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LG Chairman Koo Looking for Talent, Business Opportunities in U.S.
Aggressive in Startup Investment
LG Chairman Koo Looking for Talent, Business Opportunities in U.S.
  • By Michael Herh
  • April 12, 2019, 11:20
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LG Group chairman Koo Kwang-mo (sixth from left) poses for a commemorative photo shoot with a group of Korean researchers studying in North America after attending the LG Tech Conference recently held in San Francisco, the United States.

LG Group chairman Koo Kwang-mo is actively looking for future talent and new business opportunities. Koo, who visited the United States as his first overseas trip after his inauguration, made efforts to attract talented people. He was also interested in exploring new business opportunities through investment in startups. The group has invested about US$19 million in U.S. startups through LG Venture Capital, a corporate venture capital (CVC) firm.

LG Group said on April 11 that Koo attended the second LG Tech Conference held in San Francisco on April 6.

The LG Tech Conference is held by LG twice a year in Korea and the United States every year. It has been going on for eight years since 2012, and the late chairman Koo Bon-moo attended the event to secure talent on his own. This year Kwon Young-soo, vice chairman of the LG Group, and Ahn Seung-kwon, chairman of LG Science Park, attended the event as well. Also, about 300 researchers on M.A. and doctorate degree programs participated in the event.

Koo visited LG Technology Ventures founded last year on his trip to the United States, and did not hide his will to invest in global startups to secure future growth engines. LG Technology Ventures is an investment company created last year by five affiliates including LG Electronics, LG Chem, LG Display, LG U+ and LG CNS by investing a total of US$425 million in Silicon Valley, the United States. So far, LG Technology Ventures have invested US$19 million in six companies.

In particular, LG Technology Ventures is investing massively in promising companies related to mobility, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual reality (VR), biomaterials, and next-generation displays. Its most recently invested company is VR platform service startup "AmazeVR". AmazeVR is a VR platform service start-up to enhance content capabilities in the 5G era of ultra-fast speed and ultra-low latency. AmazeVR is a start-up founded by those who worked at Kakao Talk. It provides more than 300 virtual reality contents to online platforms. Recently, it produced interactive virtual reality video contents. LG Technologies invested US$2 million in AmazeVR.

In addition, LG Technology Ventures invested US$5 million in mobility-sharing software startup "Ridecell" in October 2018 with a beginning and since then, has invested in "Optodot," a start-up with next-generation lithium-ion battery and optical film technology, SideChef, a service platform company, Nautilus Venture Partners, a venture capital firm in the mobile field, and Lygos, a bio-chemical manufacturer.

Like this, the LG Group has shown a distinctly different color since the inauguration of the new chairman. The LG Group has been well known for its conservative corporate culture where it was passive about mergers and acquisitions (M&As). But chairman Koo has been actively investing in and cooperating with outside companies since his inauguration.