South Korea’s 10 top-funded startups

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It is widely understood that 2016 was not an easy year for startups around the world. With investors looking for a roadmap towards profitability, startups are realizing that raising funds is difficult. In comparison with other countries, Korean startup market had significantly more dynamic year with 49% of YoY growth (233 in 2015, 347 in 2016) in number of investments and 23% increase (811.96 Billion KRW in 2015, 1007.8 Billion KRW in 2016) in investment size. 

This week, I took a look at 10 Korean startups that have raised the most amount of funding since their launches, by using publicly available data from Crunchbase, Platum, and Beginning. In addition to dollar amount, I have included industry, founding date, and investors in the round to further the analysis. This list does not include startups that have been acquired or have gone public.

Quick Findings

– The most heavily funded Korean startup has raised $1.42B
Altos Ventures led a series A round of funding for 5 of top 10 most funded Korean startups
– The aggregate funding of 10 top funded Korean startups is over $2.3B

10. Yogiyo

Yogiyo is an online platform and smartphone app similar to Seamless in the U.S., allowing customers to order food from preferred restaurants.

Total funding: $54.6M
Industry: Restaurant, Food Delivery
Year founded: 2012
Investors: Delivery Hero, Insight Venture Partners

9. Socar

Socar is an online car sharing company similar to ZipCar in the U.S., allowing individuals to make car reservations that are billable by the hour or day.

Total funding:  $74M
Industry: Car Sharing, Travel
Year founded: 2011
Investors: Bain Capital, Brookside Capital, SK Ventures

8. ZigBang

ZigBang operates a property listing platform and application connecting real estate agents with renters.

Total funding: $75.2M
Industry: Real Estate, Search Engine, Property Management
Year founded: 2010
Investors: Altos Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Stone Bridge Management, Company K Partners

7. Viva Republica

Viva Republica is a fintech startup to provide P2P money transfer service through a mobile application called “Toss”. It’s similar to Venmo in the U.S.

Total funding: $77.2M
Industry: FinTech, Software, Transaction Processing
Year founded: 2013
Investor: Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, PayPal, Qualcomm Ventures, KTB Network, Partech Ventures

6. Wemakeprice

We make price is a Korean social commerce platform similar to Groupon in the U.S., allowing customers for group-buying at an affordable price.

Total funding: $85M
Industry: E-Commerce
Year founded: 2010
Investor: Nexon

5. Baedal Minjok

Baedal Minjok is an online platform and smartphone app similar to GrubHub in the U.S., allowing customers to search for nearby restaurants to order and pay for food.

Total funding: $98M
Industry: Restaurant, Food delivery, Location Based Services
Year founded: 2011
Investors: Altos Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Hillhouse Capital Group, IMM Investment

4. 4:33 Creative Lab

4:33 Creative Lab is a mobile game publisher that develop and publish mobile games across multiple platforms.

Total funding: $110M
Industry: Digital Entertainment, Gaming, Mobile
Year founded: 2009
Investors: Line, Tencent

3. Memebox

Memebox is an e-commerce company specializing beauty products from Korea, currently selling over 1,200 products to the U.S., China, HongKong, Singapore, and Korea.

Total funding: $156.67M
Industry: E-Commerce, Beauty
Year founded: 2012
Investors: Goodwater Capital, Formation Group, Altos Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, Accelerate Fund, Funders Club

2. Yello Mobile


Yello Mobile is a mobile media company comprised of more than 60 startups. It aims to produce synergy across five verticals – shopping, media, ad tech, travel, and offline-to-online.

Total funding: $187.2M
Industry: Internet, Marketing, Travel, E-commerce
Year founded: 2012
Investors: SBI Holdings, Formation 8, Macquarie Capital

1. Coupang

Coupang is South Korea’s fastest-growing e-commerce site. It’s the closest thing the country has to Amazon.com

Total funding: $1.42B
Industry: E-Commerce
Year founded: 2010
Investors: Altos Ventures, SoftBank Capital, Sequoia Capital, BlackRock PE

I am interested in applying design thinking to the business. I love to code in Central Park on weekends and build something people love to use. You can reach me at sehwan@techforkorea.com

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