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[StartupRecipe] 1Q Startup Funding Surge Signals Brighter Future

#Weekly Funding Overview

[April. 1 ~ April. 5]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of the week is KRW 88 Billion.

ContactusBuilding management2 billionSeries ACapstone Partners, Shinhan Venture Investment
StylebotAI stylist-JCH Investment, Oracle Venture Investment
BodycherishSports nuturition-Pre-SeriesA BridgeNew Paradigm Investment
IntegrationMeditech23.1 billionSeries CKorea Development Bank, IBX Partners, TBT Partners, Korea Investment & Securities, SJ Investment Partners, DS Investment Partners
LabInCubeBio5.1 billionSeries AKorea Investment Partners, Union Investment Partners, BNH Investment
KiolightsContents community2 billionSeries AZVC, Kakao Ventures
ChaartArt resale-Pre-Series A500Global
MileOffice management SaaS-SeedMashup Ventures
Raion RoboticsRobotics-SeedCompany K Partners, Future Play
KDT DiamondLab grown diamond-Series AGenaxis, Signite Partners
Taxas softTax18 billionM&AViva Republica
Bio research AIBio research platform2 billionPre-Series AHeungkuk Securities, Shinhan Capital, BSK Investment, Kaist Ventures
Sandy floorGame-SeedKakao Ventures, Kona Ventures Partners
TrustFintech8.3 billionPre-Series A
LinkflowWearable camera11.5 billionSeries CSBI Investment
MyibB2B Matching gift service-SeedKolmar
Hooxi PartnersClimate tech2 billionSeries AInfra Frontier Asset Management, Hyunai motor securities
ProabtechBio3 billionHanwha Investment & Securities, BNC Korea
MeditherapyBeauty tech26 billionSeries ACompany K Partners, Korea Investment Partners, DSC Investment
PREVENOTICSHealthcare-Seed Bridge500Global
GloudDigital dental solution3 billionPre-Series AKB Investment, Korea Social Investment foundation, Kodit

#Major Funding

  • Mediterapy, a beauty tech company, raised 26 billion won in investment. Established in 2017, Mediterapy has been providing various beauty-related products, including daily beauty home care devices, mask packs and eye creams.
  • Integration, a medical community platform for medicine doctors and dentists, raised 23.1 billion won in investment.
  • Linkflow raised 11.5 billion won in investment. Linkflow develops on-device AI wearable camera solutions and offers FITT360, which targets the first-person video content market, and NEXX360 for B2B business safety and security.

#Trend Analysis

1Q Startup Funding Surge Signals Brighter Future

South Korea’s startup investment landscape is thawing, with a significant rise in funding compared to last year’s slump. In the first quarter (Q1) of 2024, startups secured KRW 1 trillion 737 billion in investments, a surge from the 77% year-on-year decline witnessed in Q1 2023. This 38% increase points towards a brighter outlook.

March saw a noticeable uptick in investments for growth-stage startups. This is a key indicator that fuels optimism for an improving investment environment. Government initiatives, such as the early fund-of-funds program, are accelerating progress, and the funding drought is expected to end this year.

Q1’s big winners were startups with a global focus, either targeting overseas markets or headquartered internationally with global potential. This highlights a shift in investor preferences.

Healthcare, particularly AI-powered solutions and medical devices, has gained significant traction this year, attracting the most funding in Q1. Another notable trend is the rise of investments in manufacturing, particularly robotics and batteries. Generative AI, AI semiconductors, and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) remain popular investment areas.

Consumer tech, on the other hand, has fallen out of favor. While investments were centered on food and fashion platforms, few companies received more than KRW 10 billion. This indicates a further slowdown in consumer tech growth. Even considering a temporary boost from a handful of large Q1 investments, the shift in investor preferences is clear.

The improvement in startup performance is also evident. Last year, news was dominated by restructuring due to poor management. This year, however, positive news like record revenues is more prevalent. It seems the past few years’ funding drought had a positive impact on company health. As a result, there are more startups this year with news of large investments and postponed listings, compared to last year.

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