VC is also about change and timing. a VC does not miss opportunities - Alchemic Investments


Alchemic Investments is an investment company specializing in deep tech, including Web 3.0, fintech, and AI. Despite the ‘investment ice age’ in which VCs have entered a cold season due to high-interest rates, this is a new VC that appeared in the market in March of this year with a solid lineup of people with expertise in each field. CEO Kyungman Min calls for investment that complies with regulations and is making clear and active investments in areas in which he is confident. With a level of expertise that is unusual for a new VC, the company is not missing out on investment opportunities not only in the domestic market but also in the global market. 

 #alchemicInvestments #minKyungman #vc #deeptechInvestment

Q. Please say hello to VC Discovery Magazine subscribers.

Hello, subscribers. My name is Kyungman Min, and I am the CEO of Alchemic Investments, a new VC established with the goal of specialized investment in deep-tech companies. Nice to meet you.

Q. Could you please introduce yourself about your career?

I have experience working at a foreign pharmaceutical company. I also have startup experience. Most recently, I had four years of experience in a venture capital LLC. After experiencing so many different industries, I thought I wanted to establish a VC and invest in fields I know well and am good at. So, we prepared for the establishment of the company for about two years starting in November 2021, and received an investment license in March of this year. I was born in 1982, so I understand that I am probably one of the youngest among VC representatives. (Laughs)


Q. ‘투자 빙하기’ 때에 VC를 설립하셨는데, 이유가 있을까요?

투자 빙하기라고 불리는 상황이긴 하지만 오히려 지금 펀드들이 늘어나고, CVC들은 더 생겨나고 있어요. 저희랑 같은 시각으로 보고 있다고 생각하는데요. 불리한 상황과 반대로 투자의 기회가 더 있을 거라는 예상이 첫 번째 이유고요. 두 번째로는 저희가 목표로 하는 딥테크 시장에서는 지금이 오히려 더 기회라고 보고 있어요. 상황과 회사의 목표를 따져봤을 때 가장 적기라는 생각이 드는 때에 설립을 진행하게 됐습니다. 물론 창업하기 전, 많은 경험도 중요하지만 그만큼 또 중요한 것이 변화에 대한 타이밍이라고 생각해요. 제가 남들과 다르게 투자, 금융 쪽부터 시작한 건 아니지만 반대로 스타트업이나 다양한 사업을 하면서 보이는 시장의 변화와 기회가 있거든요. 경험을 더 쌓기 위해 그 기회를 놓치는 건 아니라는 생각이 들더라고요. 지금이 타이밍이라고 생각했습니다. 그래서 남들은 혹한기라고 하는 이 타이밍에 들어오게 됐습니다.

Q. 대표이사님의 투자 철학이 알케믹인베스트먼트와 어떻게 연결이 되고 있나요?

알케믹인베스트먼트를 한 문장으로 정리한다면 딥테크 기업 투자를 목표로 ‘빠른 성장’과 ‘높은 잠재력’을 가진 VC라고 말하고 싶어요. 이걸 목표로 알케믹인베스트먼트가 움직이고, 관리되고, 잘 성장할 수 있도록 하는 게 저의 역할이라 생각하고 있고요. 이게 사실 모든 VC가 가진 핵심 가치라고 생각해요. 그래서 제가 조금 더 회사에 주장하고 있는 방향성은 변화에 두려워하지 말고 산업이 변할 때는 우리도 같이 빨리 변하자는 것이에요. 그리고 내·외부적으로 정해진 규제안에서 정확하게 사업을 하자는 게 회사 운영에 핵심이라고 생각하고요. 그래서 다양한 분야의 전문가들과 함께하고, 특히 법률 관련된 전문성을 가지고 규제에 맞는 투자를 해 나간다는 것을 강조하고 있는데요. 앞으로 투자하려는 파트들이 법과 관련된 것들이 많기 때문에 항상 변호사와 함께 논의하고, 결정하는 구조로 되어 있어서 다른 VC와는 다르게 투자 결정, 회의를 진행할 때 변호사들이 더 적극적으로 참여하고 규정을 많이 따져가며 진행하고 있습니다.

Q. 법률적으로 검토를 같이 진행하시는 이유가 무엇인가요?

저희가 디테일하게 펀드를 만들려고 하는 분야들이 Web 3.0에 관련된 것도 있고 그다음에 IP 관련된 것들도 있는데요. 그 분야들 대부분이 법적인 이슈가 만들어져야 하는 분야들 혹은 논쟁이 되는 분야들이라서 대부분 아직 많은 VC가 손을 안 대는 분야로 알고 있어요. 그 시장에서의 기회를 살펴보니 저희 역량으로 충분히 진입할 수 있다고 생각했고, 다른 VC와 차별점을 두어 저희의 특화 분야로 투자를 진행할 수 있는 생각이 들어서 더욱 법률적 방면을 검토하고, 더 많이 생각하게 됐습니다.

Q. You established a VC during the ‘investment ice age’. Is there a reason?

Although it is called an investment ice age, the number of funds is increasing and more CVCs are being created. I think they see it from the same perspective as us. The first reason is that, contrary to unfavorable situations, there will be more investment opportunities. Second, we see this as an opportunity in the deep tech market we are targeting. Considering the situation and the company's goals, we decided to establish the company when we felt it was the most appropriate time. Of course, it is important to have a lot of experience before starting a business, but I think the timing for change is just as important. Unlike others, I did not start out in the investment or finance field, but on the contrary, there are changes and opportunities in the market that I see while running a startup or various businesses. I felt like I shouldn't miss the opportunity to gain more experience. I thought now was the time. So, we have entered this period that others call the cold season.

Q. How is the CEO’s investment philosophy connected to Alchemic Investments?

If I were to summarize Alchemic Investments in one sentence, I would say that it is a VC with ‘rapid growth’ and ‘high potential’ that aims to invest in deep tech companies. With this goal in mind, I think my role is to ensure that Alchemic Investments can move, be managed, and grow well. I think this is actually the core value that all VCs have. So, the direction I am advocating to the company is not to be afraid of change and to change quickly when the industry changes. I believe that conducting business accurately within internal and external regulations is the key to running a company. Therefore, we emphasize that we work with experts in various fields and, in particular, make investments that comply with regulations with legal expertise. Since many of the parts we plan to invest in in the future are related to law, we always discuss and make decisions together with lawyers. Unlike other VCs, lawyers participate more actively and pay close attention to regulations when making investment decisions and conducting meetings.

Q. Why are you conducting a legal review together?

Some of the areas we are trying to create a fund in detail are related to Web 3.0, and then there are also those related to IP. Most of these fields are areas where legal issues need to be raised or are controversial, so I believe that many VCs are not yet involved in these areas. After looking at the opportunities in that market, we thought that we could sufficiently enter the market with our capabilities, and we thought that we could differentiate ourselves from other VCs and invest in our specialized field, so we reviewed the legal aspect and thought more. That's it.


Q. What questions do you always ask when meeting entrepreneurs?

Actually, I'm asking very basic questions. There are many cases where you are not sure what to do with the shareholding structure of the company you created, what kind of investment you should receive and how to receive it, and what information should be included in IR materials. Also, there are many things to worry about, such as hiring human resources. However, it seems that there are more unfortunate cases than expected where mistakes are made in such basic aspects and lead to wrong results. So when we meet, we start by talking about the basics. The vision and parts that are good for the company are already reflected in the IR data, and the parts that are difficult or difficult are not included in the IR data, so I tend to look into the company's internal issues a lot.

Q. Are there any characteristics of an entrepreneur that you prefer?

I'm not sure about the people I prefer, but I don't really prefer companies where the gap between documents and reality is too big. It looks great on paper, I have a good academic background, I have tried several businesses, and I have received good investment, but there are cases where the next step is not possible. I think there is something to be said about this because I have run a business and know that there is a gap between documents and the reality of the company. Of course, I think it is necessary to discern carefully because only good things should be included in all documents. I do a lot of reference checking before meeting people, so there is no prejudice at all regarding academic background or qualifications.


Q. What is Alchemic Investments' fundraising strategy?

I'm thinking a lot about my fundraising strategy. The characteristics of the funds targeting this year are that on one side, there is a fund that is expected to be mostly LPs targeting corporations, and on the other side, there are funds that may be of interest in being smaller than corporations and smaller than individuals or mid-sized companies. I'm having a lot of trouble deciding on the wording and how to approach it.

Q. When dealing with deal sourcing, do you look not only at domestic startups but also overseas?

The funds we mentioned are in areas where there are more opportunities overseas than domestically, so we are continuing to look into overseas markets. Of course, it is a draft, but when I announced the characteristics of this fund to overseas LPs, it felt like there was a lot of interest. The number of overseas LPs that highly evaluate Korea's growth potential is currently increasing, and our VC is also actively discussing partnerships with major overseas companies and institutions. So, it is expected that most investors will be from overseas, such as the United States and Singapore. We also plan to support global expansion through our overseas network.

Q. Please tell us what you want from the government and the association.

Of course, this is an area that requires manpower, but I think it would be good if the practical question and answer section (Q&A) on the association's website were implemented in a more detailed and diverse manner. Then, some say it would be nice to see a positive review of the expansion of eligible investments.

Q. I am curious about Alchemic Investments' 5, 10, and 20-year goals.

I have a vision to lead industrial innovation and growth by investing in industries with rapid growth and high potential. We want to focus on maximizing LP profits through asset management-level risk management and smart exit plans. I want to grow into a VC that has a clear influence in our investment field within 5 years, and I think we can do that. And I think that in 10 years, the industry will change and there will be an opportunity for change. I think now is the right time, and I also think that there will be an opportunity for some change in the next 10 years. Then, the goal is to grow the company by finding opportunities to expand the size of the company according to the situation at that time. No matter how much I think about it, I can't see 20 years from now. I hope you stay healthy until then. (Laughs)


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