Largest startup funding of this year in Korea amid COVID-19 pandemic hit private investment market

  • Successfully raised a record KRW 200B Series E funding
  • Follow-on investment from both existing investors and participation from newly joining investors proves strong confidence in Kurly’s achievements and growth potential
  • New funding to be used to consolidate and support Kurly’s proven business model, including capital expenditure for a new fulfillment center, to solidify its customer base and for talent acquisition

May 8, 2020Kurly Inc., operating Korea’s No.1 grocery shopping mobile app “Market Kurly”, announced the closing of a KRW 200B round, a record-breaking fundraising for the company.

Kurly has successfully raised KRW 200B in its Series E fundraising on May 8, the largest investment made this year in a Korean startup. Along with DST Global, the lead investor who has joined as a new shareholder, Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Fuse Venture Partners (formerly Global Venture Partners), SK Networks and Translink Capital, who have long been supporters of Kurly, and Aspex Management (newly added to Kurly’s shareholder base), have participated in the company’s Series E. By attracting numerous reputable financial institutions consisting of both new and existing investors, the five-year-old startup has demonstrated its leading position in the morning delivery market, taking its total accumulative investment to KRW 420B (USD 328M).

Kurly’s Series E fundraising, as the unprecedented COVID-19 epidemic is slowing down global venture capital investment, is an impressive achievement. While many deals are being delayed or even canceled, this investment substantiates Kurly’s continued growth and market leadership. Kurly ranks 11 in the Financial Times’s latest “High-Growth 500 companies in the Asia-Pacific” rankings and shows outstanding growth at an exceptional pace. Since its establishment in 2015, Kurly has recorded an annual average revenue growth of 3.5x times by 2019 with revenue of KRW 429B. Constant improvement in advance order processing capabilities has been another factor providing investors with confidence. The company’s fulfillment capability was extended last year by a 4.9x area expansion and a 2.9x increase in the number of deliveries.

Newly raised capital will be deployed to further solidify Kurly’s position as Korea’s No.1 premium grocery shopping service. The company is planning to establish a new fulfillment center in the Seoul Metropolitan area, which will be 2.5x larger than current centers, speeding up customer acquisition, and also investing in talent as well.

John Lindfors, investment partner and head of Asia Pacific from DST Global who led the round, said, “Kurly has been showing incomparable growth in the fast-expanding online grocery market, and as the first to establish morning deliveries, has demonstrated its ability to disrupt the logistics industry and change the grocery shopping habits of Korean consumers.” 

Seul-A Kim, CEO and founder of Kurly, said, “We appreciate our investors’ belief in Kurly’s potential, the enthusiasm of our best customers, and the efforts of our devoted employees. Kurly will continue to improve “Market Kurly” service and maintain qualitative and quantitative leadership to satisfy our customers.”

Kurly is the very first company to provide fresh food morning delivery service in Korea. It is the only company furnished with a full coldchain system, with all orders made before 11pm delivered by 7am the next morning, with renowned product curation, and 5 million registered users by April 2020.

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