Outside board of directors at Kakao
Michael Cho, an angel investor and accelerator, has invested in more than 50 in-seed and early-stage startups while acting as a mentor to over 1,000 entrepreneurs seeking advice on their startups over the past four years. He is well-known for investments he has made in early-stage startups as well as for his advisory role at a myriad of fledgling companies.
Cho was one of the earliest angel investors in Kakao Corp., a company that started as a simple messaging app and then later grew into one of South Korea's dominant, nearly monopolistic, internet giants, with a current market cap of roughly USD 10 billion. He now sits on Kakao's outside board of directors. Cho is also an M&A specialist and a CPA (Korea Certified Public Accountant) specializing in sourcing, structuring, negotiating, and executing complex M&A transactions and valuations.
Cho was one of the founding members of KPMG Korea which he has been heading up since 1992. He became a partner at the age of 34, then served as the head of its corporate finance division from 2001 to 2005. Under his leadership, KPMG was named the top M&A house in South Korea for several years. Cho later expanded his influence into China, where he served as the head of the South Korea desk for KPMG China from 2007 to 2009. His focus was on the healthcare industry, and he was in charge of healthcare practices at KPMG Korea from 2010 to 2014.
Based on his professional experience at KPMG, Cho has built an impressive clientele roster as well as extensive transactional and industry experience, covering the analysis of strategic options, value assessment, deal structuring, the design of mechanisms for deal presentations in the marketplace, managing the transaction process, and negotiating and securing optimal terms for successful deal closings.
Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, and is a Korean citizen. He graduated from Seoul National University with a bachelors degree in business administration in 1990, then received his MBA from Seoul National University in 1992. He completed the Strategy and Entrepreneurship Course in Information Technology (SEIT) from Stanford University in 2002 and later the Insead Chairman 25 Program in 2006. He began investing independently in 2008, and within ten years he became one of the most influential angel investors in South Korea, with a core focus on the healthcare and mobile industries. His early-stage investments included Kakao, Yello Mobile, Pharma Research Products, Bepro, and Hyperithm.
Cho has great respect and love for creativity and entrepreneurship. He has been no less ambitious and prescient in identifying young, promising entrepreneurs whom he believes will change the world. His vast savvy and instincts have helped a wide array of startups get off the ground. He remains ever on the lookout for more young talent to guide towards greatness.