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[StartupRecipe] Global VCs look for next Coupang

#Weekly Funding Overview

[July. 12~ July. 16 ]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 2.21 trillion.

Colosseum CorporationFullfillment-Series ACapstone Partners, Timewise investment,
ILLSCHOOLHiphop beat trade-SeedCnttech, Block Crafters
ChilsungboatyardLocal Venture-SeedGangwon CCEI
petdocPettech10 billionSeries CKorea SMEs and Startups Agency, Megazone Cloud,
42.dotMobility30 billionShinhan Capital
Biobank healingBio/Healthcare2.5 billionPre-Series ASusung Asset Management, NH Investment & Securities
YanoljaTravel2 trillionSoftbank
SCAI TherapeuticsBio/Healthcare31.4 billionSeries BStonebridge Ventures, IMM Investment, HB Investment, Kiwoom Capital, IUM Private Equity, Foward Equity Partners
CareWithwellness4 billionSeries A1Samsung Venture Investment, Hana Ventures, CJ, Timewise Investment, Spring Camp
Imgatehotel solution-M&AH2O Hospitality
Thingoolfood5.5 billionCTK Investment, Otium Capital, KB Investment
WefundSnack subscription1 billionSeries BHana Bank
Fainders.aiAI600 millionSeedKlim Ventures
J2H BIOTECHBio/Healthcare30 billionPre-IPO
RXCEcommerce20 billionSeedAmore Pacific, F&F, Maeil, LB Investment, Mirae asset venture investment, Asendo Venture
SolmedixBio/Healthcare5.5 billionSeries AStoneBridge Ventures, Magna Investment, Stic Ventures, Union Investment Partners, Intervest, UTC Investment
inCerebroBio/Healthcare5 billionPre-Series AHB Investment, TimeFolio, Albatross Investment, UTC Investment,
Return ZeroAI Voice16 billionSeries BCompany K Partners, Hana Ventures, Atinum Ventures, KTB Network, Angels
Wonder Works CompanyKids shopping-Seed500 Startups
J2H BIOTECHBio/Healthcare30 billionPre-IPO

Major Funding

  • Yanolja raised an investment of kRW 2 trillion from SoftBank Vision Fund, valued at KRW 10 trillion. The company aims to diversify its revenue structure from a hotel reservation company to a technology-based leisure platform and a super app for travel. They plan to go public in the US after growing in size.
  • P2P FinTech company Lendit got an investment of KRW 50.4 billion. This investment provides them with an opportunity for quantum growth after registering as the first online investment-linked financial business. The company plans to actively invest in upgrading credit evaluation models and non-face-to-face financial platforms and recruiting talents, including developers.
  • Self-driving mobility startup 42dot secured a strategic investment of KRW 30 billion from Shinhan Financial Group. They plan to cooperate in developing financial services specializing in self-driving and mobility environments. 42dot is researching and developing level 4 self-driving technology.
  •  Voice AI startup Return Zero raised an investment of KRW 16 billion. They operate an app Vito that converts phone calls into text and displays them like chatting, with over 340,000 downloads by now. Founded by three KAIST colleagues, the company has self-developed STT(Speech to Text) technology and technology to analyze the speaker’s voice. 

#Trend Analysis

Yanolja has raised a significant investment of KRW 2 trillion from SoftBank Vision Fund, led by Japanese Chairman Son Jeong-eui. The trillion-dollar investment that had been rumored for a while turned out to be true. Yanolja raised more than initially expected, which made them Softbank’s second-largest investment target among Korean startups after Coupang.

Korean startups are getting much attention from global investors this year. This trend has gathered pace since Coupang was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Softbank invested in Sendbird, Iyuno Media Group, Riiid during the first half of this year alone. A number of global VCs invested KRW 200 billion in Market Kurly early this month. Entrepreneurs are also excited about the expanded opportunity as an unprecedented amount of foreign capital has flowed into startups. Korean startups have never been as internationally recognized as they are now. Global investment companies continue to make their follow-up investments in Korean unicorn startups such as Yanolja, Viva Republica (Toss), Noom, and Sendbird. They are also funding new startups with growth potential, focusing on finding the next Coupang.

 Looking at the growth of Korean tech startups, the Wall Street Journal also mentioned that these companies are changing the country’s business ecosystem, which was centered on chaebols such as Samsung. What’s behind the change were Korea’s fast Internet infrastructure, a wealth of technical talent, and active support from the government that is rarely seen in other countries. Korea has not received much attention from global companies or VCs due to its small market size. There are fewer cases of large investments than in other Asian countries such as China and India, and its number of unicorns is incomparably small.

However, more than 10 unicorn companies came out in a short period of time, while three of them were newly born during the first half of 2021 alone. The number is expected to increase further in the second half, so the market is anticipated to grow even more. The South Korean government is taking the lead in developing the startup ecosystem and discovering unicorns. It is different from China, which imposes sanctions on businesses. The government is also generously providing financial support through various startup nurturing programs, contributing greatly to the growth of Korean startups.

At the same time as the environment to support the growth of Korean startups has been created, global VCs have recently expanded their investment scope beyond North America and European startups to Asia and Africa. It is expected that more opportunities will be given to Korean startups with technological prowess

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