Lee Su-jin’s Net Worth Forbes: How Much Money Does The Yanolja Founder Have, Why Is He So Rich?

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Lee Su-jin, the creator of Yanolja, is one of the wealthiest tech billionaires from South Korea. From working as a motel janitor, here is how he made his money.

Lee Su-jin is the founder and CEO of Yanolja, one of the few most used travel apps in South Korea.

The Yanolja platform is mainly for accommodation bookings.

He started off as an orphaned child and moved to be a motel janitor. He had a rough beginning but persevered to achieve success joining the tall list of the richest with a grass-to-grace type.

Today, he is one of the world’s richest self-made men with a net worth raking over a billion. Read on for more about the tech CEO.

Profile Summary

Celebrated Name:Lee Su-jin
Net Worth:$1.2 billion
Company:Founder and CEO of Yanolja
Source of Wealth:Tech, Hospitality, Self Made
Date of Birth:1978
Birthplace:South Korea
Marital Status:Married
Children:2 kids – all daughters
Su-jin was orphaned as a child and as a result grew up traveling to live with different family members
Su-jin was orphaned as a child and as a result, grew up traveling to live with different family members. Credit: Getty

What is Lee Su-jin’s net worth?

According to Forbes, Lee Su-jin has a current net worth of $1.2 billion and is currently number 26 on the list of Korea’s 50 Richest people.

The 45-year-old founded the travel app Yanolja which means “Hey, let’s play,” in Korean.

Su-jin founded the app in 2007 and has since become famous in Korea for his hotel and travel booking site.

Along with his wife and two daughters, Su-jin owns around a third of the app and entered the Forbes list in the spring following over 57 million downloads.

The billionaire is now living the “dream” but his success was unforeseen and yet entirely influenced by his life experiences.

Lee Su-jin, creator of Yanolja started off as a love hotel janitor
Lee Su-jin, creator of Yanolja started off as a love hotel janitor. Credit: Getty

How did Lee Su-jin make his money?

Su-jin was orphaned as a child and as a result, he traveled a lot to stay with family members.

By the age of 23, he became a janitor at a so-called “love hotel”, a motel offering short-term accommodation for an hourly price.

The grueling work offered Su-jin a steady paycheck and accommodation.

He told Bloomberg in 2017: “Day in and day out, I felt wretched but hung on.It feels like a dream now.”

The dedicated worker saved his money and invested wisely in stocks and despite a failed salad company, he decided to launch a business in hospitality, a sector he knew very well.

“I think such kind of experience is very, very helpful to understand the nature of the industry,” Yanolja’s CEO Kim Jong-yoon said of Su-jin’s former job.

Following the passing of anti-prostitution laws in 2004, Su-jin decided to rebrand motels and love hotels so they would be modernized and appeal to more people than just those looking for “love.”

With Yanolja, Su-jin hoped to attract young couples and travelers to use motels that were safe, convenient, and budget-friendly.

He told Bloomberg: “If all the motels relied on love, they’d starve to death.”

In June 2019, Yanolja become South Korea’s eighth “unicorn” startup by receiving a valuation of more than $1 billion during a funding round.

Two years later, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, an investment company, bought a minority stake in the app for $1.7 billion at a $6.7 billion valuation, according to Forbes.

Following the explosion of the app that now does much more than travel booking, the billionaire and his CEO believe he has helped change the perception of motels.

“Previously, many people were not able to go to motels out of embarrassment. But we’ve drawn in guests even for travel. That’s the biggest change,” Kim said.