC plans.
“It is an important signal that a large South Korean company joins as a limited partner in a venture capital firm focused on environmental and climate technology like ours,” Han said. “Participating LPs [Korean conglomerates] We are passionate about climate technology and agree that the climate crisis is one of our most pressing issues, so we want to join you in addressing climate and environmental issues. “
South Korean oil refiner GS Holdings and chemical company Isu have joined Sopoong’s climate-focused fund as limited partners, Han added, adding that they will become more like Sopoong’s strategic partners. Non-profits such as the Asan Nanum Foundation and D.Camp, both founded by Hyundai Group, as well as startup founders and executives, including Krafton co-founder and former CEO Gang-Seok Kim, also supported Sopoong’s Climate Fund. I participated in. Han continued.
Early-stage VCs have already established five social impact funds and backed 81 startups since 2020, after Han acquired the company in December 2019. Merged with Kakao in 2014.
Now the VC wants to focus on the climate crisis and other environmental issues through its sixth fund, but Han said other tech sectors such as SaaS and IT will continue to be the focus. “Two-thirds of his fund will be invested in environmental and climate technologies such as renewable energy, agritech and food tech, with the rest going to the information technology industry,” Han said. I’m here.
Its sweet spot is early stage ventures from seed to series A stage in South Korea and Southeast Asia. The average check size is $150,000, but it can go up to $600,000, Han told TechCrunch.
The sixth fund has already invested in 16 startups, including plant-based food startup MetaTexture. Selex, a Vietnam-based electric scooter and battery exchange technology startup. Myorange, a platform for managing charitable donations. Function 12 is an automation tool that helps users complete their coding and design files.
Nine of the 16 portfolio companies are participating in Sopoong’s first accelerator program. The program will start in June of his and will run for six months. Sopoong invests up to $350,000 in each startup through its accelerator program, providing mentorship, coworking space, administrative support, and networking opportunities with experts.
In addition to the accelerator, the company also launched a six-month fellowship program to foster entrepreneurship in climate technology. Sopoong says she has selected 13 of her students who have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in an environment-related major to date, and offers them $1,700 a month in grants and other support, including accelerator programs. Sopoong will be able to make seed investments if participating fellows succeed in founding startups, Han said.