SINGAPORE ― Legendary investor Jim Rogers has gained attention from Koreans after he made a series of investments in Korean startups over the past year.
Since the beginning of 2016, Rogers made a total of three investments in small Korean firms in the hope that the two Koreas will be unified in the near future.
Early this year, he invested in Standard Graphene, Korea's first graphene manufacturer based in Ulsan, a southeastern industrial city, the third of its kind in just around one year. He is also serving as an adviser there.
"Scientists say graphene is going to bring bigger changes to the world than the internet and transistors. It did not exist 15 years ago," Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, told The Korea Times. "It is a miracle material."
Known as the one-atom-thick material made of carbon atoms, graphene in his words is like a piece of paper but it's stronger than steel and more flexible than rubber.
"I have an interest in the company because they seem to be a leader in production of graphene," he said, refusing to reveal the amount of his investments
In March 2016, Rogers invested in Wealth & Liberty, a promising venture startup with specialty in financial advisory services using "fount," a robot adviser.
In January of the same year, he made his first startup investment in Illimus, a Korean cosmetics and skincare goods manufacturing firm established in 2013.
What's interesting is that he had never invested in startups before. His investments usually focus on stocks, bonds and commodities.
According to him, he has received a lot of investment requests from all around the world but he has never made startup investments anywhere except for Korea.
"This is extremely unusual for me. I don't have this kind of investment anywhere," the Singapore-based investor said.
"It's amazing. Cosmetics company, financial company and graphene company. Now I have three, all in Korea."
When asked why he chose Korea, he cited two factors ― story and unification.
The multimillionaire investor said he may have a subconscious belief that there is going to be unification in the near future.
"I'm not sure but I guess I pay more attention to Korea because of the view of unification," he said. "Also, all of them have a good story."
He added that owners of the three startups are another important factor for his investments.
"They are smart and ambitious people. All three of them contacted me directly," he said. "I am investing in people, not in companies. I was impressed by the people and what they are doing."
Rogers, who moved to Singapore several years ago, is one of the world's three most famous investors together with George Soros and Warren Buffet.