Photo : Alexey Girin, CEO of Starta Ventures
Tech Seoul is publishing a series of interviews with CEOs of startups, accelerators, and VCs in commemoration of its founding. Today, for the sixth time, We met Alexey Girin, CEO of Starta Ventures, located in New York. Interviews were conducted in writing.
Hello Mr. Alexey Girin, thank you for your time today. We think this interview with Alexey Girin, CEO of Starta Ventures, an early-stage VC fund and accelerator that has been working with international founders since 2015 and has invested in more than 215 startups around the world, will be very interesting and informative for Tech Seoul readers.
Q .Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years, my goal is for Starta to establish itself as a leading top-tier institutional accelerator and investor for early-stage startups, both in the USA and across the globe. For me personally, I envision being part of numerous inspiring success stories of international entrepreneurs who have thrived under our guidance and support.
Q. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I am very patient and good at analytics, which allows me to carefully assess situations and make informed decisions. These qualities enable me to navigate complex scenarios effectively and with a measured approach.
I have a tendency towards relentless optimism. While optimism can be beneficial in many situations, it is important to maintain a realistic perspective and consider potential obstacles or drawbacks.
Q. If you ask people who know you well what three adjectives best describe you, what would they say?
Smart, kind, sensitive
Q. How do you usually spend your free time?
Traveling with my family
Q. If there's anything you like, tell me about three things.
I like helping entrepreneurs and people who want to become entrepreneurs. I like it when people become successful. I like developing and leading educational workshops and lectures, as it allows me to foster growth and development in others.
Q. What does the meaning of success for you and your company?
For me, true success means witnessing an increasing number of individuals embracing their dreams and pursuing their own visions instead of toiling away for the dreams of others, all thanks to the impact of my work. At the core of Starta's mission and our endeavors here in NYC is a movement to empower aspiring entrepreneurs and those embarking on their journey. We provide them with the necessary tools and resources to propel them towards significant milestones, whether it's achieving their first revenue, securing a round A funding, or even making a successful acquisition. This relentless pursuit of enabling and supporting others is deeply ingrained in Starta's DNA. The bigger the number of entrepreneurs we’ve helped, the more successful we are.
Q. What companies are competitors and why are they doing well?
In the competitive US accelerator market, Starta stands out among its competitors such as Plug and Play and Techstars. What sets us apart is our focus on providing a customized program specifically designed for immigrant founders and foreign entrepreneurs, addressing their unique needs and challenges. This sets us apart from larger accelerators that primarily cater to American-born founders.
Meanwhile, our competitors have successfully built extensive networks of corporate partnerships. These partnerships have proven to be highly beneficial not only for the growth and capacity of the accelerators themselves but also for their portfolio companies. By facilitating connections, these partnerships open doors to B2B sales opportunities, pilot projects, and potential exits for portfolio companies.
To ensure we don't miss out on these opportunities, we are also embracing this approach with our branch entity called Elpis. Through Elpis, we are actively establishing global partnerships with corporate players, aiming to provide similar benefits to our portfolio companies. By leveraging these partnerships, we can foster valuable connections and opportunities for our startups, enhancing their growth potential.
By offering a tailored program for immigrant founders and foreign entrepreneurs, and by incorporating strategic corporate partnerships through Elpis, Starta positions itself as a strong competitor in the US accelerator market. We are committed to supporting startups and fostering their success by addressing their unique needs and providing them with valuable connections and opportunities in the USA.
Q. Where do you see your company in three years?
In three years, we envision Starta, expanding its reach and impact significantly. Building on our foundation as an accelerator in NYC, we have launched Elpis, our branch entity focused on building a global network of partners outside of the USA.
Our primary objective with Elpis is to establish strong collaborations with government agencies and major corporate players in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Through these partnerships, we aim to develop customized, locally adapted programs that bring the high standards of the American tech ecosystem to these regions. By fostering cultural and business practice exchanges, we seek to facilitate the growth of tech companies and promote innovation on a global scale.
Additionally, our flagship program in NYC will continue to thrive and serve as a hub for connecting entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. We will foster an environment that encourages collaboration, knowledge sharing, and cross-pollination of ideas.
By leveraging our expanding network, diverse partnerships, and commitment to excellence, we aim to position Starta and Elpis as a leading catalyst for global tech ecosystem growth. Our focus on bridging international markets and facilitating meaningful connections will contribute to the success of tech startups and foster innovation worldwide.
Q. Just as Japanese culture, food, and cartoons have become popular all over the world, Hallyu(Korean Wave) , such as Korean culture, Kpop, K-dramas, webtoons, and Korean food, has become a widely known and popular trend in recent years. Does Starta Ventures have an interest in investing in K-Contents startups?
At Starta we are constantly evaluating investment opportunities across various sectors. We believe in the power of cultural trends and their potential to drive innovation and business success. Therefore, we would be interested in learning more about specific K-Contents startups that align with our investment criteria, including those that demonstrate unique value propositions, scalability, and a strong potential for market disruption. While we don't have a specific focus on K-Contents startups at the moment we would be happy to evaluate the potential synergy between our investment goals and the growth potential of the Korean Wave.
Q. What should Korean start-ups who want to advance to the US prepare for? Please recommend 3 things.
Korean startups looking to gain a foothold in the U.S. should consider several important aspects:
1. Market research: conduct detailed market research to understand the needs, preferences, and competitive landscape of the U.S. market. Identify target customers and estimate demand for your product or service.
2. Localization: adapt their product or service to the preferences and cultural characteristics of the U.S. market. This may include changing features, adjusting pricing, or even rebranding to appeal to U.S. consumers. Also, recruiting local talent, which in their early days can even be in the form of interns from top US business schools, can provide invaluable insights and help build a strong presence in the US.
3. Networking and Partnerships: Build a strong network of connections in the U.S. startup ecosystem. Attend relevant industry events, join startup communities, and seek partnerships with local companies or organizations that can help their expansion and gaining valuable feedback.
Thank you for your time today. We wish the endless development of Starta Ventures.
Starta Ventures : https://starta.vc/
Elpis Labs Foundation : https://www.elpislabs.org/