[THE INVESTOR] Kakao on June 14 said it is acquiring a 51 percent stake in Kiwi Plus, a local startup that produces kids’ smartwatch, for 10 billion won (US$9.25 million).
In a move to ramp up Internet of Things offerings, the mobile messaging app giant said it recently formed an agreement with Kiwi Plus for the acquisition. Kakao will purchase new shares issued by the startup.
Established in 2013, Kiwi Plus is known for smartwatches and phones exclusively for kids. Its main products include, Kakao Kids Watch, Kakao Kids Phone and LINE Kids Watch, where parents can track their children’s locations, receive notifications in emergency situations and communicate with them using their smartphones.
Seo Sang-won, founder and CEO of Kiwi Plus, will likely remain as head of the startup after the takeover. He also helms another IoT startup Pinplay, a Kakao affiliate.
Kakao has been making all-out efforts to strengthen IoT technologies, with plans to roll out its own smart home platform Kakao Home in the third quarter this year. Earlier in May, the mobile giant acquired smart home startup Acciio.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)