[THE INVESTOR] Korean e-commerce rookie Blank is poised to take the next step toward success by going public, according to a top executive.
The firm’s platform offers mostly “life-hack” type of products designed to make life a little easier and more pleasant. And business is booming, with its founder recently making headlines for buying a house close to Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Keun-hee’s home, with cash.
It is now hoping to be listed within the next three years after selecting a deal manager this year, Blank CEO Nam Dae-kwang told The Investor in an email interview.
“It will be a new leap forward for the company, and I am sure the initial public offering will lead to more growth for Blank,” Nam said.
Blank CEO Nam Dae-kwang (Blank)
Market watchers are paying keen attention to the market value of the new startup. It grew 1,100 percent on-year in 2017, just a year after it was established. Its revenue last year is estimated to reach over 120 billion won (US$108.13) to record a 150 percent on-year rise.
The fast growth is attributed to Blank’s sharp eye for products that provide genuine satisfaction in people’s daily lives. Because all the products are promoted through videos, consumers are able to easily review them and offer quick feedback.
“Blank’s main philosophy is to sympathize with the consumers’ needs. This philosophy drove us to dive into all kinds of fields that people really want. We are kind of back scratchers,” said Nam.
Blank currently owns 22 lifestyle products such as male cosmetics brand Black Monster, dermocosmetics brand Dr. Wonder and household goods brand Bodyluv.
Over the past two years, the firm has attracted 40 billion won of funding. Soft Bank Ventures invested 10 billion won in 2017, while SBI Investment and Union Investment Partners invested 30 billion won last year.
“Softbank was the first to invest in us. With the funding, we invested in improving our infrastructure, such as the number of brands and products we acquired for more diversity and innovation,” Nam said.
“We are now collaborating with various distributors so that we can build our own distribution center.”
This year, Blank will be launching several new brands, and also develop new business models and collaborate with others to create a wider e-commerce market.
Ultimately, it aims to become an Amazon-like company.
Taiwan branch office (Blank)
Blank is also expanding overseas, with branches in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Its third-quarter global sales reached 1.2 billion won, with fourth-quarter estimates forecast at 3 billion won.
“We are confident that our global sales will exceed the domestic market sales,” said Nam.
Blank is also considering opening a branch in China this year. It’s strategy is to localize as much as possible, according to each country’s lifestyles and consumption patterns.
Previously, Nam was at media contents company Makeus and also created mobile content platform Moncast. Before that, he was known for posting eye-catching video content on social media channels.
By Yoon Yeun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)