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[StartupRecipe] Startup Recipe to publish Korean Startup Funding Report 2020

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Mar.8 ~ Mar.12]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 97.5 billion.

SoogongPROPHTEC-Spring Camp
HolaplanFintech-M&AViva Republica
Awesome techdrone-M&AHancom Group
AllganizeAI11 billionAtinum Ventures, Stonebridge Ventures, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
MindlogicAI-Series ADSC Investment, Tekton Ventures, Strong Ventures, Partech partners
BomapInsuretech-Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Group
Air premiaairplane-M&AJC Partners, Korchina
TickleFintech-Pre-Series AGlint Partners, BlackMountain Ventures.
FirmmitAgriculture-Hite Jinro
BeringlabLegal tech-Naver D2SF
GiinnovationBio/Healthcare10 billionYUHAN
ImprimedBio/Healthcare-Pre-Series AHGI, Future Play, ES investor, Drapper dragon, bon angels, Murex Partners, Translink investment, Primer sazze
MBDBio/Healthcare11.5 billionSeries BG.N.Tech, Neoplux, BSK Investment, Daedeok Venture Partners, Giltedge Partners, Aju IB Investment, Hana Financial Investment
NineamContent-The Yoonmin Foundation
Air premiaAirplane65 billionJC Partners, Korchina

Major Funding

  • Allganize, the provider of NLP technology that allows enterprises to automate answering questions from millions of unstructured text documents, raised $10m in funding. The company has grown rapidly since its launch in 2017 and has acquired over 100 enterprise customers in the US, Japan, and Korea, including SMBC, Persol, Kao, JPower, KB Securities, Hyundai Card, and Smilegate.

Undisclosed funding

  • Insurtech company BoMap raised strategic investment from Hyundai Marine & Marine Engineering.
  • English education startup Tella raised seed investment from The Ventures, Strong Ventures, and Sparklabs.
  • MindLogic, an artificial intelligence (AI) interactive mobile app production company, raised Series A funding from DSC Investment, Strong Ventures, Tekton Ventures, Partec Partners and others.
  • Genetics-based AI platform Algorithm Labs raised Series A investment from KT Investment, Hanwha Securities, and Korea Investment Partners.
  • Testworks, which specializes in artificial intelligence data collection processing and software testing, raised strategic investment from MYSC.
  • AI Legal Tech Bering Lab raised seed funding from Naver Accelerator D2SF.
  • Firmmit, which leads future high-tech agriculture, raised investment from Hite Jinro.
  • Medical simulation education startup Newbase attracts seed investment from digital healthcare partners.
  • Nineam, which operates creator business platform ‘KT’, closed a follow-up investment from The Yoonmin foundation.


  • Air premia(LCC) has been acquired by JC Partners (PEF) and Korchina, a Hong Kong-based logistics company.
  • Holaplan, a student loan management platform, has been acquired by Viva Republica.

#Trend Analysis

Startup Recipe to publish Korean Startup Funding Report 2020

Startup media Startup Recipe has published its 2020 Startup Investment Report. It is an investment report that collects information on investments raised by Korean startups in 2020. The report contains startup investment news, ecosystem trends, and major investment areas in 2020, and the data collected and used in the report comprises of information that startups or investment companies reported or announced on.

The Korean startup ecosystem has recently been unprecedentedly revitalized by Coupang’s listing on NYSE, the acquisition of Woowa Brothers by Delivery Hero, and Match Group’s acquisition of HyperConnect. As a result, the value of Korean unlisted startups that succeed Coupang continues to rise, and more unicorn companies are expected to emerge. In addition to startup software developers’ compensation increasing, there is a great influx of talent into the startup ecosystem.

According to the report, the total amount of investment raised in 2020 was KRW 4.118 trillion , with 816 investment deals being made. Due to the influence of COVID-19, there was little news of investment in the first half of the year, but in the second half, all recovered and the amount of investment that flowed into Korean startups exceeded that of 2019. 

Consumer tech, bio/healthcare, and software attracted the most investment. Although travel and coworking spaces were not performing well due to the pandemic’s influence, industries such as delivery, OTT, and interior design showed brisk growth.

Viva Republica, which runs the financial platform Toss, attracted the most investment by raising KRW 206 billion, followed by Kurly, which runs the fresh delivery service Kully, with KRW 200 billion and English education platform ST Unitas with KRW 150 billion.  

Unfortunately, there was little news of startup IPOs last year, when many startups that have been planning to do so canceled their IPO plans due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, BTS’ agency Big Hit Entertainment succeeded in going public. 

The region where the most investment was made was Seoul. The largest amount of investment has been made in Gangnam and Seocho, where startups and investors are concentrated.

The sector newly attracting investment in Korea in 2020 was ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance), with early investment into startups developing cultured meat and vegetable meat in particular. 

According to the government’s official announcement, there are 13 unicorn companies in Korea. Among them, only one company, the car sharing company Socar and has publicly officialized their unicorn status in 2020.

The amount of investment raised by companies established by female founders accounted for only 8% of the total investment.

The non-Korean venture capital that invested the most in Korean startups is Altos Ventures, investing 12 times total in 2020. Altos Ventures has invested in Coupang, Woowa Brothers, Viva Republica, and HyperConnect, and is the VC that has invested in the largest number of Korean unicorn companies. 

You can download investment reports here for free.

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