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[StartupRecipe] Blockchain fever again?

#Weekly Funding Overview

[April. 19~ April.23]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 224.3 billion.

ThecommerceEcommerce5 billionSeries APartnerone Investment, Amore Pacific, iloom, Sempio, Woorimfmg, NK, Daeyoungpharm
SwingMobility7.5 billionSeries AHahsed, Mcapital, Humax, BDC Labs, Primer sazze
CoinoneBlockchain31.2 billion게임빌
MeshkoreaDelivery5.2 billionHanse, Yes24
HowserLogistics14 billionNaver, Atinum Investment, SL Investment, Premier Partners, HB Investment, SBI Invsetment, Breez Invesment, Hyndai Technology Investment
CosmoslabManufacture-SeedFuture Play
CraftaSoftware-Hana Ventures, Kimgisa lab
Korea credit dataSoftware40 billionPavilion Capital, GS Holidings, kb kookmin bank
SmartscoreGolf50 billionNH Investment & Securites, KDB, Hyndai Motors
Copin communicationsContent15.5 billionSeries BKB Investment, Daekyo Investment, Hyundai Investment partners, Shinhan Capital, Stick Ventures, Wonik Investment Parnters
YOLOEcommerce3 billionSeries AKB Investment, Strong Ventures, We Ventures
WADSoftware-Series BDSC Investment, Intervest
ADXAdvertising8 billionSeries CSmilegate Investment, TS Investment
Colley2 billionPre-Series AWe Ventures, BDCLABS, Platinum technology Investment
ListlySoftware-SeedStrong Ventures, Primer, Primer sazze
InflabEducation5 billionSeries AKorea Investment Partners, Mirae Asset Capital, BonAngels.
Positive HotelFood6.5 billionStonebridge Ventures, Signight Partners
LEMONEXBio/Healthcare30.5 billionSeries CSmilegate Investment

Major Funding

  •  Smart Score, a golf portal company, has raised KRW 50 billion, the largest amount of investment in a golf platform. Smart Score is a golf platform with 2.2 million online and offline members and plans to use new funds to globalize services, expand businesses, and recruit talent.
  • Korea Credit Data has raised KRW 40 billion. The company, which operates Cashnote, a small business sales management service, is planning to enter the credit evaluation business of individual businesses with the newly raised funds.
  • Howser is a furniture logistics company that serves the entire process from logistics software, furniture storage, delivery, and installation and operates 11 logistics centers across the country for overnight delivery. The company that has raised KRW 14 billion in investments will expand its’ infrastructure and enhance fulfillment services with this round of investment.
  • Coinone, a cryptocurrency exchange, raised KRW 31.2 billion in investment from Gameville and will start strategic cooperation for synergy between games and blockchain technology.
  • Copin Communications, a comprehensive content company, plans to finish raising KRW 15.5 billion in investment and build a vertical that encompasses web novels, webtoons, and games.

#Trend Analysis

The blockchain sector, which caused a craze once in 2018, is emerging again. The blockchain sector is drawing attention again as Bitcoin prices have renewed their highs every day. Major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have shown optimism in cryptocurrency. Also, investment in startups in this field is increasing. In 2018, the blockchain boom led to many related startups being founded and investments actively made, but from 2019 to 2020, news on investment in the field was rare.

News of investment, which had been slow for some time, has gradually increased since February, and several significant investments have been made since March. Coinone, a cryptocurrency exchange, raised a strategic investment of KRW 31.2 billion from game developer Gameville. At the same time, Mblabs, which operated shared vehicle services in Southeast Asia, completed an investment of KRW 18 billion, and B2B blockchain service, Lambda256, has finalized investments of KRW 17 billion. Lambda is spun off by Dunamu, the operator of Upbit, Korea’s largest virtual currency exchange, and Dunamu recently announced its listing in the U.S. Big corporations often invest strategically in such large investments.

Investments are also being made in startups in e-commerce, distribution, and logistics, where blockchain technology can be applied usefully. Guhada, a luxury e-commerce platform created by blockchain developer Temco that guarantees product reliability with blockchain technology, has raised KRW 4.5 billion in investment from GS Home Shopping. Block Odyssey, which tracks logistics processes with its own QR code and stores information on blockchain platforms to prevent forgery, has raised KRW 2.8 billion in investment. It will expand its territory into authentication in e-commerce markets.  

Hashed is the most active investment in blockchain startups in Korea. Hashed founded Hashed Ventures in September last year and formed its first fund worth KRW 120 billion in December. Hashed is investing in companies in various fields that can contribute to the blockchain ecosystem, not just in the blockchain sector. Korea’s two most prominent tech companies, Kakao and Naver, are expanding their related businesses and investments through strategic investments of KRW 4 billion and KRW 8 billion, respectively, in Hashed. 

As global markets, the Korean blockchain market is quite different from the 2018 craze. Instead of reckless coin investment, the focus seems to be on technology potential. At the end of this year, the government announced plans to introduce cryptocurrency into the financial system and impose taxes. If policies are made to protect investors while creating an institutional framework, it is expected that Korean companies that promote the development of related industries and dominate the global market will emerge. 

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