Sophie Kim, 38, does not think that she is a natural born entrepreneur. Yet she has managed to create South Korea’s first billion-dollar online grocery app.

Kim is the founder of Market Kurly, a grocery app known for its dawn delivery service, called Morning Star, that guarantees delivery of fruits, vegetables and other premium fresh foods by 7am the next morning for orders made before 11pm. The company also has its own line of gourmet ready-to-cook dishes.

Kim grew up in the city of Ulsan  approximately four hours from Seoul  and was a political economy major during her university days in the US. “I always thought that my path would be in academia. When I was about to graduate, I was having discussions on whether I should pursue a PhD. Someone told me that once you get into academia, you will have to spend the rest of your life studying. So I might as well try something else,” she shared.

She then decided to go into banking and got a job at Goldman Sachs; she was also formerly a consultant with McKinsey & Company. In 2011, she moved to Singapore for a year, and worked as a consultant with Temasek Holdings, the country’s state-owned investment company. During this time, her job scope included “reviewing technology portfolio companies and helping the investment team make the right decisions”.

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