Korea’s Sopoong VC closes $8 million fund to startups focused on environmental impact • TechCrunch

Two years ago, Korea disclosure plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. Getting there will be a different story.

Onein spite of Korean manufacturers say they are trying to change their ways, the country’s GDP is Link to Some industries are particularly polluting, including petrochemical manufacturers, auto manufacturing, and shipbuilding. However some businesses may never be truly sustainable, a joint venture in Seoul argues that emerging climate tech startups will help major manufacturers do better overall.

sopoong, a VC focused on social impact, intends to support eco-minded tech founders in Korea and Southeast Asia, and build bridges between Korean corporations and startups in this field. Sopoong closed about $8 million (10.3 billion won) to its latest fund Friday, bringing the company’s total assets under management to about $22 million (28 billion won).

I talked to CEO Sopoong Max Sang-Yeop Hana serial entrepreneur who joined Sopoong in 2016 and acquired the company in 2019, to learn about VC plans.

“It is an important signal for major Korean corporations to join as limited partners of climate and environmental technology-focused venture capital funds like us,” said Han. speak. “Participating LPs [Korean conglomerates] are passionate about climate technology and want to get involved in tackling climate and environmental issues because they agree that the climate crisis is one of the more pressing.”

Korean Oil Refining Company GS . Corporation and chemical company isu has joined Sopoong’s climate-focused fund as a limited partner since April, Han said, adding that they would be more like a strategic partner to Sopoong. Non-profit organizations such as Asan Nanum Foundationwas founded by the Hyundai Group, and D.Campas well as startup founders and executives, including the co-founder and former CEO of Krafton, Gang Seok Kimalso joined Sopoong’s climate fund, Han continued.

Early-stage VC has established five social impact funds and supported 81 startups since 2020, after Han acquired the company in December 2019. Sopoong was launched in 2008 by Han. Jaewoong Leeco-founder of Korea’s largest internet portal operator Daum Communication, which merged with Kakao in 2014.

The VC firm now wants to focus on the climate crisis and other environmental issues through its sixth fund, but other tech areas like SaaS and IT will still be on its radar, according to Han. . “Two-thirds of the fund will be invested in environmental and climate technology, including renewable energy, agricultural technology and food technology, with the remainder being invested in the information technology industry.” Han said.

Its appeal is early-stage venture projects from seed to series-A across Korea and Southeast Asia. Its average check size is $150,000, but the company can go up to $600,000, Han told TechCrunch.

The sixth fund has invested in 16 startups, including MetaTexturea plant-based food startup; SelexVietnam-based electric scooter and battery swap technology startup; Myorange, a platform for managing charitable donations; and Function 12an automation tool that helps users complete coding and design files.

Nine out of 16 investment firms are participating in Sopoong’s first accelerator program, which kicked off in June and lasts for six months. Sopoong invests up to $350,000 in each startup through its accelerator program and provides mentoring, co-working spaces, administrative support, and networking opportunities with experts.

In addition to the accelerator, the company has also launched a six-month fellowship program to promote climate technology entrepreneurship. So far, Sopoong said it has selected 13 individuals with master’s or doctoral degrees in environmental-related majors, providing them with a $1,700 per month stipend and other support, including the whole accelerator program. If the participants succeed in setting up a startup, Sopoong can make a seed investment, Han said.

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