I sat down with Andrew Kim, the first angel investor at Shakr Media, just a few hours before Shakr was announced as the beLAUNCH2013 Startup Battle Winner. Andrew Kim is currently working for a major Korean conglomerate in a senior position, and was previously with telecom startup Kineto Wireless. He studied Engineering at Carnegie Mellon and holds a M.Sc. in management from Stanford University.
We talked about why he invested in Shakr, what kind of person Shakr’s founder David Lee is, and his take on “the next big thing” for Shakr Media.
What stood out from the discussion I had with Shakr’s first angel investor, is the conviction Shakr has for doing the right thing. The entire team is passionate about its work, producing beautiful videos for our lives. Weddings, babies, and everything in between. As a startup that has worked hard to establish deep relationships with some of Korea’s most influential executives and startup founders, they’ve had access to short-term projects that could have produced early revenue. But they turned and walked away from a number of those projects, so they could focus their energies on building Shakr.com. Shakr’s unwavering commitment to the long game sets it apart from most startups that we hear about, not just in Korea, but in the world.
On being Shakr’s first investor
As Shakr’s first investor, Andrew made his decision based on nothing more than a slide deck and a meeting with Shakr’s founder. “He showed me a slide deck. Among a dozen slides, just one stuck out – and that part of Shakr hasn’t changed,” according to Andrew. “David founded Shakr to reimagine content, make it move. Make it move people.” Clearly, David and Andrew clicked on Shakr’s mission, and it set the groundwork for a very fast closing on Shakr’s first angel investment.
On tough decisions and being a family-friendly business
When Shakr began applying its technology to family-related content, they started to get approached with a number of partnership opportunities. But Andrew Kim points out that David was “really focused on building the right relationships with the right partners, to curate the way Shakr connects with the people whose lives it would touch with video.” He further added that, “David always prioritizes keeping the Shakr brand associated with feelings around family. That was one very important thing that we did as a company.” At times, this was difficult – as a hungry startup, offers with dollar signs attached were very tempting, easy ways to put money in the bank. But Shakr held true to its values, and disregarded short-term gain for building long-term partnerships with the right brands.
On David as a startup CEO
As our conversation shifted to Shakr CEO David Lee himself, Andrew didn’t hesitate to shower him with praise. “You see him as somebody that energizes you,” begins Andrew. “Actually, when I put money in this company, I told him that I’m sticking with him, in both good times and bad times. Because he has a very charismatic force… but he genuinely respects people. People respect him for that. David is consistent and very trustworthy – he’s the same person in and out.”
In my own conversation with Shakr’s founder earlier in the day, what stuck out was David’s genuine thankfulness for the great people around him and the good fortune he has had to meet them, in response to the praise he was receiving all around for a great presentation.
On the next big thing for Shakr
“We have a great target audience. Shakr has clarity about who its customers are and how we can add value to them. It’s beautiful video – high production value video, or the Hollywood treatment – for your life, something that was out of reach until recently. So that’s great for now. But our next step? Our next step is to take this to a global level. And we know we can do that because we have clarity of focus on family as our customers, and because Shakr is already a team of very global people.”