Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Hee Suk Jung, head of investment, SK Gas

Hee Suk Jung works for SK Gas, which represents the energy business of South Korea-headquartered diversified conglomerate SK Group. SK has the largest oil and gas business in the country and had the largest refinery complex in the world. However, SK is now determined to transition to sustainable energy, and Jung moved to Silicon Valley in mid-2018 to identify clean technology developers.

Jung leads the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of SK Gas as the head of investment and he makes investments in cleantech startups and also supports project financing. He has have been in this field for three years, first half in South Korea and the latter in the Palo Alto office.

Jung enjoys CVC because it takes a long time to develop a customer-focused technology and the corporation may not have the necessary manpower to build it, adding: “I can offer tech startups equity financing and also support them with geographic expansion.

“Startups can also work with an international player like us to utilise our international network as their testbeds and expose themselves to a greater chance for an exit.”

Jung said he looks forward to deploying Bloom Energy’s units to Asia. “For investment, we went into [fuel cell energy system producer] Bloom Energy deal before their IPO (initial public offering), and now we are getting ready to work with them in Asian countries.”

He considers one the challenges he faces to be the market transition, saying: “Korean electricity market is still regulated, and the government still holds the electricity market. It would be great to have some support from the government as well.”

He added that management education was important, too. “In order for me to make more investments and stretch the investment thesis, educating the management about the market trend, landscape and technology must continue.”

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.