Brian Kang has over 20 years of experience as an investment professional, a former CEO of a NASDAQ-listed company and a startup entrepreneur. He also served as a mentor for Sparklabs since the program's inception. Brian started his career as an engineer on Samsung Electronics' pioneering CDMA team, and then moved into strategy and business development roles. When Samsung established its first venture investment arm, Samsung Venture Investment Co, in 1999 Brian joined the company as a founding member. Seven of his investments went public. Afterwards, he joined as a Managing Director of the Korea Venture Fund which later became "Korea Fund of Funds" (aka "Motae Fund"). During the first seven years of the fund, Brian worked with top-tier global investment firms such as Vertex Management, State Street Global Advisors and Yozma.
The Korea Venture Fund not only generated competitive investment outcomes but also served as a stepping stone to Korea's largest venture fund of funds, KFoF. In 2008, Brian served served CEO & Chairman of the Board at Gravity (NASDAQ: GRVY), a Softbank-affiliated MMORPG gaming company most known for "Ragnarok Online". His restructuring efforts led the company to rebound from a large loss to profitability. Brian successfully sustained both revenue and profit growth during his CEO role with Gravity. Later he founded a gaming startup in San Jose, CA and Seoul that initiated and explored the potential of large scale hard-core mobile RPG games in the U.S. and Asian markets. Brian received his MS from NYU and also completed the Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’s Executive Management Program.
CHRIS KOH Co-Founder & Partner
Chris Koh is co-founder and Principal of SparkLabs Ventures. Prior to SparkLabs Ventures, he co-founded Coupang, a leader in e-commerce in South Korea valued at USD 5 billion. During his 5 years at Coupang, he led B2B business development and sales division which was responsible for bringing in over 20 million users (40% of the population of Korea) to the business. Not only is he experienced in marketing and business development, he was instrumental in growing the business from 7 employees to over 6000 employees in 5 years making him an expert at evaluating what it takes for businesses to scale.
Coupang is the first company to reach market dominance in the mobile market giving Chris a unique experience in the field of e-commerce and mobile services. Before he founded Coupang, he was at SK Chemicals Corporate Strategy Team, developing new business opportunities and planning other high level initiatives. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School where he focused on entrepreneurism and digital innovation.
MIKE HONDA Advisor / SparkLabs Ventures Former U.S. Congressman
Since 2001, Mike Honda has represented the 15th Congressional District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes Silicon Valley, the birthplace of technology innovation and the leading region for the development of the technologies of tomorrow. Mike has been a public servant for decades and is lauded for his work on education, transportation, civil rights, national service, the environment, and high-tech issues.
Mike was born in California, but spent his early childhood with family in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. His family returned to California in 1953, becoming strawberry sharecroppers in San José's Blossom Valley. In 1965, Mike answered President John F. Kennedy's call for volunteer service, enrolled in the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador and returned with a passion for teaching and fluent in Spanish.
Mike earned Bachelor's degrees in Biological Sciences and Spanish, and a Master's degree in Education from San José State University. In his career as an educator, Mike was a science teacher, served as a principal at two public schools, and conducted educational research at Stanford University.
In 1971, Mike was appointed by then-Mayor Norm Mineta to San Jose's Planning Commission. In 1981, Mike won his first election, gaining a seat on the San José Unified School Board. In 1990, Mike was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, where he led efforts to acquire and preserve open space in the county.
Mike served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, Mike was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the Appropriations Committee, with postings on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Commerce, Justice, and Science, and Legislative Branch Subcommittees. As an appropriator, Mike focuses on directing funding to critical areas such as: access to affordable healthcare; worker training; port and border security; law enforcement and the safety of our neighborhoods; health care for our veterans; recovery from natural disasters, particularly Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.
Mike is serving his seventh year as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, coordinating with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucuses to champion the causes of under-represented communities by promoting social justice, racial tolerance, and civil rights.
In 2007, he was named House Democratic Senior Whip by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC). Senior Whips are a select group of Members and Democratic Caucus opinion leaders tasked with strategic planning about how issues impact targeted Members or groups, and will help develop strategies to ensure legislative success.
Mike is widowed and has two grown children. His wife, Jeanne, was a teacher at Baldwin Elementary School in San José before her untimely passing in 2004. His son, Mark, is an aerospace engineer and Michelle, his daughter, is a public health educator with three young boys.
Nadiem is founder and CEO of Go-Jek, Indonesia’s biggest and fastest growing unicorn startup. He has built the Go-Jek in to a multi-billion dollar company disrupting not only the transportation industry, but e-commerce and the mobile payment market. He has successfully dominated the respective markets and for his accomplishments he was named Asian of the Year in 2016 by The Straights Times, Singapore’s top circulated newspaper.
Go-Jek has been funded by the top VC/PE firms in the world such as Sequoia, KKR, and Tencent. Before Go-Jek, Nadiem had successful stints as a consultant at McKinsey & Co and a general manager at Zalora Indonesia. Nadiem has a BA from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
DAVID LEE Advisor / SparkLabs Ventures Managing Partner at Refactor Capital
David Lee is the co-founder of Refactor Capital, a new venture capital fund focused on healthcare. Previously, he was the co-founder and managing partner of SV Angel, an angel fund with investments in companies such as Twitter, Pinterest, Dropbox, Airbnb, Product Hunt, Snapchat, and others. Prior to SV Angel, David was at Baseline Ventures, a leading seed-stage venture firm. He was a founding member of Google's New Business Development team and led business development at StumbleUpon prior to its sale to eBay.
He was also a corporate attorney at leading technology law firms.
David has an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford, where he was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow; a J.D. from NYU; and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. David is a survivor of Stage IV Hodgkin's Disease.
In 2011, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz named David as "One of the 7 Most Powerful People in Technology You've Never Heard Of." He was named once on “The Secret Power Brokers of Silicon Valley” and named twice on “The Silicon Valley 100” both by Business Insider.
ROBIN K. DASH Venture Partner / SparkLabs Ventures Co-Founder & Chief Architect, Splunk
Mr. Robin K. Das, also known as Rob Co-founded Splunk, Inc. and served as its Chief Architect since January 2005. Mr. Das served as Chief Technology Officer of Splunk. He was the Technical lead of 280's CORBA/Java application server, Avolent's OFX server, CommerceFlow's eBay integration server, Lotus/Data Broadcasting's Signal product and Sun Microsystems TOPS peer to peer network operating system.
His creations are in use at many of the largest Fortune 500 companies where high performance and high availability server architecture is critical. Mr. Das served as a Director of Splunk, Inc. He studied computer science at Indiana University and is the inventor of several U.S. patents.
JOHN SUH Venture Partner / SparkLabs Ventures CEO of LegalZoom
John Suh is CEO of LegalZoom, whose mission is to be the first place small businesses and families turn to take care of common legal needs. The team focuses intensely on the customer experience, utilizing technology and a network of law firms to create innovative and affordable legal solutions that encompass everything from incorporating a business to getting a provisional patent to obtaining a last will. Over the last 12 years, LegalZoom has grown to become the most recognized legal brand in the United States, with over two million customers and more than 500 employees.
John is a serial entrepreneur with almost two decades of experience in the Internet. Prior to LegalZoom, he served as CEO of StudioDirect, the Internet division of publicly traded Li and Fung. Previously, as co-founder and CEO of Castling Group, he took a leading role in helping offline companies create their Internet divisions, launching category leaders such as jcrew.com, hifi.com, and giftcertificates.com. Mr. Suh received a B.A. in Organizational Behavior and Public Policy from Harvard College and received his MBA with high distinction at Harvard Business School, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar.
CHRISTINE HUH Senior Manager
As a manager at SparkLabs Ventures, Christine is in charge of seeking out startups with high potential and supporting their growth. Before joining SparkLabs, she worked for IDG Capital’s Korean branch, pursuing opportunities on later stages of investment. During her time at IDG, she focused on cross-border deals and helping domestic companies venture into the global market. She is especially passionate in sectors including e-commerce, fashion, consumer goods, and media platforms.
Christine received her BA from the Johns Hopkins University where she studied International Studies, and later went on to obtain a Master’s degree from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
SHAWN KIM Partner
Shawn has over 15 years of experience in business development, strategy, and investment in platforms, content, and e-commerce. Before joining SparkLabs Ventures, Shawn worked at SK SUPEX Council, the highest consultative committee for management of SK Group. During his 3 years at SK SUPEX Council, he worked with the executive team to build strategy for SK Group's new growth, focusing on 4th Industrial Revolution related industries such as smart city and new energy solutions, and executed investments.
Prior to SK SUPEX Council, he worked at SK Telecom and SK Planet, leading e-commerce, mobile platform, mobile game, music business development and strategy. Mainly, he focused on leading mobile game business and spearheaded the revenue growth of T store's game category from $6M to $130M in 3 years, then No.1 mobile application marketplace in South Korea. He also has experience leading Youtube's B2C marketing effort during his time at Google. Shawn received his MBA from Harvard Business School and BBA from Yonsei University.