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[StartupRecipe] What K-Startups Have Received Funding from Global Investors?

#Weekly Funding Overview

[July. 31~ Aug. 4]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 53.9 billion.

YeonpleMarketing Education-M&AMobidays
GreengoodsAgriculture600 millionSeedAsian Development Bank
KangstersAble tech1 billionSeedKOSMES, GVA Asset Management
CoolbearsEco friendly textile-GrantTIPS
RebuilderAI3D AI Soultion-Seed BridgeInnox
CodeblossomCare center-GrantTIPS
Puzzle MonstersBlockchain Game-SeedCrit Ventures
QuesterXR Content-SeedKudos Venture
WinerouteLiquor smart order1.5 billionPre-Series ABass Investment, Bon Angels Venture Partners
SimplycarebioBio1.5 billionPre-Series ASeries Ventures
VPPLABRenewable energy-Pre-Series AMYSC

Major Funding

  • Rappo Labs, a startup that operates the women’s fashion platform Queenit, has raised KRW 34 B illion in funding. Queenit has over 1,300 brands and has been downloaded over 5.4 million times. The company has been profitable since March 2023. With this investment, Rappo Labs plans to expand its business aggressively, promote its partner brands, and hire top talent.
  • Sanhwa, a company that develops and provides hybrid content solutions, has raised KRW 15 billion in funding. The investment is a result of Sanhwa’s enhanced product development capabilities, which combine media and robotics. The company plans to focus on the commercialization of its AI/robotics shooting/editing studio Deep Eye, which automates content production.

#Trend Analysis

What K-Startups Have Received Funding from Global Investors?

The South Korean government announced plans to expand its global funds to a cumulative size of KWR 8 trillion (about $6.5 billion) in an effort to attract private capital into the stagnant domestic investment market this year. The government also recently selected seven venture capital firms, including SOSV and DCM, to manage the global fund.

The growing interest of global investment firms in Korean startups has been evident since 2021. While global investments were initially focused on unicorn startups and potential unicorns, they have gradually expanded to include early-stage investments. However, this year has witnessed a decline in new global investors entering the market due to the deteriorating investment environment.

One prominent investor actively involved in Korean startup investment is Altos Ventures. Known for its investments in Series A and beyond, Altos Ventures has demonstrated an active commitment to subsequent investments even in challenging times like this year. Additionally, Goodwater Capital has recently expanded its investment activities, including early-stage investments. Other notable investors such as Primer Sazze and Strong Ventures are also significant players in early-stage startup investments. The majority of these investors are based in the United States. However, Z Ventures, a joint venture between Naver and Yahoo, is a Japanese venture capital firm that is increasing its domestic investment activities in Korea.

The areas of interest for global investors are not limited to specific fields. While a diverse range of sectors, from AI to Web3, has garnered attention, substantial investments have primarily gravitated towards consumer tech platforms. Particularly, the focus has been on established B2C platforms that have already captured market share. For instance, Musinsa received a KRW 200 billion investment from Coller Capital and Wellington Management, while Kurly secured KRW120 billion from Anchor Equity Partners and Aspex Capital. Another rapidly growing e-commerce platform, Levit, attracted interest from global investors like DST Global Partners and Bond Capital. In the emerging field of generative AI, Wrttn Technologies secured funding from Z Venture Capital. Among Web3 startups, Story Protocol gained recognition by being selected by renowned crypto investment firm a16z.

The government’s establishment of global funds and the increasing interest from global investment firms are expected to contribute to the activation of the domestic startup ecosystem. However, it’s worth noting that the majority of proactive global investors participating in domestic investments are Koreans, highlighting the need for more diversity and international collaboration within the investor landscape.

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