Scroll to top
© 2020, Startuprecipe theme by Rssow

[StartupRecipe] The Secret of Well-Funded K-Webtoon and Web Novel Startups

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Oct. 17 ~ Oct. 21 ]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 85.6 billion.

PluglinkElectronic car charging3.5 billionSeries ASamsung secruties, LS electronics
GopizzaPizza25 billionSeries CMirae Asset Securities, GS Ventures, CJ Investment, Capstone Partners, DS Asset Management, Big Basin Capital, DS Asset Management, Ncore ventures
FidesadvisoryCredit analysis-GRANTTIPS
Infoplusfintech6 billionSeries AThe Square Private Equity, KB Investment, ID Ventures
BiocomHealthcare-BlissVine Ventures
NeederGeekworker matching-Wanted lab
FridayslabBusiness tool1.6 billionPre-Series APrimer Sazze Partners, Balon Capital
GenkoreGene editing15 billionSeries AStick Ventures, Aju IB Investment, Kiwoom Investment, SJ Partners, Clairvoyant Ventures
MAC Holdings:Marketing Incubator-M&ADirectors Company
KoreaspacedataSpace Management4 billionSeries ACJ Investment, SK D&D
ArcrealDigital Healthcare6.1 billionSeedDSC Investment, Intervest, SDB Investment, Schmidt, Quantum Venture Korea
DealertireTire sales1.5 billionSeries AHL Holdings, Strong Ventures
Reset CompanyEnergy1.3 billionPre-Series ASeries Ventures, Gyeongnam CEI, Lighthouse Combine Investment, Hana Financial Group, Korea Social Investment
Lighters CompanyKPOP Content-Hexagon Investment Consulting
SOY MEDIAWebtoon-Series AF&F Partners
Vault Creation10 billionFeynman Asset Management
AnipenMetaverse17 billionSeries BKorea Development Bank, Daishin Securities, ATU Partners, Neo Value, Ermus Investment, Medici Investment

Major Funding

  • GOPIZZA, a company that offers single-serve pizza, has received KRW 25 billion in Series C funding. It has raised a total of KRW 45 billion and was valued at KRW 150 billion. It has entered India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia and opened 160 stores in 5 countries.
  • Metaverse platform Anipen has completed its series B investment of KRW 17 billion. It has secured a cumulative investment of KRW 30 billion and is preparing for an IPO.
  • Vietnamese financial API InfoPlus has received KRW 6 billion in the Series A funding round. It develops and offers financial solutions in Vietnam.

#Trend Analysis

The Secret of Well-Funded K-Webtoon and Web Novel Startups

The popularity of K-content has not cooled down despite the deteriorating investment environment. In particular, funds are constantly flowing into the webtoon and web novel startups. Because they can spread globally and be adapted into a film or a drama using original IP, webtoons and web novels are highly recognized for their growth potential.

Last year, Kakao acquired webtoon and web novel platforms Tapas Media and Radish Media, and Naver acquired Wattpad, the world’s largest web novel platform. The unicorn-turned-Ridi has transformed into a webtoon and web novel platform. OTT provider Watcha announced its entry into the webtoon industry. Even the delivery service unicorn Woowa Brothers produces webtoon content. As it is said to be the next-generation industry that will lead the Hallyu wave, the market outlook is very bright.

Major startups like Radish, Topco, Copin, and Contents Lab Blue received hundreds to tens of billions of won in investments last year. But this year, the majority are seed to series A round investments costing less than 10 billion won.

The startups that attracted investment have in common that they are targeting the global market by securing original IP. The operator of Novelpia, Metacraft, closed its series A and B investment rounds this year alone and received KRW 12.5 billion, which was the largest amount of money raised. With 900,000 users, 25,000 web books, and 15,000 writers after just one year of operation, the company is expanding quickly. It will use the funds to discover new writers and carry out various IP projects through OSMU(One Source Multi Use) business utilizing the web novel IPs. Nuon Media, a webtoon and web novel content provider, raised KRW 4 billion and secured the funds to enter overseas markets. Nuon is releasing novel comics centered on romance fantasy on platforms at home and abroad. It plans to expand its scope to original webtoons in the future, actively promote the multi-use of IP sources, and break into foreign markets.

Investors also paid attention to webtoon producers for particular genres and audiences. With webtoons geared for female viewers, U-Jewel Media has garnered KRW 3.6 billion from NHN. Its webtoons are published on Naver, Kakao Page, and Lezhin. With this investment, it hopes to advance as a global female-oriented platform. Nautilus, a company that offers informational and educational webtoon services, received KRW 3.4 billion. Through its services, students can learn academic studies such as history, science, and humanities through webtoons. In addition, DLP Studio, a web novel subscription service for readers between the ages of 40 and 60, received seed funding.

Investors also favored startups that offer services to creators or introduce platforms with novel approaches to webtoon production. Webtoon Today, which raised KRW 2.1 billion, provides webtoon statistics to individual creators. It is a data analysis service that can assess the commercial performance of work at a very early stage of production, aiding creators in determining the direction in which to develop their work. Universe Stationery creates a platform for collaborative worldbuilding. Once readers have developed a worldview, they can interact with one another, publish web novels on the platform, and work together to publish those novels. Conpapa develops products that  incorporate the creative process that maximizes the efficiency of webtoon creation. It helps reduce repetitive tasks by streamlining the creative phase and broadening the possibilities for material reuse.

sign up for Startup Recipe newsletter


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

sign up for Startup Recipe newsletter