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[StartupRecipe] South Korean Startups Have Secured US$10.3 Billion in 2021

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Feb. 7~ Feb.11]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 336.5 billion.

SwingMobility30 billionSeries BWhite Star Capital, Hashed
AtommerceMental healthcare2 trillionSeries BInsight Equity Partners, GC Pharma, Hashed, E&Venture Partners, K2 Investment Partners, SAMSUNG Next
RowanDigital therapeutics6 billionSeries ADT&Investment, Nau IB Capital, Industrial bank of Korea, KD Investment
ShifteeHR Solution28 billionM&ABusinesson communication
Acesostem biostrategiesBio/Healthcare-SeedBlissVine Ventures, Seoul Techno Holdings, Tab angel partners, MIRA Ventures
Finovus labBNPL1.1 billionPre-Series AStrong Venture, Hansae Yes24 Partners
SSOLTECHMobility-SeedFutureplay, Shinhan Capital, Gitple
LikelionP2E-Series AMirae Asset Venture Investment, Kakao Ventures
WrightbrothersBike platform4 billionJoonggonara
MoraiMobility25 billionSeries BNaverD2SF, Hyundai Group zeroone, Kakao Ventures, Atinum Investment, Korea Investment Partners, KB Investment, Korea Develpoment Bank
LevitEcommerce11.5 billionSeries A
VarramPettech-Series AMirae Asset Venture Investment, Shinhan Investment
Modulabs7 billionKB Investment, Daekyo Investment
Shoplworks6 billionSeries AIMM Investment, TBT, KDB, IBX Partners
thinggofunshop2 billionPre-Series AStonebridge Ventures, Musina Partners, Bam Ventures, Strong Ventures
NodeMedical device-SeedSopoong Ventures
ThegrowingSalesmanagement tool-SeedCCEI Incheon, Bigbang Angels
WSBFARMMedia/Content-SeedCCEI Incheon
MedienvitechHealthcare-SeedCCEI Incheon
ClobotRobotics9.5 billionSeries BPremier Partners, Shinhan Venture Investment, L&S Venture Capital, Hyundai Group zeroone, Honest Ventures
ModoodocMedical Platform6 billionSeries AStrong Ventures, Spring Camp, Stonebridge Ventures, Devsisters Ventures,
TorderTablet Menu3 billionBig Basin Capital, Korea Investment Partners, Futureplay
iparkingParking Solution100 billionSK E&S, NHN
MooncadamyMusical instrument-Pre-Series AFirstgate,
vdreamHR Solution7.4 billionSeries BBAPartners, Laguna Investment, Findvalue, Lx iNVESTMENT
KibokoEducation-SeedKakao Ventures, Hansae yes24 partners
KristinkoreaFashion1.5 billionKakao Ventures, hansae yes24 partners
infludeoKpop1.2 billionPre-Series ALaguna Investment. Contenttechnology,
LetituEducation1.3 billionSeedHYUNDAI VENTURE INVESTMENT,
CidermicsMedia/Content1 billionPre-Series AHisstory venture investment, Korea Asset Investment & Securities
Lambda256Blockchain88.5 billionSeries B2Hibe, YG Investment, NH Investment & Securities, Nonghyup Bank, SBI Investment Korea
Nei&CompanyMobility-Pre-Series AHyundai Group zeroone, Hyundai motor securities, Korea Venture Investment, JB Ventures, IR Biznet consulting, Zeus
NeurolmedBio/Healthcare-SeedKB Investment
WhoyahoGame500 millionSeedKlim Ventures
5minlabGame23.8 billionM&AKrafton
ClessonNFT2 billioneBEST Investment & Securities, Groom investment
LesikFood-Chungnam national university technology holdings, Mirae Holdings

Major Funding

  • Parking Cloud, a parking control platform, has raised 100 billion won. iParking, which first introduced AI parking control in 2015, operates 550 public parking lots in 22 local governments nationwide, ranking first in market share. The funds will be used to build mobility hubs such as electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Atomerce, the operator of a mental health care service Mind Cafe, has secured 20 billion won in series B. It is Korea’s largest mental health care company with 1 million members. The company plans to expand non-face-to-face treatment for mental illness and advance overseas.
  • Krafton has acquired game company 5minlab, buying 100% of its shares at 23.8 billion won. The team will allocate profits to be generated later according to its operational performance. This acquisition is a strategy to secure skilled developers.
  • Shiftee, a workforce management solution, was acquired by BusinessOn Communication for 28 billion won. It has secured 150,000 customers with open API construction solutions in attendance and manpower management. With this acquisition, BusinessOn can provide all-in-one HR services by combining Shiftee with existing electronic contracts and payroll settlement solutions.

#Trend Analysis

Korean startups have scooped 12 trillion won in 2021.

Startup Recipe issued an annual funding report on the investment trends of Korean startups in 2021. According to the report, the funds poured into Korean startups in 2021 was 12.28 trillion won(10.3billion dollar). Compared to 2020, the investment amount increased by 192%, and the total number of investments recorded 1,272, up 55% from the previous year. In 2021, Korean startups notched up record investment ever, opening a new era of 1 trillion won in monthly investment.

Startup Recipe is the only media specializing in startups in Korea that has been publishing monthly startup funding reports since 2020. This report spans 36 pages and summarizes trends in the Korean startup ecosystem centered on investment in 2021. It covers the general investment trends as well as the amount and number of investments, analyzing and categorizing startups into 13 fields: consumer tech, bio/healthcare, software, fintech, media/content, education, logistics/delivery, manufacturing (material/parts/equipment), blockchain, vehicle/mobility, game, real estate/proptech, environment/energy/sustainability (ESG) and agriculture.

According to the report, consumer tech, bio/healthcare, and software were the most invested areas, while fintech and ESG were the most popular investment areas. In specific categories, luxury, fashion, used (resell) platforms and last-mile delivery platforms emerged rapidly in 2021.

Keyords that symbolize investment trends of 2021 include non-face-to-face, digital transformation, generation MZ and lifestyle, and the fourth industrial revolution. Metaverse and Blockchain (NFT) were newly emerging areas. The most funded company of 2021 was Yanolja (1 trillion won). Kurly (275.4 billion won), Viva Republica (460 billion won), TMON (305 billion won), and Ruiid (200 billion won) followed in the top 5.

Kurly, Karrot, NPIXEL, Zigbang, and Dunamu (based on the headquarters) are five companies that reached unicorn status in 2021. It took an average of seven years for these companies to become unicorns. 

2021 was also the year when global venture capital firms paid attention to Korean startups. Softbank Vision Fund was the venture capital company that invested the largest amount, funding Yanolja and Ruiid., which acquired HyperConnect for $1.7 billion, was the company that invested the most money. The investment attracted by female-led startups accounted for 7.6% of the total investment, lower than last year. However, the number of investments showed better results, making up 9.5% of the total.

According to a survey of companies that raised more than 10 billion won in investment, 72% were located in Seoul, and 63% were especially near Gangnam and Seocho. Gangnam is home to many startups because major venture capital firms and government-led startup valleys are located there.

This investment report 2021 has been produced with the support of the Seoul Startup Hub and D.CAMP(Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs). It can be downloaded for free from the Startup Recipe website. (English version will be released in Feb 16.)

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