Primer Sazze Partners, a San Jose-based venture capital firm, announced today it has raised its second fund at $127 million (150 billion won) to invest in startups founded by Korean entrepreneurs in Asia and North America.
South Korea-based conglomerate LG Corporation and Hana Financial co-led the second fund, with participation from a number of Korean tech entrepreneurs, including Saeju Jeong, CEO of Noom; Tim Hwang, CEO of FiscalNote; John Kim, CEO of SendBird; Chang Kim, CEO of Tapas Media; and Bong-Jin Kim, founder of Woowa Brothers.
Its total assets under management (AUM) is now approximately $170 million, said founding partner of Primer Sazze Kiha Lee.
The second fund will invest in early-stage startups, from pre-seed to Series A, Lee said. Initial ticket size will range between $500,000 and $3 million and follow-up checks.
Primer Sazze will focus on artificial intelligence, SaaS, health tech, food tech, consumer and sectors that take advantage of Korean culture, like drama, movies and K-pop bands, Lee continued.
One of Primer Sazze’s key strategies is to help its portfolio companies accelerate their global expansion with a mission to support Korean founders in their early-stage startups in Asia and North America.
Primer Sazze Partners launched its first fund with $42.9 million (50 billion won) in 2018. Its portfolio totals more than 50 startups, including Kippo, LOVO, Imprimed, Chequer Global, Zikooin Company, Upstage AI and DoctorNow in the U.S. and Korea.
The VC firm invested seed rounds in Upstage AI and LOVO; both raised Series A in the third quarter of this year.
Lee said the Korean tech entrepreneurs, who joined as limited partners in the second fund, will work alongside Primer Sazze to provide the advisory, mentorship and strategic support for the next generation of Korean founders.
“Korea is at its tipping point where the level of high-tech industries, talents and the growing market size with the increasing global awareness of Korean culture…We are excited to form a stellar group of advisors with the most successful Korean tech entrepreneurs as we share the mission of fostering the next generation of Korean entrepreneurs across the globe,” Lee said.