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[StartupRecipe] Q1 2022: A Downturn in Startup Investment

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Mar. 28 ~ April. 1]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 138.7 billion.

Yeolmae companyFintech17 billionSeries BSoftbank Ventures, Bass Investment, KDB Capital, Hanhwa securities, Uon Investment, DS Asset Management, Lotte rental, KT Investment
Autotelic BioBio/Healthcare15.5 billionSeries BStonebridge Ventures, UTC Invesment, Sejong Venture Partners, DTN Investment, Colopl Next, Woori Bank, Magna Investment, Dreamstone private Equity, LSK Investment, Solidus Investment
MedirBio/Healthcare-SeedKakao Ventures, Dunamu & Partners
YOU NEED CHARACTERContent-Capital one
VigtigerCommerce-SeedKorea Investment Partners
SmoothyVideo Chat-M&AJobis & Villains
IMUPOS-M&AKorea Credit Data
SelecxineBio/Healthcare33 billionSeries BStonebridge Ventures, Stic Ventures, Medytox Venture Investment, (Hanwha Investment & Securitie, SJ Investment Partners, Medici Investment, UTC Invesment, KCLAVIS, Hyundai Technology Investment, Hi Investment Partners
Bithumb metaBlockchain9 billionLG CNS, CJ Olive networks, Dreamus company
Akros TechnologiesFintech4.5 billionM&APeople Fund
TheatrumOnline Concert1.6 billionSeries AContenttechnologies, Midasdong-a Investment, Spring Camp, Dodam
VanplCamping Car rental-Pre-Series AKovea
VA GamesGame-SeedKakao Ventures, Cona Venture partners, Infinitum Partners
NestreeBlockchain-Cube Entertainment
Momo ProjectPettech-SeedGood Water Capital, Smilegate Investment
VUSMobility-SeedNewflight, Markncompany, Yoonmin foundation
KoylabsLearn Korean-MBC, SMCulture Partners
StradVisionMobility17.9 billionSeries CZF
microbiotixBio/Healthcare5.5 billionPre-Series B BridgeDSC Investment, Schmidt, Shinhan Capital, Scaleup Partners,
VideoMonsterVideo3 billionSeries AInnopolis Partners, Smartstudy Ventures, ETRI Holdings, Union Partners
HexlantBlockchain-Mirae Asset Capital, Kakao Investment, Aventures
HansunEco friendly Packaging-M&AWekeep
TheminamEco friendly Packaging-M&AWekeep
AsleepSleeptech16 billionSeries BKakao Ventures, Intervest, Samsung Venture investment
Mars AutoMobility15 billionSeries AGFT Ventures, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Central
TriznetworksIntelligence networks-GRANTTIPS
The Jaram CompanyEducation-SeedInfoBank, Markncompany, Nextrans, Mirae Holdings
Coveringwaste treatment-SeedSpring Camp

Major Funding

  • StradVision has raised KRW 17.9 billion in investment from German car parts maker ZF. StradVision has developed AI-based camera recognition software for autonomous driving. StradVision and ZF will partner to develop autonomous driving recognition technology. 
  • Yeolmae Company has secured an investment of KRW 17 billion. It operates ArtNGuide, an online art purchase platform that divides the ownership of works by artists such as Whanki Kim, Ufan Lee, David Hockney, and Picasso and sells them at a small price. It has raised a total of KRW 27 billion so far. It plans to purchase KRW 100 billion worth of artwork and go public this year.
  • Sleeptech startup Asleep has raised KRW 16 billion won investment. It has developed a contactless sleep test by combining breathing sound and wireless Internet technology. It secures sleep data without the necessity of a separate device by using AI technology to analyze the user’s smartphone voice. The company will release a smartphone app to analyze sleep.
  • Self-driving truck Mars Auto has secured an investment of KRW 15 billion. It has developed AI-based self-driving software for cargo trucks. The company is making a self-driving truck that learns and develops on its own using a camera-based machine learning model.

#Trend Analysis

Q1 2022: a downturn in startup investment

The amount of money invested in March was the lowest in the first quarter of the year. Investment performance has been on a downward trend since January. In March, it recorded KRW 1.18 trillion, down from the previous month. Despite a minor increase in the number of investments from February to 128, the total investment fell as the share of initial investments increased. 

Socar secured the largest amount of funds in March. It has raised KRW 183.2 billion in strategic investment from Lotte Rental and is speeding up its IPO. Four companies succeeded in attracting more than KRW 100 billion, with e-commerce aggregator Click Brands raising KRW 120 billion and metaverse platform VA Corporation and serving robot maker Bear Robotics raising KRW 100 billion, respectively.

Sector-wise, vehicle/mobility received the most funding thanks to Socar, which attracted large-scale investment, followed by consumer tech. Fintech is also on the rise. Investors’ interest is growing as fintech startups in subdivided fields emerge, such as overseas remittance, fractional investment, and BNPL. Content and blockchain are under the limelight due to the popularity of metaverse and NFT.

A characteristic feature of this year is that there has been almost no investment in the Series C or higher stage. In March, there was no investment between KRW 40 billion and KRW 100 billion. The number of companies attracting more than KRW 10 billion in investment decreases every month. 

By stage, seed and pre-series A investments accounted for 47%, with investments in early-stage startups representing nearly half of the total investment.

Not only do startups invest in other startups, but they also make frequent mergers and acquisitions. MyRealTrip simultaneously made acquisitions and investments in startups both in and out of the field in consideration of business expansion.

March was also the month with the most mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter. While Birdview was acquired by Olive Young, startups such as Buzzvil, Korea Credit Data, Beyond Music, Jobis & Villains, and Wekeep also acquired startups in the same field to expand their business areas and improve their competitiveness.

In March, 17 female-led companies raised KRW 23.6 billion in total, more than doubling the amount raised in February. Including RocketView, an AI company acquired by Olive Young, 18 female companies showed great performances. Music Cow, a music copyright platform that decided to establish a local subsidiary in the United States, secured the most funds with KRW 6 billion. By sector, pet-related startups attracted the most interest from investors. 

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