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[StartupRecipe] Korean version of Silicon Valley ‘Gangnam Valley’

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Mar.15 ~ Mar.19]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 211.9billion.

TrenbeLuxury Fashion22 billionSeries CIMM Investment, Murex Partners, Korea Investment Partners, Atinum Investment
Block odysseyBlockchain2.8 billionPre-Series AHashed, SAMYANG CHEMICAL
Woolim namooFood-SeedCompany A
MusinsaFashion130 billionSequoia Capital, IMM Investment
Solar connectEnergy20.8 billionSeries C"Korea Development Bank, Neoplux, Yuanta Investment, BNK VENTURE CAPITAL, BSK Investment "
ClasstingEducation10.5 billionSeries CAtinum Investment, Korea Investenet& Securities, EUGENE INVESTMENT,
SFS3D printing-SeedCNttech
Lamda256Blockchain10 billionSeries A
Int-flow-SeedENSL Partners, Startupnow
AlicornProphtech4.2 billionSeries BKT estate
MooncademyHobby100 millionSeries Ay’sletter Investment, Tigrisinvestment.

Major Funding

  • Fashion platform Musinsa raised KRW 130 billion in new investments in a year and three months. Corporate value is KRW 2.5 trillion won. With the investment, Musinsa plans to expand its new category, expand its logistics system, and expand its brands overseas and expand its investment to foster new brands.
  • Luxury fashion platform Trenbe raised KRW 22 billion worth of Series C investment and expand overseas and strengthen new businesses. In just four years since its launch in 2017, Trenbe has achieved 4.5 million MAU and KRW 15 billion in monthly transactions.
  • Lambda256 raised KRW 10 billion worth of new investments and completed KRW 17 billion series A investment. The company operates Runiverse, which provides cloud-based blockchain services to businesses. Through this investment, they plan to hire to enter industries, additional services, and upgrading platforms in Southeast Asian countries.

#Trend Analysis

As Silicon Valley has fostered innovative startups in the U.S., in Korea there is Gangnam Startup Valley. It is a startup cluster located in Gangnam, Seoul, where startups and VCs are concentrated the most, and is mainly led by TIPS Town. TIPS Town is a startup hub established by government to vitalize the Korean startup ecosystem, and since its opening in July 2015, various startup ecosystem players, including VCs and accelerators, as well as presidents and politicians have visited.

Gangnam Valley is home to startup support organizations such as Tipstown (S1~S6) and startup support center Maru 180. TIPS stands for Tech Incubator Program for Startup and is a representative government-led support project in Korea. It is a program that imitates Israel’s method of fostering startups and applied it to Korean startups, and the government provides additional funds to startups invested by private VCs to foster promising tech companies. It supports up to 1 billion Korean won per team and provides growth support funds through step-by-step programs such as pre-TIPS and post-TIPS. Within TIPS Town, there are government run startup support organizations such as VCs participating in the TIPS program and KISED(Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development), so startups can receive comprehensive support.

TIPS Town opened its first building in July 2015, and six buildings have been opened so far in 2021. All five buildings are run by the government, but the S6, which opened in 2020, is a space created by the government with Korean conglomerate POSCO. Until now, POSCO has supported startups by operating its own venture company discovery and development program. Each building has a startup tenant office, co-working space, conference room, and event hall, while some buildings also have showers, sleeping rooms, and studios for video shooting. The setup is similar, but each building has a different interior design.

In addition to TIPS, Maru180 is also located in the cluster. Maru180 is a space established to honor Hyundai Chairman Chung Ju-young’s entrepreneurship and provides free office space for winning teams through the Jung Ju-young Entrepreneurship Contest, the flagship acceleration program of Maru 180. In the second half of this year, a new center Maru360 will open.

From Seoul’s Yeoksam station where TIPS Town is located, to Samsung station, Korea’s leading unicorn startups, VCs, and various startup organizations are gathered. In order to see the energy of Korean startups and entrepreneurship, it is recommended that you visit these places.

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