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Startups on the Menu as Venture Capitalists Go Shopping in Seoul

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When South Korean venture capitalist Park Young Ho first visited Kakao Corp., its founders said they didn’t need any money, at least not yet. It was March 2011 and Park admired the company’s messaging app, which was close to passing 10 million users after its roll out 12 months earlier.

“I was convinced about its growth momentum,” said Park, the 36-year-old senior principal at Korea Investment Partners Co., the nation’s biggest venture capital firm. “Given Korea’s population of 49 million, I thought ‘Game over, Kakao’s won.’ I didn’t want to miss out so I stayed continuously in contact with the company and after five months, the deal was closed.”