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[StartupRecipe] 2023 Performance of 12 Korean Early-Stage Investors

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Feb. 12 ~ Feb. 16]

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

50KPet600 millionSeed
ROBOSRobotics7 billionSeries ANonghyup Bank, NH Investment & Securities, DT&Investment, Future Play, Vision Venture Partners, Gyeongnam Venture Investment, CDK Venture Capital, JCH Investment, Vision Venture Partners
Simple planetCultured meat8 billionPre-Series APosco Capital, MYSC, DCP PRIVATE EQUITY, EASY Holdings, Prologue Ventures, Samho Green Investment,
Layers CosmeticHair loss solution-SeedNewkids investment
FitpleFood solution-SeedNewkids investment
RecoWaste management-GrantScaleup TIPS
PawchiPet insurance850 millionSeedFast track asia
FNS HoldingsDigital Fashion-Digital hollywood
A2usElectro water droplet-SeedPostech holdings
Smart bingon technology-Pre-Series AEcrux venture partners, Impact partners
AidenlabInfluencer marketing-Series AMagellan Technology Investment
ProxihealthcareHealthcare-GrantScaleup TIPS
FlareLaneCRM Marketing solution1.4 billionPre-Series APrimersazze partners, BA Partners, Yugyung PSG Asset Management
IPNOWIP Platform1.7 billionPre-Series AK-Ground Ventures, Honest Ventures, ITL

#Major Funding

  • Simple Planet, a startup specializing in cultured meat, secured KRW 8 billion in funding, boosting its total investment to KRW 10 billion. With this funding, the company has begun building GMP production facilities for mass production of cell culture high-protein powders, received food ingredient license, and is pursuing overseas expansion.
  • Robos, a company specializing in robot development, secured KRW 7 billion in investment. Their robot features a hybrid system powered by self-developed biovision AI technology, making it versatile across multiple industries. With plans to broaden the market and stimulate sales growth through the expansion of automation technology, Robos aims to further solidify its presence in the industry.

#Trend Analysis

2023 Performance of 12 Korean Early-Stage Investors

Despite a challenging investment environment in 2023, early-stage investors remained active, and early-stage startup investments held steady. Many firms even increased their investment amounts and portfolio sizes compared to 2022.

Here are 12 leading early-stage investors in Korea who have shared their 2023 results. Founded in 2012 by 19 financial institutions, revitalizes the startup ecosystem through direct and indirect investments. In 2023, it invested KRW 5.7 billion in 44 early-stage companies, adding to its previous direct investments of KRW 27.5 billion in 209 companies since 2015. It indirectly invested KRW 14 billion in global funds last year.

Mashup Ventures: Founded in 2013 as Mashup Angels, recently rebranded as Mashup Ventures. Actively focused on AI and SaaS companies, it made 16 investments in 2023, bringing its total portfolio to 168 startups with a combined enterprise value of KRW 11 trillion and two unicorn successes.

Korea Investment Accelerator: Launched as a subsidiary of Korea Investment Finance in 2021, the Korea Investment Accelerator invested KRW 10.2 billion in 38 companies (31 new) last year. With a cumulative portfolio of 73 companies and KRW 18.3 billion invested, the accelerator operates its own batch program and utilizes funds solely from Korea Investment Finance Holdings and its subsidiaries.

Korea Social Investment foundation=A non-profit impact investor, Korea Social Investment invested KRW 2.7 billion across 15 companies in 2023. It has developed an ESG management evaluation model for startups and established an endowment fund. Its cumulative impact investments (loans, investments, or grants) reach KRW 64.5 billion across 484 companies.

Futureplay: Launched in 2013, Futureplay is an accelerator that made 25 investments in 2023, primarily focusing on deep-tech startups. Notably, 2023 saw increased investments in university labs. With a total of 233 invested companies, Futureplay raised KRW 70.1 billion through three funds in 2023, reaching an AUM of KRW 215 billion.

The Invention Lab: An early-stage investor, The invention lab invested KRW 8.3 billion in 37 early-stage startups last year, with a cumulative portfolio exceeding KRW 30 billion and 154 companies. Since 2019, it has focused on investing in domestic companies in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam.

MYSC: Established in 2011, MYSC is an impact accelerator that invested a total of KRW 13 billion across 45 companies in 2023, with the environment/energy sector receiving the most investments. Its portfolio now exceeds 160 companies, and it formed new investment funds worth KRW 14.5 billion.

Bluepoint Partner: A tech accelerator launched in 2014. Last year, it invested KRW 18 billion in 56 startups, with industrial technology being the most prominent sector. The total number of invested companies has reached 331. Operating its own batch program, it introduced a new investment direction in 2023 with a focus on ‘Investment as a Service’ and ‘Demographic Product Market Fit’

Bass Investment: Bass Investment is an early-stage venture capital firm that invested KRW 30 billion in 31 companies in 2023. Over half of its investments are in the seed stage, with two successful exits: Beyond Music and VivaWave. The firm also offers a growth advisor program to support the growth of its portfolio companies.

Series Ventures: Active in Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongnam, Series Ventures invested KRW 5.4 billion in 18 companies in 2023, surpassing 50 cumulative investments. Over 80% of its portfolio originates from these regions. In 2023, the accelerator established 3 new funds in the region, focusing on early-stage investments.

The Ventures=Established in 2014 as an accelerator, The Ventures obtained its VC license in 2020. In 2023, the firm invested KRW 7.7 billion in 50 companies, bringing its cumulative portfolio to 259 companies. Starting in 2023, The Ventures will also invest in local Southeast Asian startups through a separate Vietnam fund.

CNT Tech: A food tech company established in 2003, and it began accelerator activities since 2018. In 2023, it executed investments worth 12 billion Korean won in 78 companies, recording a total of 370 invested companies. Operating as a diverse government-supported program operator, it invests in 16 sectors including food tech, SaaS, deep tech manufacturing etc.

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