Fortune-Telling Venture CapitalistsNot too far from Kangnam subway station, just past the Teheran Monument, a small, peculiar sign is catching people's attention.
The sign reads, "Kim Min-jung's New Generation Fortune Telling Center," next to which is a picture of a young woman.
Kim Min-jung, 30, is a fortune-teller who has opened a center in an office building next to the headquarters of Yahoo! Korea near Kangnam station.
Eighty percent of Kim's clients have some affiliation with Internet or venture enterprises. Entrepreneurs consult Kim on issues such as their chances of success in their new ventures, the feasibility of their relationship with new partners, and some even bring in the resumes of job applicants to get help selecting the right employees for their companies.
Kim said, "Venture capitalists take huge risks when setting up new businesses and now rely on superstitious ways of gaining information which they never would have trusted before."
Kim has become a sort of venture fortune-teller, though her venture has no connection with Internet ventures per se.
Kim's center has an interior as bright and smart as any modern office, and 50 percent of her clients pay by credit card. Starting March 20, she will begin operating an Internet site devoted to fortune-telling (www.kim-minjung.co.kr).
Near Sollung station there is a venture real estate agency called "Kordaq" which provides services to some 300 offices.
Because venture companies work through the night, the agency has made special deals with the landlords. So far, venture enterprises including Interpark, Virovision, and Keyin Telecom have found their offices through the agency. The agency also runs an Internet site (www.kordaq.co.kr) and informs their clients of rent fees, location, size, and so forth.
Last November a cafe named "Info Cafe" was opened where entreprenuers can have meals and drinks while sharing information or holding seminars. On March 21 an Italian restaurant called "Venture Club @ Soprano" will open which will cover an area of 200 pyong (800 square feet). The restaurant will provide meeting and consultation space.
Nowadays, business people on Teheran Road who have no obvious connections to hi-tech industry, such as fortune-tellers, real estate agents, and restaurant owners, are also becoming venture capitalists.
by Kim Chang-kyu