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[StartupRecipe] Series A Funding Remains in the Chills

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Dec. 18 ~ Dec. 22]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 61.05 Billion.

LionrocketGen AI6 billionSeries A BridgeStonebridge Ventures, Gu Equity
BINDMens Fashion-GrantTIPS
FarmyirehSeDigital farming-SeedSeoul Techno Holdings
SpaceportColdchain500 millionPre-Series AKIBO
C2YInterior B2B-SeedShinhan-Quantum Seed Fund
ClobotRobot software11 billionPre IPOShinhan Venture Investment, Mirae Asset Securities, Intervest, Hyundai Motor Group Zero One
QMITSports tech3.15 billionSeedStone Bridge Ventures, HGI, Schmidt, Big Basin, Geon Investment, Bokwang Investments, Sang Sang eBiz
BanlifePet travel platform-Pre-Series AStrong Ventures, Kimbongjin
WilogLogistics-GrantScaleup TIPS
AstarGen AI-SeedSparklab
DalrollFood2 billionSeries A2ROI Investment Partners, Daesung Venture Capital
TogglecampusCollaboration tool-SeedSmilegate Investments, Blue Point Partners,
Solive VenturesKids edu-SeedSeoul Techno Holdings
Gravity Labs-SeedSeoul Techno Holdings, Delight Investment
FeatDocument sharing-Smilegate Investment, Mark&Company
Removing companySenior Healthcare-SeedMYSC
GengenaiAI4.5 billionPre-Series ASmilegate Investments, DSC Investments, Stone Bridge Ventures, HL Mando, Innowireless, Korea Development Bank
Amber roadSmart900 millionSeedSparkLab, DCamp, Y&Archer, Dg Tech Holdings
CreatornomicDigital Business Card-GrantTIPS
AbsologyBio10 billionSeries B BridgeKorea Development Bank, Forest Ventures, Forest Partners, Krossroad Partners, Intekplus
HumanscapeHealthcare20 billionSeries CKorea Development Bank, Hana Securities, Hana Ventures
ChainlogisDelivery-Olive young
Loka101Proptech1.5 billionSeedKIBO
KStyle HubBeauty brand-SeedJeJu CCEI
BIYOUFood Recycling-SeedJeJu CCEI
OPEACECoworking Space-SeedJeJu CCEI
JEJU BASALTJeju base product-SeedJeJu CCEI
VanaMSemiconductor Materials-GrantDeeptech TIPS
Howhy CompanyEdutech-SeedGrand Ventures
MOVIC LabAI Solution1.5 billionPre-Series AMobydick Ventures, Evergreen Investment Partners, Kodit

#Major Funding

  • Digital healthcare company Humanescape has completed a $40 million Series C funding round with an additional $200 million investment. The company operates a rare disease integrated solution called Rarenote and a pregnancy/parenting platform. The company plans to use the funding to accelerate the development of its services and its global expansion.
  • Robot software company Clobot has raised $11 million in pre-IPO funding. The company has autonomous driving technology and other technologies needed for robot services. The company plans to go public on the KOSDAQ stock exchange in 2024.
  • Webtoon generation AI service Lionrocket has raised $6 million in funding. The company operates an image generation AI called Zenvers that can instantly create characters from just 10 training images. The company is currently collaborating with over 15 content companies in Korea and Japan.

#Trend Analysis

Series A Funding Remains in the Chills

While 2022 delivered a harsh blow to growth-stage startups, its icy tendrils have extended to the entire entrepreneurial landscape in 2023. Even Series A startups, poised on the cusp of model validation and market traction, are finding themselves caught in the frosty grip of funding woes.

The numbers paint a stark picture. Gone are the days of quarterly Series A deals surpassing 60-70; no quarter this year has cracked the 50 mark. The market downturn has not only chilled investor enthusiasm, but also shrunk company valuations, reflected in the declining average and median investment amounts. Compared to last year’s buoyant KRW 8 billion (average) and KRW 6 billion (median) Series A figures, 2023 coughs up a meagre KRW 6 billion (average) and KRW5 billion (median). And with a 30% drop in deal volume and a tighter standard deviation hinting at prevalence of smaller investments, the funding landscape has gone decidedly micro.

The disparity is even starker when examining individual deals. 2022 boasted a KRW 100 billion kingpin, dwarfed by this year’s champion at KRW 71.2 billion. Even quarterly highs have shrunk from last year’s KRW 40-100 billion bonanzas to this year’s KRW 10-70 billion plateau. It’s a “rich get richer, cold gets colder” scenario playing out among startups battling for survival.

But 2023 hasn’t offered much respite even compared to its own bleak beginnings. While a few lucky startups in Q3 snagged big bucks, temporarily inflating the average, Q4 witnessed a brutal plunge of over 4 billion won. The median value remains stubbornly frozen, and the number of deals hovers around a chilly 30. The message is clear: while a handful may bask in the sun of big bucks, the overall funding climate has retreated to the shadows of small investments.

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