Sanghee is the Country Manager of Sendbird Korea, which is the APAC headquarter of the chat API startup. He joined the startup back in 2015 as the first employee of Sendbird, since then the company has raised +220 million for funding from leading Silicon Valley VCs including Emergence Capital, Steadfast Capital Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Tiger Global Management, Softbank Visionfund, Shasta Ventures, August Capital, Y Combinator and FundersClub.
Facts about me
- Sanghee is my legal name. I used to use Mark as my professional name from 2010 – 2020. Here’s an article introduces why I changed my name from Mark to Sanghee
- I was born and raised in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, and moved to the U.S. in 2017 with a mission to scale SendBird centered around the U.S.
- I started my career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. I then joined a mobile shopping startup, Ticket Monster, to explore the rapidly growing tech industry. I have been with SendBird since 2015 to fulfill my purpose in building a company.
- In my free time, I like to spend my time cooking, running and composing rap songs. I used to rap in the Korean underground hip hop scene, and I am also a member of Drunkrew (pronounce it D Run Crew)
Sanghee Lee is spelled with 尙熹, 李 in Chinese characters, and it means “Yet to be successful”. I was always wondering why my parents named their baby that! May all my dreams come true in the later stages of my life, or I might not be satisfied no matter what I achieve as a person with the name “yet to be successful.”
I am a native Seoul-er
I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea.
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea, only 121 miles away from Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea. Seoul is one of the largest metropolitan cities across East Asian countries with a population of over 9.963 million (Jan 2020), which has contributed directly to the nation’s status of being the country with the 4th largest number of unicorns in the world. (following China, US, India with the total count of 11)
Career and Aspirations
My first job was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. While spending 3 years there, I realized I am more passionate about producing rather than planning, and working for my team instead of working for an outside client. So, I moved on. Ticket Monster was my second stop where I expected to learn a lot of executing things and working at a fast growing startup. I really enjoyed working at a company where all of my expectations were fulfilled. Suddenly, I faced abstract dis-engagements and a series of frustrations. From these obstacles, I realized my next mission was to build a company from the ground up. So, I decided to take my purpose and join a startup.
That startup was SendBird. I joined the company as employee number one since the product launched its beta in 2015, and I have grown the company from a revenue of $59 into millions, with $220 million of funding from the top Silicon Valley VCs (up to Series C).
During the period of time, Sanghee has been responsible for various different roles including: Head of Growth (responsible for overall business primarily Marketing and Enterprise Sales), Head of Marketing (2018 – 2019), VP of Operations (2018 – 2020), and Country Manager of Sendbird Korea (2021 ~).
My career has evolved into my dream and purpose. My purpose is to build a company, to make this company become the successful benchmark for the tech industry to follow, and to be the inspiration for other international founders. Thankfully, my careers have fed my aspirations, from McKinsey & Co., where I trained myself to solve the problems of Fortune 500 companies, to Ticket Monster and SendBird, where I am building and scaling businesses and people. This has been my passion for the past 10 years, and it’s still growing.
Fun facts about Sanghee
My hobbies are pretty consistent with my professional careers. I like to race and to produce. My favorite sport is running, and I ran a half-marathon at the San Francisco Marathon in 2019 (and this year will be my second half-marathon).
I also used to rap. Perhaps my retirement plan could be releasing a rap album. Please let me know if I need to alter my plan – here’s a sample song for you, my honored guests to my music and life at KimchiHill.