. Sool is the producer of Makku, America’s first craft makgeolli, a rice-based drink and the oldest alcoholic beverage in Korea.
· Laidlaw Scholars Ventures (LSV) contributed $650k, to take Sool’s total funding to $3.5m
Sool is a drinks company that introduces traditional Korean alcohols with a modern twist to US audiences, with a view to eventually expand to Asian markets. Sool currently has two products on the market: Makku, which is based on the traditional Korean alcohol makgeolli, and Soku, a ready-to-drink soju cocktail.
Sool began to sell Makku in 2019 and thrived despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Following their early growth, the company launched, Soku, the cocktail based on soju, which is the most-consumed alcohol in the world. Now with COVID-19 restrictions lifting and consumer demand returning, Sool is ready to expand its geographical reach.
The company is led by CEO and Founder Carol Pak. Carol completed an MBA at Columbia Business School, where she was received a Laidlaw Foundation scholarship. Following graduation she worked at ZX Ventures, owned by AB InBev, where she identified makgeolli as a drink with a small market in the US and a significant opportunity to grow given its unique flavour and cultural significance to the Korean community.
This investment is part of the first set of investments of Laidlaw Scholars Ventures, a new Venture Capital fund established by the Laidlaw Foundation to invest in businesses led by Laidlaw Scholars. Funds will be used to prepare to bring the product to a new market in Asia.
Carol Pak, CEO of Sool, said, “We are so excited to partner with Laidlaw Scholar Ventures and we wholly stand behind their mission to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of ethical leaders. As a Laidlaw Scholar, I am immensely grateful for the continuous support and trust from the LSV team through my professional career. With fresh funding, we will continue growing Sool in an ethical and purposeful manner.”
Niall Santamaria, Chief Investment Officer of LSV, said, “We are delighted to be a part of the Sool journey. Carol has really impressed us with her vision for the product, as well as her drive to build sales and expand her range despite the backdrop of last year. As Korean influences expand in the media, we believe there will be a significant opportunity for Sool to bring Makku and Soku to a wider culturally curious audience.”
Sool’s mission is to globalize Korean alcohol in an accessible and inclusive way. Sool is the parent company for Makku and Sokku. Makku is a modern take on makgeolli, a traditional Korean alcohol made with rice, which is Korea’s oldest alcoholic beverage. Soku is a light and bubbly ready-to-drink cocktail with a soju base. Made only with high-quality, all-natural ingredients, Sool drinks are perfect for after-work Netflix binges, weekend group karaoke, and everything in between.
About Laidlaw Scholars Ventures
Laidlaw Scholars Ventures (LSV) is a for-profit business investing in start-ups founded and run by Laidlaw Scholars. Backed by a $50m fund, LSV accelerates Good Businesses by financing growth, providing support services, delivering extensive training and development, and bringing a network of expert advisors and mentors. All profits from LSV will be returned to the Laidlaw Foundation to invest in its educational programmes designed to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of ethical leaders.