Venture investments in Korea topped 2 trillion won (US$1.88 billion) in 2017 for three straight years, industry data showed on Jan. 2.
According to data compiled by local media outlet The Bell, local venture capital firms invested a record high of 2.27 trillion won in startups last year, up from 2.18 trillion won in 2016.
Korea Investment Partners led the pack of 59 VCs by injecting fresh fund of 154.2 billion won in 2017.
KIP invested both in domestic and overseas startups, including in Israel, the US, Australia, China and Indonesia, with the overseas investment amounting to around 90 billion won. It also funded Korea’s major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bithumb and Korbit.
KTB Network, the VC arm of KTB Investment & Securities, ranked second with 130 billion won. Earlier in May, it established a 30 billion won joint fund with internet giant Naver to invest in audio content tech firms.
Smilegate Investment came in third by investing 115.1 billion won, followed by SBI Investment and SoftBank Ventures Korea, with 98.1 billion won and 85.9 billion won, respectively.
Industry watchers are predicting that investment by VCs will further rise this year, propelled by the government’s extensive efforts to support the local startup sector in hopes to create new jobs and boost the economy. The government in November said it will inject a combined 30 trillion won in the next three years to nurture startups, including a 10 trillion won government-led fund and a 20 trillion won lending-program for ventures.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com