Bom Kim is the genius behind Coupang, South Korea’s most valuable startup – a company that is poised as Amazon’s greatest competition in the country.
The tech company has a $28 billion valuation and has seen an exponential rise in its stock price since 2018, and the company’s IPO in 2021.
Like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, all of whom famously dropped out of college, Bom was already in grad school when he decided to quit.
He was admitted to Harvard’s MBA program—a highly regarded institution for budding entrepreneurs. While others see this opportunity as a great way to achieve their goals, it only took six months for Bom to realize that he could make it on his own.
This e-commerce company was established in 2010, and within three years, it saw sales exceeding $1 billion, an impressive feat for a company that’s less than five years old.
There was an offer to make the company public. After all, Coupang’s was booming. But the road to success wasn’t smooth sailing, so Bom had to reinvent how the system worked.
This was what Bom remembers as the most difficult decision he ever had to make. The six months of the listing process were long and rigorous, but at the eleventh hour, he knew that the company wasn’t ready for it.
In short, the IPO plans were shelved. But Bom had no regrets—this might have been the hardest decision he had ever taken, but he learned a lot from it.
Bom transformed Coupang into an e-commerce giant that gives importance to customer service. He admitted that at the time, they turned green with envy at Amazon’s success, and so, they tried their hardest to grow as well.
There are 5,000 Coupangmen who deliver packages ideally in less than a day. The company also has its Dawn Delivery feature, wherein if you order the midnight before, you can receive your item before 7 a.m. the next day.
With Coupang’s success, it should come as no surprise that many people are interested in the company. While Bom has maintained in previous years that he has no plans of making the business public, rumors on the grapevine have it that the stalled plan will happen in the coming years.
Some of its investors include Sequoia Capital, BlackRock Inc., and Vision Fund.