Hee Jung, vice president of global innovation centre, SK discovery, is one of our top 50 Emerging Leaders in corporate venturing in 2024.

Hee Jung, SK Discovery

“Be a person that has gravity – it is not about your culture, looks or language, it is about meeting people and being true to others,” says Hee Jung, vice president of global innovation centre at SK Discovery, part of South Korean conglomerate SK Group.

“It is people who make things happen. Your network will be your power in corporate venture capital,” he says.

Jung oversees Innovation and Investment of SK Discovery’s US teams based in Silicon Valley, Houston and Boston, liaising with the venture teams in Korea.

The CVC unit, which has multibillion dollars under management, targets three industries: energy, healthcare and proptech, reflecting SK’s diverse business areas.

“It is people who make things happen. Your network will be your power in corporate venture capital.”

“We do a lot of project financing on top of the equity investments and also help open new markets for our portfolio companies and vice versa,” says Jung.

“All the success cases that we have in Asia, we want to replicate in the US and European markets. That is all under the open innovation job that I have started this year.”

The unit has around 25 active portfolio companies and it usually concentrates on series A to pre-IPO stages. Jung covers global markets except for Korea, and he has made investments in countries including the US, Canada, France, Spain and Japan.

Jung’s focus for this year will be on the circular economy, especially recycled and bio-based materials. He is also excited about the Asia-Pacific region.

“We have similar cultures in Asia, and it is a lot easier for us to deploy their solutions in the Korean market,” he says. “We started to look at innovative companies in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and India, so we are more active there.

“But the Asian ecosystems are not fully developed yet compared with Europe or North America, so I am trying to stimulate that process.”

See the full list of GCV Emerging Leaders for 2024 here.