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#Weekly Funding Overview[Nov. 9~ Nov. 13]
This week eighteen companies finalized investments deals. Nine of which disclosed the investment amounts totaling KRW 63.4 billion.
|Infoseed||SOftware||-||Pre-Series A||korea credit guarantee fund, AWESOME VENTURES|
|Pinotbio||BIo/Healthcare||20 billion||IMM Investment, STIC VENTURES, Aion Asset Management, Ulmus Investment, Quantum Ventures Korea, KB Securities|
|linewalks||BIo/Healthcare||5 billion||Series A||Insight Equity Partners, Partners Investment, KITE Entrepreneurship Foundation|
|Flex||SOftware||10 billion||Series A||Hanwha Investment & Securities, IMM Investment, Devsisters Ventures, Klimventures|
|Wave Corporation||Consumer||-||Series B||Company K Partners, Korea Investment Partners, Kakao Ventures, SparkLabs Ventures|
|RoumIT||Consumer||3.6 billion||Series A||DS Asset Management, Daegyeong Investment|
|Medihere||BIo/Healthcare||3 billion||Series A||Korea Investment Partners, Intervest, Partners Investment|
|CheckmateTherapeutics||BIo/Healthcare||7.3 billion||Series A||QUAD Investment Management, KB Investment, Partners Investment|
|E GREEN GLOBAL||Agriculture||10 billion||YD-SK-KDB|
|PSX||Financial Service||2 billion||Hashed|
|Lululab||Software||-||Series B||Netmarble Corporation, L&C BIO, Global Leader Providing Scientific & Innovative Solution, CTK Investment|
Several investments were key strategic investments.
- Luxury product E-commerce startup Balaan attracted investments from Naver and Naver plans to strengthen their luxury product shopping category through this investment. (Undisclosed deal)
- Education MCN Company Youniv attracted strategic investment of KRW 2.5 billion from Megastudy. They also announced a plan to enter new sectors besides college entrance exams, including job-seeking and investment techniques.
- AI skin diagnostic solution startup Lululab has also attracted strategic investments from Netmarble and others, expecting synergy with Netmarble’s own AI technology.
- HiteJinro will provide seafood E-commerce platform Foodison with seed investment and will support the company from establishment to growth.
Four bio and healthcare startups also reported about their investments.
- Drug developer Pinotbio raised Pre-IPO investment totaling KRW 20 billion.
- Drug developer Checkmate Therapeutics attracted KRW 7.3 billion.
- Remote medical provider Medihere raised KRW 5billion.
- Healthcare big data company Line Works also secured KRW 5 billion of series A investments.
- HR management startup Flex attracted KRW 10 billion. Roumit, operator of Semojangbu, which is an accounting platform for small and medium-sized businesses, attracted KRW 3.6billion.
The following companies also finalized investments: Wave Corporation, (video chatting platform for the MZ generation), eGreen Global (agricultural biotech technology company), and PSX(unlisted stock trading platform).
The following companies acquired seed to pre-series A investments: Infoseed (precise location information provider), The Heart Company (community for millennial parents), Byandus (medical information platform), and Minimap (game evaluation app).
- Webtoon platform Lezhin Comic is discussing the terms of the acquisition with Kidari Studio.
- Yanolja invested in the domestic waiting service Nowbusking. as a condition of the acquisition.
More Than 300 Domestic Accelerators, What Does it Mean?
This week, more than 300 accelerators were officially registered with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. Accelerators are organizations that support the selection, growth, and investment for startups. Just five years ago, the meaning of the concept was unclear.
An act on accelerators was passed in the National Assembly in 2016 and an accelerator registration system was launched in early 2017. After that, in 2018, the number of accelerators exceeded 100, and in 2020, the number increased to 300, creating a tangible outcome for the law and system.
According to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, accelerators in South Korea invested KRW 225.3 billion (KRW 130 million per company) in 1,703 companies over 4 years. 1,655 of the companies that attracted investments from accelerators have created more than 7,013 new jobs. Excluding those that have returned their accelerator qualifications, 290 accelerators are currently active.
What is the Reality of Accelerators?
Even though more than 300 accelerators are active in South Korea, many are not performing well in terms of awareness or results. The reason is that there is no clear revenue model. Many accelerators operate with support of government operation funds. Moreover, only a handful of famous accelerators make profits through collection and exit. The reason is that the number of accelerators is on the rise during a time when startups are growing and being successful, making it difficult for them to survive.
Moreover, only a handful of accelerators are equipped for additional investment and support. Many are also only capable of providing initial funding and not adding additional value.
Even though there are many limits compared to overseas, including lack of human resources and successful entrepreneurs this should, of course, be improved. One positive aspect is that an environment that fosters startups has been established in a short period of time.
Corporate accelerators and existing corporations have started registering themselves as accelerators, creating more opportunities for strategic investment and M&As from large companies.
The most positive outcome of the emergence of many accelerators is the expectation that they will foster a mature investment environment through competition among accelerators. Moreover, established startups will likely have more investment opportunities.
- Seoul city government will launch a KRW 325 billion won scale-up fund to support growing startups and will begin investments from next month. This is the first fund to help growing startups. Level-B startups that have been in business for 3 to 7 years will be qualified. Seoul will intensively invest in startups that have increased sales by or the number of employees by 20% annually and is expected to invest around KRW 3 billion per company.