State-run Korea Development Bank announced on April 18 that it has formed a co-investing roundtable with six local venture capital firms to help Korean startups reach a unicorn status.
KDB said it is teaming up with VCs dedicated to startup investments -- Korea Investment Partners, Smilegate Investment, Intervest, KTB Network, IMM Investment and LB Investment.
KDB Vice Chairman Sung Joo-yung (fourth from left) and representatives of Korean VCs pose for a photo at a ceremony celebrating the launch of KDB-led co-investing roundtable at KDB headquarters in Seoul on April 18.
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The launch of a roundtable "Mega-7 Club" is aimed at addressing Korean startups’ reliance on foreign investments to join the unicorn club, valued at over $1 billion, KDB said.
For example, Korea’s food delivery platform operator Woowa Brothers became a unicorn in December last year, fetching $320 million round investment from Chinese private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, US-based Sequoia Capital and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Mobile money transfer app operator Viva Republica also had its latest round of $80 million investment joined by Silicon Valley-based VCs Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, when it achieved a unicorn status in December.
“To scale up and become a unicorn, Korean firms are dependent on foreign funds in an inevitable large-scale investment round,” KDB Vice Chairman Sung Joo-yung said in a statement. “To buck this trend, the co-investing roundtable will grow to lead Korean capital-backed round investments.”
By Son Ji-hyoung (firstname.lastname@example.org)