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[StartupRecipe] VCs Focus on AI Continues in 2024

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Feb. 5 ~ Feb. 9]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 86.4 Billion.

NVentrichealthcare14 billionSeries BQuad Asset Management, Premier Partners, KDB Development Bank, Shinhan Capital, Genenpartners, CGBIO, UTC Investment, Devsisters Ventures, Heungkuk Securities
SOOPUIFashion-SeedNewkids investment
FinderCoffee-SeedNewkids investment
JLTSmart factory3 billionSeedKibo, KB Securities
Bold9Fulfillment-Series BPosco Capital, Smilegate Investment, UTC Investment
The hyoosikAccommodation-TS Investment
CnerGGreen Energy platform3 billionPre-SeriesA BridgeHanwha Investment & Securities, Quantum Ventures Korea, SGC Partners-DSN Investment, Bright Energy Partners
ACTNOVABehavior Test Platform3.3 billionPre-Series AHana Ventures, A Ventures, Fast Ventures
GI HoldingsFashion3.5 billionSeries BKudos Ventures
Impactive AIAI Solution-Pre-Series AIBK
Kai HealthInfertility AI Solution-Pre-Series AIMM Investments, SBVA, Smilegate Investments, Translink Investments
CreativemutReal time hologram12 billionSeries AWoori Investment, Kolon Investment, SL Investment
Uproot companyDigital Asset solution-Pre-Series ACnttech
MedinodeHealthcare-SeedENSL Partners
cloud hospitalHealthcare2 billionPre-Series ASJ Investment Partners, Hi Investment Partners
ProvalabsHealthcare-SeedSeoul Techno Holdings
GalleriexMedia Content-SeedGenaxis
PRNDUsed car platform45 billionSeries DKorea Development Bank, Atinum Investment, IMM Investment

#Major Funding

  • PRND, operating the used car platform Hey Dealer, raised a 45 billion won investment. As of January this year, the cumulative number of subscribers has reached 13 million, with total transaction amounts surpassing 10 trillion won.
  • Creative Mut, utilizing real-time hologram technology to produce videos, secured a 12 billion won investment. Real-time hologram technology allows users to interact with videos, making it a recognized technology for immersive content. With this investment, the company plans to expand real-time hologram events both domestically and internationally.

#Trend Analysis

VCs Focus on AI Continues in 2024

This year’s startup investment has begun with a notable upswing, spearheaded by the dominance of AI startups. AI companies have emerged as the most promising sector for both Korean and global investors. Just as global tech giants like Google, Apple, Nvidia, Amazon, and Microsoft are pouring significant funds into AI startups, Korean conglomerates are also embracing generative AI. Although large companies have scaled back their investments in startups overall, they are strategically directing their resources towards generative AI. Notably, earlier this year, SK Networks invested over 10 billion won in Upstage, while LG U+ bet a similar amount on 42maru.

The edtech sector, which has experienced a sharp decline in investment, recently witnessed its first major investment in a long time, particularly in AI-powered education startups. For instance, Elice Group received a 20 billion won investment to enhance its platform’s AI capabilities. StudyMax, the operator of SpeakingMax, a native speaker AI for English learning, has also integrated technologies such as ChatGPT into education and gained a foothold in the global market with its recent Series C investment, valuing the company at 100 billion won.

In the digital healthcare sector, AI is revolutionizing diagnosis, surgery, and treatment processes. Starups like Connecteve, specializing in musculoskeletal disease treatment, and Kaihealth, offering an AI solution for fertility, have received successful investments. AI-enabled companies in the advertising and manufacturing industries, such as Pyler (10.5 billion won), which uses AI to block harmful videos, and INEEJI (8.1 billion won), an AI prediction solution, have also garnered investor attention.

AI startups are also attracting funding in the early stages of investment. AI product analytics platform Coxwave raised 4.5 billion won at the seed stage alone, and AI cooking robot Aniai secured 15.7 billion won at the pre-Series A stage to establish itself in the U.S. Other early-stage companies that attracted attention include AI dubbing company HudsonAI (3.3 billion won), Optimization of deep learning models SqueezeBits (2.5 billion won), and AI photography platform Paradot (2 billion won).

Despite the slowdown in investment pace last year, investor interest in AI companies remained strong. This year, AI companies across various fields are expected to continue attracting attention from investors.

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