Entrepreneurship in Korea: Interview with William Choi, Founder and CEO of Posture AI

Updated February 2023, upon the request of William Choi.

An active figure within the Australia-Korea space, William Choi is the Founder and CEO of a start-up which advocates for a backpain-free lifestyle through intelligent technology – Posture AI.

As a Canadian-born Korean, William was initially drawn to pursue numerous business ventures between Canada and Korea which would soon find him flying regularly between the two countries. Fortunately, William was heavily involved with cleantech and other technology investments just when the Korean government was aiming to boost their domestic sector by providing significant incentives to industry experts. William decided then to relocate to Korea, believing it was the perfect chance to extend his business network and advance his growing portfolio of startup investments in both countries.

As the years passed, the thought of going back never crossed his mind – as is the case with many overseas-born Koreans and expats that find their way to Korea.

“I have always had a strong connection to diversity, nature, and the backcountry, as a Toronto-born Vancouverite.  While Canada is stable, safe, and has some very strong industries, South Korea is dynamic, exciting, and powerfully energetic with innovation at the top of its list – and has responded quickly to our business. As a young tech entrepreneur and investor, I needed to be in a place that moves and innovates quickly, and South Korea being my native blood and heritage, along with a passion to help build a better Korea, it was an easy move.”

William Choi

Finding Opportunities in Korea

An avid entrepreneur and businessman, William is always busy juggling a multitude of projects and keeping an eye out for fresh opportunities. In addition to his role leading Posture AI, he also spent time as an Honorary Senior Lecturer for Clinical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Health at the Norwich Medical School in the UK, as a guest lecturer, speaker, and panelist in business schools and conferences worldwide.

William’s globetrotting approach has seen him accumulate a diverse network and establish a healthy niche, especially in the Australia-Korea space. William shared that many opportunities arise from finding a gap and leveraging collaborations that build value. William also added that being laser-focused on what you do best and making sure you are the best at your craft are key ingredients of success.  This takes a lot of hard-work, years of experience, learning from failures and celebrating wins, mixed in with a ton of creativity and passion with a purpose.  

“When trying to break into the Korean job market, they won’t see your value unless you show it to them. As a young professional starting off with limited options, do an internship and be committed to it. Show your passion, commitment, and loyalty.  That translates into value. If they don’t see your value then move on, quickly. It takes time, but persistence is key. If you want a job, then you must not only sell yourself, but demonstrate it which differentiates you from the other person”.

William Choi
A group of people posing for a photo

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William sharing his insights with young professionals in Melbourne at an AKYPA event last year.

For one particular young professional keen to break into the Korean market, Malcolm Roberts from the Australia Korea Young Professionals Association, meeting William turned into a valuable entry-point for building his network in Seoul.

“While building my career here in Seoul, William has provided me with the motivation and confidence to chase – and most importantly – create new opportunities. I met William through a connection at KOTRA, have since hosted an event with him in Melbourne with AKYPA, and now I work alongside him on exciting projects here in Seoul. This is all a testament to his guidance on leveraging my networks and showing my value.”

Malcolm Roberts

Leveraging Your Network

Before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to international travel, William was frequently flying between Posture360’s two offices in Melbourne and Seoul, while also making time to attend global conferences and pitch events. With an extensive business network across Australia, North America, the UK and Korea, William emphasises the value of leveraging your network to grow your company and discover new business opportunities.

“It’s all about leverage. Always look for opportunities to leverage yourself on both sides, finding opportunities to address gaps within a particular niche and add value by bringing together separate parties that are valuable for all those involved.”

William Choi
Team photo at the Posture 360 (now Posture AI) Korea office in Gangnam

One piece of advice William stressed for your early-stage startup, be it in Australia or Korea, is that although tapping into the start-up community will be valuable in the initial stages when you are seeking general community support and looking to network, limiting yourself to this community has limited potential for growth and connecting you to investor funding.

In a similar vein, a strong network with fellow entrepreneurs is matched in importance by building links with the corporate sector. For William, nothing beats good old-fashioned networking and events. “When it comes to raising capital, building relationships in the Australian corporate sector helped to secure investment and solidified the Australia-Korea link for the business”, William explained.

Looking Inwards

As parting advice to Asia Options readers, William suggests that while you embark on your journey to build connections and leverage opportunities to make the most of your skills and know-how, it’s important to remain grounded.

“Be humble, yet be confident. At the end of the day, you are dealing with people and the only person that will get in the way of developing the relationships and goals you want is yourself… always look for a win-win that connect different parties for mutual advantage.”

William Choi
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Kate Kalinova

Kate Kalinova is a Project Manager at the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) in Korea. She writes for Asia Options and Korea.net.