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[StartupRecipe] Startup Funding Slowed Down in February

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Mar.14 ~ Mar.18]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 289 billion.

VA CorporationMetaverse100 billionSeries AParatusinvestment
PetnerPettech1.7 billionSeries AJcurveinvestment, Glonet Venture Partners, Digital Healthcare Partners
FandingFan commerce200 millionSeries AKorea Investment Partners, Bridge Investment, Hansae Yes24 Partners
PadoboxFoodtech100 millionPre-Series ABig Basin Capital, Seoul Techno Holdings
NinehireHR Solution-SeedFast Ventures
CluematicBeauty-SeedKorea Venture Investment
Bear RoboticsRobotics100 billionIMM Private Equity, Cleveland Avenue, KT, Smilegate Investment, DSC Investment
KickthehuddleDigital Healthcare8 billionSeries BHanhwa Asset Management, Nau IB Capital
RamperWEB33.7 billionPre seedHashed, Terra, Poligon, Good Water capital, Samsung Next, Golden Ventures, R7 Capital, 500startup, Maple VC
Kiwi StudioKids platform-SeedSopoong Ventures
Blue Recipefood-M&AAID Korea
XbarXFoodtech-SeedHite Jinro
VegestarFood6.5 billionNonghyup Bank, Nau IB Capital, Mega Investment, Enlight Ventures, cjinvest, Hana Financial Investment
Mondrian AIAI Platform4.5 billionT Investment, BNK Securities, Evergreen
DaimresearchLogistics2 billionPre-Series ANaver D2SF, Company K Partners, Stonebridge Ventures, KITE Entrepreneurship Foundation
BeatsomeoneMusic1.5 billionPre-Series AMerkba, Cornerstone Investment
Oscar FuturaFashion-Pre-Series ATime Works Investment, Future Play, Hansae Yes24 Partners
HolostandingProphtech-Lotte Ventures, S Cubic Angels
Pubscale Partnersecommerce-Pre-Series AMMSVentures
Baree CoporationMobility-Pre-Series AStrong Ventures, BDC Labs, Lotte Ventures, HGI
Apollo AirDrone-Alux
MetaspaceMetaverse400 millionNaverZ
NearthabDrone-Company K Partners, SBI Investment Korea, NAU IB Capital, Breeze Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Smilegate Investment, Stic Ventures
Dongsim kidsKids trip-M&AMy Realtrip
Fast forwardFintech8 billionPre-Series AKorea Investment Partners, Hana Ventures, Stonebridge Ventures, Spring Camp
Pickleplusmedia900 millionStrong Ventures, Primer, Block Crafters, Korea Credit Guarantee Fund
HulamproHR Solution-Pre-Series ATimefolio Asset Management, iSquare Ventures, Wisdomasset
EmployeelabsHR-Square Ventures
TurnbagSecondhand Platform-SeedNewflight
Mufflemetaverse1.7 billionNaverZ

Major Funding

  • Metaverse platform VA Corporation has raised 100 billion won and turned into a unicorn. It has established a full value chain for metaverse content production, including the largest LED wall-based virtual studio in Asia, virtual production technology using visual special effects (VFX), and original content IP library.
  • Bear Robotics, an autonomous mobile robot startup, has secured 100 billion won, the largest investment in the service robot industry. Since 2020, it has mass-produced serving robots, which have been used by restaurant brands both at home and abroad, such as Paris Croissant and VIPS. It plans to diversify its product line and expand the robots supply in the global market.
  • Digital healthcare commerce Kick the Hurdle has received 8 billion won investment, with its corporate value of 120 billion won. It has achieved annual sales of 10 billion won through online consultation with pharmacists and selling Phytotics, a health supplement designed by pharmacists. It aims to become a total digital healthcare company, including non-face-to-face treatment, wellness, and digital treatment.
  • Fast Forward, the operator of investment management app Domino, has raised 8 billion won investment. Its app lets you manage all of your investment assets, from stocks to coins. The company will enter the MyData market with the funds. 

#Trend Analysis

Startup Funding Slowed Down in February

Investments continued last year’s upward trend in January, but began to fall in February. There were 122 investments and the total amount invested was 1.16 trillion won. Five companies succeeded in raising 100 billion won worth of investment, the largest number ever. The investment of the month managed to exceed 1 trillion won, but the number of investments decreased by more than 40 cases compared to January.

Although the amount of investment decreased in February, it has more than doubled since February 2021, indicating that the investment market is still on the rise.

SemiFive, a semiconductor design house, and Megazone Cloud, a cloud platform, both raised the largest amount of funds, securing 130 billion won. When analyzing by sector, the software sector received the most funds, while bio/healthcare and consumer tech, which have always been at the top, gave way to media/content and mobility. Both fields ranked high thanks to the companies that raised more than 100 billion won. The number of investments in blockchain startups has steadily increased, its figure showing an upward trend.

It is notable that companies less than a year old are attracting large-scale follow-up investments. Early-stage businesses continue to pique the curiosity of investors. The funds raised by the top 10 companies accounted for 63% of the total amount. There were 28 companies that raised 10 billion won or more, accounting for 87% of the total, which was basically unchanged from January. However, an investment beyond Series B decreased significantly, with no investment case worth between 50 and 100 billion won.

When broken down by stage, seed investment accounted for more than 32% of the total, indicating that early-stage startup investment is increasing. The most active investors were also venture capital companies and accelerators focused on early startup investment.

In February, two companies officially got unicorn status: content platform Ridi and cloud platform Megazone Cloud. They were valued at more than 1 trillion won along with attracting investment, and they became the first unicorn in their industry. In the acquisition market, you can find many cases where startups took over large corporations or SMEs and used them as a stepping stone to innovative growth and vice versa. BusinessOn acquired HR solution Shiftee to expand its business into the HR area. Laundrygo, a mobile laundry service, acquired Cleannuri and entered the B2B market.

Nine female-owned companies have attracted 29.4 billion won in investment in February. Ad-Ops platform Adriel has secured the largest funds, raising 15 billion won.

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