Korean VC Sopoong Closes $8M Fund for Startups Focused on Environmental Impact TechCrunch

Two years ago, South Korea a statement A plan to get carbon neutral by 2050. Getting there will be another story.

aif Korean manufacturers say they are trying To change their ways, the country’s GDP is associated with Some industries are uniquely polluting, including petrochemical producers, automakers, and shipbuilders. anyway some companies It may not really be sustainable, a.k.a Adventure company in Seoul argues that emerging climate technology startups will help major manufacturers do a better job overall.

supongA social venture capital firm focused on social impact, it intends to support green tech founders in South Korea and Southeast Asia, while building a bridge between Korean conglomerates and startups in the sector. Sopoong closed in on about $8 million (10.3 billion won) for its latest sixth fund, bringing the company’s total assets under management to about $22 million (28 billion won).

I spoke with the CEO of Sopoong Max Sang Yeob Hana serial entrepreneur who joined Sopoong in 2016 and acquired the company in 2019, learned about the VC’s plans.

Image credits: Sopoong Ventures / CEO Max Han

“It’s an important signal for large South Korean companies participating as limited partners for environmental and climate-focused venture capital like us,” Han said. Participation LPs [Korean conglomerates] They are passionate about climate technology and want to get involved in addressing the issue of climate and the environment because they agree that the climate crisis is one of the pressing problems.”

Korean Petroleum Refining Corporation GS Holdings and Chemical Company iso Participate in Sopoong’s climate-focused fund as limited partners, Han said, adding that they will be more like strategic partners for Sopoong. Non-profit organizations such as Asan Nanum Corporationestablished by the Hyundai Group, and De Campas well as startup founders and CEOs, including the co-founder and former CEO of Krafton, Jang Suk KimHe also joined the Sopoong Climate Fund, Han continued.

The early-stage venture capitalist had already created five social impact funds and backed 81 startups since 2020, after Han acquired the company in December 2019. Sopoong was launched in 2008 by Jaewoong Leewho co-founded Daum Communications, South Korea’s largest Internet portal operator, which merged with Kakao in 2014.

Now, the venture capital firm wants to focus on the climate crisis and other environmental issues with its sixth fund, but other tech sectors like SaaS and IT will still be on its radar, according to Hahn. “Two-thirds of the fund will be invested in environment and climate technology, including renewable energy, agricultural technology and food technology, and the rest will be devoted to investment in the information technology industry,” Han said.

Its sweet spot is early stage projects from seed stage to Series A stages across South 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 already invested in 16 startups, incl MetaTexturea start-up plant-based food company; Silexa Vietnam-based electric scooter and battery swap technology startup; MeurangA platform for managing charitable donations. And the Job 12An automation tool that helps users complete coding and design files.

Nine of the 16 companies are participating in Sopoong’s first acceleration program, which was launched in June and will run for six months. Sopoong invests up to $350,000 in each startup through its accelerator program and offers mentorship, co-working space, management support, and networking opportunities with experts.

On top of the accelerator, the company also launched a six-month fellowship program to promote climate technology entrepreneurship. So far, Sopoong says it has selected 13 individuals with master’s or doctoral degrees in environmental-related disciplines, offering them $1,700 per month in grants and other support, including an accelerator program. If the fellow co-founders are successful, Han said, Sopoong could make an initial investment.

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