Seunggun Lee is a South Korean businessman and entrepreneur who has recently gained attention for the success of the company he leads. He serves as the chief executive officer of the Korean fintech startup called Viva Republica. He is a remarkably astute professional with a keen business sense and a talent for establishing businesses from a good idea or concept, and building them up to high levels of success. He’s an inspiration to entrepreneurs around the world. We wanted to learn more about what makes him so good at what he does. After looking into his personal and career history we made some interesting discoveries. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Seunggun Lee that might give us some insights.
1. Seunggun Lee is the founder of Viva Republica
According to Crunchbase, Mr. Lee is not only the executive in charge of leading Viva Republica, but he is also the founder of the company. He launched the company to offer ways for people to obtain financial services that present the best possible values in a safe, simple, and cost-justifiable model.
2. He is an award-winning entrepreneur
Seunggun has made some large contributions to the community in Seoul and the surrounding areas. He entered a startup competition that was called “Demo day.” The contest was sponsored by D. Camp. He won first place in the contest that was established by Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs. In addition to this, he has received accolades from the Small and Medium Business Administration. The award was presented in October of 2014.
3. Seungunn Lee is highly educated
Seunggun Lee graduated from Yeongdong High School. After completing his studies he went to the Seoul National University where he studied dentistry. He since went on to become a dentist.
4. Seunggun Lee is a Doctor
According to his LinkedIn profile, Dr. Lee attended the university and studied in the field of general practice. He began his studies in 2001 and graduated in 2007 as a doctor of dental surgery. He is not only a doctor in dentistry but he is also qualified to perform oral surgeries.
5. His only listed job is as leader and founder of Viva Republica
Seunggun Lee founded Viva Republica, also known as Toss, in 2011. He stepped up to the position of chief executive officer of the firm and has been in the same job ever since. He has been the leader of Viva Republica for the past ten years. He doesn’t list any other job experiences, so we assume that he is a fully trained dentist who has chosen another career path. There is a three-year gap between his graduation date and the time that he launched Viva Republica, so we assume that the time was spent practicing dentistry.
6. Seunggun Lee is a problem solver
According to CNBC, Dr. Lee was busy being a dentist when he noticed a big problem in the banking industry of South Korea. This was something that he could not ignore. Establishing a new financial/banking service in the country at the time was barely legal, but he is somewhat of a risk-taker, so he decided to do something about it. He founded Toss, a South Korean money transfer app w which was the first in the country. At the time he launched the app it was illegal in South Korea, but he threw caution to the wind and proceeded anyway.
7. He put his own money into the new venture
Dr. Lee had a busy dental practice, but he had a strong desire to help people have better access to necessary financial services, including loans and other services. He took $400,000 of his own money which came from his savings and bank loans to put his ideas for Toss into a workable plan to launch a new fintech startup. The company is called Toss as well as Viva Republica to avoid any confusion over the use of both names.
8. Seunggun Lee made history in South Korea
Lee is the first owner of a financial technology startup to achieve a valuation of $1 billion. He will go down in history for this magnificent feat. The company that started in 2014 has just 7 years later turned into a very successful business that has made Seunggun a very wealthy man.
9. He struggled to find support
When Dr. Lee first told his friends and family about his idea to start a fintech company, he found little encouragement or support. The country of South Korea has a banking system that is heavily laden in red tape and regulation. This made a company like Viva Republica illegal at the time. His parents did not initially support his desire to start the company, nor did the regulators or investors. This didn’t stop the then 30-year old from moving ahead with his ideas. It took him a year of negotiating with regulators to convince them to allow him to offer a simple money transfer platform. After much discussion, the law was relaxed and he was allowed to launch his new company.
10 Seunggun Lee is a persistent guy
Dr. Lee was not content to work as a dentist when he knew that there was so much more out there for him. He is one of the most persistent people in the world. He quit his job and started experimenting with several different ideas for companies. He launched a total of 8 businesses that failed before he got it right with Toss (Viva Republica). He followed his own heart even though he didn’t have the support of his family to do so. He wanted to make a positive impact on the people around him. Toss currently has a valuation of $2.2 billion. He is known as “the dentist who founded a $2.2 billion startup and he did it on his own. He is a self-made billionaire.