Susan Choe, venture capital expert, founder, and managing partner at Katalyst Ventures (katalyst-ventures.com), discusses the importance of funding start-ups that can make an impact on our world in a positive way.
Choe is a seasoned expert with 20+ years of solid experience in applied AI/data-driven business models in interactive content, online finance, and marketing industry segments across Asia and North America. Her approach to venture capital is about supporting and financially funding innovators who are making a difference in the world through technology, in multiple areas. In addition to running Katalyst Ventures, Choe is also the co-founder and managing partner of Visionnaire Ventures, the firm of which she led the first capital raise and subsequent deals with Taizo Son and renowned CFO of Movida, Fuyuki Yamaguchi. Choe has played an instrumental role in the success of a number of companies, founding Outspark, a leading online games publisher, heading up joint ventures with multiple corporations, and maintaining operating roles at many top online tech companies, including Yahoo’s international operations. Choe is keenly interested in helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses through successful investment, service, and business model strategies.
Choe states that Katalyst Ventures is an early-stage AI fund, focusing mostly on firms that are data-driven. She discusses the reasons why Katalyst Ventures explores this particular area of the market, and at what stage they get involved. She explains that many of the companies and entrepreneurs that they invest in have at minimum one commercial partner already on board, and have tested out their products at least at a very preliminary stage. She talks about access to relevant data and the companies and entrepreneurs use of algorithms and natural language processing in their ventures. She cites specific examples of some of the ventures that Katalyst finds most interesting, and she details the intricacies of how they use data and AI. Choe’s firm seeks out solid companies with a fantastic plan for moving their company or idea forward. They work closely with the entrepreneurs to help them solve challenges, and offer strategic advice along the way, as Choe believes that entrepreneurs and business owners can actually change the world.
Choe outlines the various ways that Katalyst Ventures assists entrepreneurs and breakout companies. And as a financial advisory service company, they provide assistance in many areas, from the obvious—venture capital, but also with accounting, operations and systems services, helping visionary entrepreneurs get a solid footing in the market. Katalyst Ventures’ Accounting Services branch offers outstanding operational and financial leadership and company-building expertise, as Choe understands that early-stage companies may not yet have the current volume for a fulltime financial analyst or expert on board. Regarding their Operations branch, Katalyst Ventures can provide top-level assistance to help oversee operations in the early stage, to keep the momentum moving, but in a sound manner. And their Systems Support branch has the operational knowledge and years of expertise to assist entrepreneurs with all of their IT needs. From project evaluation to leading the project, finding appropriate vendors, etc., Choe’s firm can offer valuable assistance that can make the difference in the critical early stage of a company or start-up’s development.
The venture capitalist gives a historical overview of data and how we have come to use it in concert with modern technology such as AI and machine learning. Medical and operational tasks can be enhanced through the use of predictive technologies. Choe describes how the new technologies can be used to predict possible signs of illness as well as help to inform and educate physicians in the medical field. As she states, regarding data in the medical field, doctors can share data if regulations allow, which creates a larger network that is more aware and efficient.
Choe talks about her passion for assisting companies that have the greater good in mind. She cites examples of companies and startups that are doing great work, especially in the medical field, helping those in need. She discusses the results that her fund has achieved with various companies they have helped to capitalize. Choe states, of the seven Katalyst Ventures’ company investments, five are in the high growth mode. And as the fund pushes forward with new investments, Choe continues to look for entrepreneurs who bring together the right mix of potential profitability and usefulness to society.