South Korea aims for startup gold

Back in 2011, when South Korea won a longshot bid to horde a 2018 Winter Olympics, a nation wasn’t widely famous as a end for ski and sleet lovers. It wasn’t deliberate many of a tech startup heart either.

Fast brazen 7 years and a lot has changed. For a subsequent 10 days, a eyes of a universe will be on a snowy slopes of PyeongChang. Meanwhile, a integrate of hours divided in Seoul, a burgeoning startup stage is saying investments multiply, generating exits and even formulating a unicorn or two.

While South Korea doesn’t get a ideal measure as a startup creation hub, it has determined itself as a critical contender. More than half a billion dollars annually has left to seed by late-stage appropriation rounds for a past few years. During that time, during slightest dual companies, e-commerce company Coupang and mobile-focused calm and commerce company Yello Mobile, have determined multi-billion-dollar valuations.

To yield a broader design of how South Korea stacks adult in terms of attracting startup investment and building scalable companies, Crunchbase News put together a information dive looking during appropriation totals, poignant investments, exits and active investors.

Here are some of a findings.

A quick rise

Venture appropriation for South Korean startups started to take off in 2014, per Crunchbase data. Previously, try appropriation rounds that done it into a database usually totaled in a tens of millions of dollars annually. But about 4 years ago, a numbers started rising dramatically.

In a draft below, we demeanour during a annual totals from 2010 by 2018:

Big, later-stage rounds pushed adult a totals. In a past 4 years, some-more than two dozen companies have sealed financings of $10 million or more, including a few unicorns for almost incomparable sums. One of those, Coupang, has raised $1.4 billion from try and private equity investors to date.

Totals have trended reduce in a past integrate of years, that might be attributed to fewer hulk rounds. For instance, some-more than half of a 2015 sum came from a $1 billion SoftBank investment in Coupang.

Emerging startups

While totals are down some over a past few quarters, South Korean startups have continued to attract courtesy and vast checks from both domestic and abroad investors.

The largest singular appropriation in a past year went to TMON (short for Ticket Monster), that lifted $115 million final Apr during a reported $1.4 billion valuation. This is a second time scaling adult with enlargement funding, as a Seoul-based association already supposing an exit to early investors years ago. Coupon site LivingSocial bought a association in 2011, afterwards sole itself to Groupon, that afterwards spun out a Korean company.

After TMON, a next-biggest appropriation rounds were for transport site Yanolja, that lifted $55 million, and Snow, developer of renouned selfie apps, which lifted $50 million. In a draft below, we demeanour during these and other poignant financings from 2017 by today:

The list of tip appropriation recipients includes a brew of startups focused predominantly on a Korean marketplace and those attracting a extended general user base.

Companies focused on a domestic marketplace find that Korea, with 50 million inhabitants and a rarely urbanized, tech-savvy patron base, is vast adequate to support massively scalable businesses. Those in that stay embody TMON and Coupang.

But Korea also has a record of building adult vital tellurian companies, like Samsung, LG and Hyundai, to name a best known. So it’s not startling to see companies with tellurian ambitions among a tip startups. In new years, a heading Korean hunt engine, Naver, in particular, has been successful rising startups with tellurian reach. The organisation is a infancy owners of a Japan-headquartered messaging app LINE, that went open final year and is valued during scarcely $10 billion. Line and Naver are also infancy owners of Snow.

It’s also probable to start internal and after go global. In this stay is Viva Republica, a developer of a fast-growing mobile payments apparatus Toss, that got initial traction in Korea and is now environment a sights on enlargement abroad.

Playing to win

Korea’s startup stage is attracting a vast and different collection of investors, including Korea-based funds, corporate VCs, Silicon Valley try firms and others.

A series of firms are repeat investors. Among a many active are Samsung, Altos Ventures, SoftBank Ventures Korea, Formation 8 (now Formation Group and 8VC), 500 Startups and Anchor Equity Partners.

The sum pool of investors is many deeper, however. Crunchbase information shows that some-more than 150 angel, seed, incubator and VC and corporate try investors have participated in appropriation rounds for Korea-based companies over a past 5 years.

Of course, not all new bets on earnest startups will spin out winners. But all in all, it appears that South Korean entrepreneurs have clearly put together a rival lineup.

Featured Image: iStockPhoto / Greens87

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Posted by on Feb 19 2018. Filed under Startups. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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