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[StartupRecipe] Despite Slowdown, These Investors Remain Active in South Korea

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Sep. 11~ Sep. 15]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 108.4 billion.

WITIStartup community-GrantTIPS
FlowmediBio400 millionSeedPostech holdings
PanmnesiaFabless16 billionSeedDaekyo Investment, GNTECH Venture Capital, SL Investment, Smilegate Investment, Timeworks Investment, Quantum Ventures Korea, Yuanta Investment
BanfSmart tire solution2 billionSeries AHana Securities, IBK
60hzEnergy IT-Shinsungeng
AG SoftGame studio-SeedFuture Play
SpaceaddOffice Media7.3 billionSeries CHana Financial Investment, Altos Ventures, Ark Impact
RGBAPet commerce-SeedGyeonggi CCEI
DverDigital mailroom3 billionSeries A bridgeWoori Financial Capital, Comes Investment, SJ Investment Partners
UniqconnSystem Semiconductor4.5 billionPre-Series AL&S Venture Capital, KODIT, D-camp, Tigris Investment, Korea Investment Accelerator, Blue Point Partners, BDC Accelerator
CafenonoWeb builder6 billionSeed BridgeBass Investment, Primer Sazze Partners, KT Investment
DifonSmart window film12.4 billionSeries ASchmidt-DSC Mobility fund, KODIT, IBK, Infobank, Kingo Investment Partners, TBT Partners, Daedeok Venture Partners, Dondwoo finechem, KOSMES
RoboareteRobot foodtech2 billionHanwha Investment & Securities
Corenergy solutionSecondary battery material-SeedFuture Play
SnackforSnack service-Pre-Series BSamsung wellstory, Home&Shopping
MathpressoEducation10 billionKT
UpstageGen AI10 billionKT
IgnisFoodtech34.8 billionSeries BMirae Asset Capital, Bilanx Investment, Magna Investment, Sema Investment, Kolon Investment, Hanwha Securities, NICE Investment Partners, Innopolis Partners

Major Funding

  • Egnis attracts KRW 34.8 billion in investment. The company specializes in functional protein convenience foods. They aim to go public in 2025 after surpassing KRW 10 billion in cumulative revenue since their establishment. With this recent investment, they plan to focus on global expansion.
  • Difon secures KRW 12.4 billion in investment. Previously a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor, Difon is an eco-friendly energy solutions company. They have developed a smart window film that allows users to adjust the amount of sunlight passing through. This technology can be applied to both vehicles and buildings. With their existing technology, they aim to capture the global market.
  • Panmnesia secures KRW 16 billion in seed investment. This company specializes in CXL interface IP, which connects various system devices such as memory expansion devices, accelerators, processors, and switches. With this investment, they plan to enhance their CXL semiconductor technology and develop additional solutions like CXL solutions for accelerating AI applications and processing large-scale data in parallel.
  • AI startup Upstage secures a strategic investment of KRW 10 billion from KT. Holding the top position in the Open Large Language Model Leaderboard, Upstage collaborates with KT to develop B2B large language model (Private LLM) solutions and domain-specific large language models.
  • Mathpresso secures a strategic investment of KRW 10 billion from KT. They operate the AI-based learning platform ‘Qanda.’ With this investment, they plan to collaborate with KT to develop education-focused large language models.

#Trend Analysis

Despite Slowdown, These Investors Remain Active in South Korea

The investment market in South Korea is experiencing a notable slowdown, with major investors now averaging fewer than five investments per month, according to Startuprecipe’s monthly report on the most active investors. This represents a decline of over 50% from the levels seen in 2021, a year characterized by higher investment activity.

The slowdown is being driven by a combination of factors, including the global economic downturn, rising inflation, and increasing interest rates. As a result, investors are becoming more cautious and selective in their investments.

Early-stage investors, in particular, are taking a more cautious approach. While they were initially active at the start of the year, their investment activity has declined noticeably in the latter half.

However, there are a few exceptions. The Korea Investment Accelerator and D-Camp are two early-stage investors that have been active this year. The Korea Investment Accelerator, established last year with support from Korea Investment Bank, is primarily focused on early-stage investments through its proprietary program. Similarly, D-Camp, chosen as a TIPS operator this year, is anticipated to make follow-on investments via TIPS.

Other early-stage investors that have demonstrated substantial monthly investment activity include CNTTech, Bluepoint Partners, and Bon Angels Venture Partners. However, most other major early-stage investors are currently making fewer than one to three investments per month.

In the Series A and beyond stages, banking venture capital firms like KB Investment, as well as banks including IBK Korea Development Bank, have been particularly active. In the global investor landscape, Altos Ventures stands out for its higher monthly investment volume in domestic companies, primarily through follow-on investments.

While there may be some fluctuations in the aggregate number of investments when viewed holistically rather than on a monthly basis, it is evident that the overall number of investments per investor has declined compared to previous periods. This suggests that investors are being more selective in their investments, and companies that are seeking funding would be wise to pursue investment strategies that consider the perspectives and positions of investors.

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