For the fifth edition of TIPS & beSUCCESS Korean Startup Showcase Silicon Valley co-hosted with Korea Business Angels Association and Cuvee April held from October 11 to 14, 2022, the 15 selected tech startups had a mentoring session with Dr. Sue Xu, Managing Partner at AMINO Capital at Stanford University Campus on October 13. The Korean startup founders got valuable insights about their products and services at the session with Dr. Sue Xu, which will help them enter the global markets.
The TIPS & beSUCCESS Korean Startup Showcase Silicon Valley is a program held to showcase the potential of the Korean startup ecosystem to leading VC firms and accelerators in Silicon Valley and support startups to enter the global market.
Mentor Dr. Sue Xu is a managing partner at AMINO Capital, an early-stage venture firm based in Palo Alto focused on investments in big data and data-driven technologies. Dr. Sue Xu began her early-stage entrepreneurship when she was the founding scientist of GlycoMira. She has three patents and over 20 journal publications and was previously a Postdoc fellow at Stanford University.
Since 2012, she has been involved with over 100 investments, such as Assemblage (acquired by Cisco), Orbeus (acquired by Amazon), Woomoo (acquired by Priceline), Contastic (acquired by SugarCRM), Human Longevity Inc, and Skycatch. She is currently providing advisory to a number of fast-growing portfolio startups. To date, AMINO Capital has funded over 160 companies, mostly in seed and Series A, including 21 successful exits, 11 unicorns, and over 15 startups with valuations above $100 million. AMINO’s portfolio includes Grail, Webflow, Weee!, Chime Bank, Rippling, Dfinity, etc.
The 15 Korean startup teams that presented their services were Gadget Korea, Blinkers, TissenBioFarm, Gomi Corporation, Noutecompany, inDJ, Ad-Shield, Aurum Care Management, Kinava, LooKo, MoveAWheel, PMX, PuzzleData, Testbank, and Tart. Dr. Sue Xu guided the startups as they presented their pitches meant for VCs and investors in Silicon Valley.
Ad-Shield team that showcased their ad-blocking technology for web publishers was told to broaden their profile of service. “One of the concerns I have is that Chrome may block your app. So while your theme is really good, you can field more products around publishers and do some dirty work, as we say as AI scientists. This will appeal to investors, and the current technology can be like a secret sauce.”
Kinava, a green tech company, was commended for its ‘good science.’ “In the US, most of the Fortune 500 companies want to invest in such ventures,” Sue told the founder. Another startup Testbank, which digitizes educational content, also got a similar positive response from her. “There is a really huge demand for processing documents, and you can add value in the US market, as we like companies with a focus on software,” Sue said.
Startups like GOMI Corporation and Noutecompany were advised to figure out their strong selling points and pay attention to their market strategy to succeed in a market different than Southeast Asia. “If you want to expand outside Korea, you must show people you can make money for them. Lots of VCs expect that,” said Sue as she gave the example of the success of Australian startup Canva, a digital design company.
For Blinkers, the first NFT wine exchange in Korea, she said that NFT is an attractive investment and most VCs look for SaaS that can create real utility.
“For the NFT, you will have 1000 fans, and you can be a profitable company. You have to tap the younger audience,” she suggested. For inDJ, the startup that has an app playing music as per user’s mood, Sue said that while they have an interesting idea, it can be a challenge for the music app as many already exist in the market. “It is difficult to find finance because of issues like copyright, etc., so the solution would be to be a consumer app. More importantly, talk about community, musicians, and influencers, and make it more interesting.”
Dr. Sue Xu also analyzed and gave similar feedback to all the other presentations by startup founders, which would help them enhance their chances of getting funding from Silicon Valley VCs. Adding value to the mentoring session were students of Stanford University, who also attended the session and gave feedback on the products and services presented to the panel.
- Testbank Inc. develops technology that converts educational material PDFs to interactive digital content
- PuzzleData, the process intelligence platform leader, releases the new product for global market
- PMX aims to improve the disease screening and diagnosis with a breakthrough AI medical imaging solution
- MoveAWheeL, Inc. develops advanced road safety sensor technology that can detect invisible ‘black ice’