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[StartupRecipe] Despite Downturn, Key Funding Sectors Remain Stable in South Korea

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Sep. 18 ~ Sep. 22]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 85.8 billion.

Gravity labsHealthcare1.7 billion100&100 Ventures, Bass Investment, Delightroom, Tail
Habitus AssociatesArt platform4 billionSeedSoftbank Ventures, Angel investors
GLINSAgri tech300 millionSeed
276holdingsFintech-Pre-Series AInfobank, Sopoong Ventures
Piecepeace studioFashion50 billionSeries AE& Investment, SL Investment, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, We Ventures, IMM Investment, Korea Investment Partners. KB Investment
Binary BridgeLast mile delivery-GrantPost TIPS
SIMACRODigital twin solution-GrantTIPS
Danstruct EntertainmentDance content studio-SeedSparklab, KOC Partners
MovementsSmart construct2.5 billionSeries ADaedeok Venture Partners, BNK Venture Investment
Polestar gamesGame3 billionSeedKakao Ventures, Laguna Investment, Daesung Private Equity
Bell therapeuticsDigital therapeutics-SeedFutureplay, HGI, KOSME
DrivingteacherDriving academy-GrantTIPS
CCFNBFood-The Invention Lab, DS Networks
The WattElectronic car charging-SeedThe Invention Lab, DS Networks
SeshatEbook Platform-Strong Ventures
DosigotganFood3.1 billionSeries ACJ Investment, JB Investment, Lotte Ventures, MYSC, SparkLab
FeaturingInfluencer marketing5.7 billionSeries AMagna Investment, Albatross Investment, Capstone Partners, Stick Ventures, Laguna Investment, Pathfinder H
SaigeresearchInspection system15.5 billionSeries BLegend Capital, SV Investment, TKG Ventures, Wonik Investment Partners
aimsInsuretech-Pre-seriesASeoul techno holding
DEOGAMEnergy efficiency solution-GrantTIPS
AudaiGen AI-NaverD2SF
SkylabsHealthcare20.7 billionSeries CKDB Development Bank, K2 Investment Partners, DevSisters Ventures, SJG Partners, Open Water Investment
MylinkManufacturing solution-SeedRowe Partners
Adler3D Engine-SeedCNTTECH
JNPMEDIMedical data-GrantScaleup TIPS

Major Funding

  • Fashion brand Piecepeacestudio, which operates the brands Mardi and Mercredi, has attracted a KRW 50 billion investment, achieving a company valuation of KRW 1.664 billion. The 2022 revenue of KRW 40 billion is expected to easily surpass this year’s target of KRW 80 billion through the investment, strengthening global business, and expanding offline and new brands, with plans for an IPO within three years.
  • Healthcare company Skylabs has secured a KRW 20.7 billion investment. They have developed a ring-shaped continuous blood pressure monitoring device called CartBP, capable of 24-hour continuous blood pressure measurement and monitoring. It enables medication dosage adjustment based on blood pressure data and tracks improvements in lifestyle habits. Starting from October, it will be distributed to hospitals nationwide and available for sale to the general public. They plan to expand overseas following FDA approval next year.
  • AI solution provider Saigeresearch for smart factories has attracted a KRW 15.5 billion investment. They offer specialized deep learning-based technology for visual quality inspection in manufacturing, automatically detecting defects that are difficult to confirm with the naked eye. The manufacturing process is monitored in real-time, allowing for immediate action in the event of errors. The investment will be used to further enhance their products.

#Trend Analysis

Despite Downturn, Key Investment Sectors Remain Stable in South Korea

In a year marked by a downturn in the investment landscape, the latter half has ushered in a glimmer of hope. Growth-stage ventures are on the rise, with a surge in companies securing over KRW 10 billion compared to the first half. As Q3 draws to a close, attention turns to the sectors commanding the bulk of funding.

Analyzing the investment data from Startuprecipe, we find that while the overall investment volume has dipped, the pecking order of high-value sectors remains largely unchanged.

Consumer tech takes the lead, propelled by the indelible force of e-commerce. Despite a decline in company valuations, fashion and food e-commerce continue to reel in substantial funding. Fashion e-commerce stands out as the frontrunner, closely pursued by reselling, food, and the burgeoning pettech sector. FinTech follows suit, with fewer investments, but a select few enterprises attracting over KRW 100 billion bolstering the overall investment tally. Notably, IP finance has made significant strides this year.

In the software realm, AI-based solutions reign supreme, with investor interest piqued in system semiconductors and generative AI enterprises. Software commands the lion’s share of investments. Meanwhile, in the bio/healthcare sector, traction is gained in the domains of new drug development, digitalized medical devices, and tailored healthcare platforms. Regrettably, waning sentiment in the bio market has translated to diminished funding, causing it to slip from its erstwhile pinnacle in the annual standings.

The limelight also falls on infrastructure aligned with electric vehicles, poised for rapid growth with the anticipated surge in popularity. Electric vehicle charging platforms secure the lion’s share of investments. Concurrently, manufacturing entities, encompassing smart factories, pioneering materials, and cutting-edge battery technology, have witnessed a notable upswing in fortunes this year. Taking stock of the current investment currents, it appears that sector rankings are poised for stability, portending an improved investment landscape by year-end compared to the initial half.

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