Scroll to top
© 2020, Startuprecipe theme by Rssow

[StartupRecipe] The 15 most funded female-led startups in Korea

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Nov. 22~ Nov. 26]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 163.5 billion.

RsquareProphtech85 billionStic Investment
VESSL AIMachinelearning operation5 billionPre-Series AKB Investment, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, A Ventures, Springcamp, D Ventures Private Investment Fund
Triple labsJewelry-SeedBass Investment
OkhomeHomecare3.3 billionSeries APosco Capital, A Ventures, ES Investor, Honest Ventures, Enlight Ventures
LiviconPDLCD15 billionKorea Develpoment Bank, Vision Asset Management, Vision Ventures
TunibNLP AI3 billionSeedPearl Abyss Capital, Naver D2SF, DSC Investment
MR.MINDAI Care robot-EPI LAB, Coms
O2Medihealthcare-SeedSeries Ventures
Habit FactoryInsuretech2.5 billionSeries BInsight equity partners,
Share&ServiceDigital therapeutics-SeedBusan Technology Holdings, MYSC
Winkstone partnersP2P2 billionSeries AShinhan Investment
ODGContent Production-M&AAdapt
SolfaContent Production-M&Aadapt
NetspaSocial venture3 billionSeries AMAGNA Investment, IMPACT SQUARE, TBT
noutecompanyDigital Contents500 millionGRANTTIPS
bettermondaycoffee franchise-SeedSpark lab, CJ
ElroilabAI-SeedKorea Science & Technology holdings, Sparklabs, Joshua partners
ItgreenZero Waste Solution-SeedSparklabs, CJ
OnuiiEducation14 billionSeries AStrong Ventures, KB Investment, Stic Ventures, Aju IB Investment, Hana Ventures
NeutuneMusic searching platform-SeedKakao Ventures, Shinhan Capital,
Korea Credit DataData40 billion"GS Group, Kookmin Bank, Kakao Ventures, Kclavis Investment, RYUKYUNG PSG KB Securities"
OGQCreator Market67 billionSeries BDS Asset Management, Africa TV, Daishin Securities, Partners Investment
LittlesongmusicMusic content2 billionSeries AMichigan Venture Capital, SB Partners, Eugene Investment
TartFintech-SeedCNT Tech
KmbioHealthcare-SeedNew Paradigm Investment
NDotLight3D content-GRANTTIPS

Major Funding

  • Medical AI company Lunit raised 72 billion won in the pre-IPO round from domestic and foreign VCs. The funds will be used for R&D and global expansion of AI products. The company will apply for the KOSDAQ preliminary review this month.
  • Humanscape, a blockchain medical data provider, secured a 15 billion won investment from Kakao. It operates a platform for personalized information on rare and incurable diseases, giving coin compensation to the patients who provide their medical data. It plans to discover healthcare services targeting the global market in cooperation with Kakao.
  • High-tech materials startup TFJ Global attracted an investment of 12.5 billion won. This investment will help the company build a factory only for flame-retardant textiles and focus on global expansion.

#Trend Analysis

With the recent increase in female-led startups that succeed in attracting large-scale investment, it has been easier to find female representatives in the market. A case in point is Kurly, an operator of Market Kurly. Having become a unicorn worth more than 1 trillion won this year, Kurly is set to go public next year. If it succeeds in the listing, it is expected to become the most successful female-founded startup in Korea. Style Share, which was acquired by Musinsa for 300 billion won this year, is also considered a successful exit case of a woman-led startup.

According to the Startup Recipe data in 2020, the investment attracted by female-led startups accounted for about 6% of the total investment. The gender of the entrepreneur is hardly a deciding factor in the fundraising and success of the startup. However, if you look at the ratio, the number of women entrepreneurs who succeeded in securing funds is still small. The proportion of women is also low in the VCs which execute investment. Fortunately, the female ratio is expected to increase slightly this year thanks to the investment ecosystem that has more than doubled compared to last year.

Looking at the number and amount of investment in female-founded companies from January to October this year, you can see that volatility is high every month. There was a large amount of investment concentrated in some months, while there was only a little in other months. The reason is that when some startups have secured large-scale funds, it has a huge impact on the total women-led investment.  If you look at the most funded companies from January to October, you can see that a few specific startups drove the overall investment to rise.

However, the overall trend shows that the amount of funding raised by women is on the rise. The positive thing is that the number of female founders is increasing, and the fields where female-led startups belong are gradually diversifying. In the past, many were focused on the areas where women could have strengths, such as beauty, fashion, and children. However, now women entrepreneurs can be found in almost all fields, and technology-based startups with women leaders have increased significantly.

In recent years, there have been female series entrepreneurs as well who sold their first company and founded their second company. Examples include children’s fintech platform Lemon Tree and creator platform Bigc. They are achieving good results, securing large investments at the seed stage before the product is released.

The industry responded positively to the gradual increase in the percentage of female entrepreneurs but found it still low. It doesn’t mean that the gender ratio should be 50-50, but there is indeed an uneven playing field with male dominance. Many say in unison that the government, support organizations, and startup members should focus on creating business startup opportunities regardless of gender. VCs are also increasing female participation in investment screening by increasing the proportion of female judges. We look forward to seeing more female founders next year with these joint efforts.

Company NameFieldInvestment Amount (Unit 100 million won.)
8%P2P Finance453
ZikooinCultured Meat380
UpstageAI Technology316
Class101Online Class300
LifelabCleaning Service Platform220
WashswatLaundry Service Platform175
Music CowCopyright Sharing Platform170
PublyCareer Content135
Onul-siktakFresh Delivery120
FindaPaperless Loan Platform115
TripleTravel Platform100
S-Alpha TherapeuticsDigital Therapeutics100

sign up for Startup Recipe newsletter


Access to the latest Korean startup news and startup database for free

sign up for Startup Recipe newsletter