[THE INVESTOR] Korean education startup SmartStudy, which owns intellectual property rights of hit animated characters including Pinkfong, is preparing to go public in 2020, according to industry sources on Nov. 1.
According to sources, SmartStudy recently sent a request for proposals to few major securities firms to pick its initial public offering deal manager. Since the Korean startup is at the early stages of IPO preparations, it has not decided details including whether it will to be listed on the main KOSPI bourse or on the second-tier KOSDAQ.
Established in 2010, SmartStudy is known for its popular animated character Pinkfong and Baby Shark. The company produces videos with its characters in different languages including English, Chinese, Spanish and Russian. It also operates its own mobile app and provides the contents directly to viewers. More than 150 million people in 112 different countries have downloaded its app.
Moreover, the company is also expanding its business to use its characters in producing diverse cultural contents such as musical concerts. In September 2016, SmartStudy also created a mobile game called “Monster Super League” and entered the game business.
Its sales last year reached 27.2 billion won with operating profit of 1.9 billion won. Industry insiders expect the company’s sales to reach over 40 billion won this year with more than 8 billion won operating profit.
Currently, SmartStudy CEO Kim Min-seok., the 37 year-old son of Korean publisher Samsung Publishing CEO Kim Jin-yong, is the biggest shareholder with 23.1 percent stake, followed by Samsung Publishing which owns 20.8 percent.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)