Korea’s big data companies eye IPOs as investors flush with cash

  • 2020-09-15

Tech investors are set to be deluged with initial public offerings as South Korea’s big data companies are pushing to list their shares amid a dearth of new promising stocks on the bourse in the pandemic era.

According to investment banking industry officials on Sept. 15, big data-related companies such as VAIV Company Inc., Alchera Inc., AgileSoDA Co. and XIILab Co. are preparing to go public by the end of this year and big data IPOs are expected to rise in coming quarters.

The big data IPO rush comes in line with the government push as the Moon Jae-in administration emphasizes its Digital New Deal initiative as one of the country’s next growth engines.

big data

There is also healthy demand for the IPOs of promising startups as investors are looking to the stock market for better gains amid record-low interest rates.

As the number of connected devices is surging, more data is being produced. Big data companies want to use the massive volume of information to help enterprises gain insights to make strategic business decisions.

EXPLOSIVE DATA GROWTH PUSHES DEMAND

VAIV Company, which develops artificial intelligence data processing and analysis software, behavior analysis software and other products, plans to list its shares on the tech-heavy Kosdaq market sometime from October.

Recently renamed from Daum Soft, VAIV is involved in a series of smart city construction projects in Korea. The company has completed pilot systems in the cities of Sejong and Busan and won a smart town project in Gwangyang, a city in South Jeolla Province.

Alchera Co., which specializes in computer vision, deep learning and augmented reality, recently received approval from the Korea Exchange for its IPO plan. The company was established by three engineers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, a research arm of the Samsung Group, in June 2016.

Alchera, which attracted 12 billion won ($10.2 million) from Naver Corp., local video game developer Smilegate Co. and other companies in 2019, posted revenue of 3.3 billion won ($2.8 million) on a consolidated basis that year.

AgileSoDA Co., a company offering support to transform AI capabilities and output into internal intellectual assets and to resolve data quality problems, recently applied for listing on the stock exchange. It also provides algorithm-based technologies and services, including reinforced learning for optimal business decisions.

Established in 2015, the company attracted 6 billion won in investment from BNK Securities, KB Securities and Hanwha Investment & Securities last year.

It aims to get its shares listed on the Kosdaq market by the end of this year.

XIILab Co., which is currently traded on the Konex — a securities exchange exclusively for small- and medium-sized enterprises and venture companies — plans to move its shares to the Kosdaq this year.

Established in 2010, XIILab develops social network platforms and provides geographical and social data analysis to smartphone users. It posted 7.1 billion won in revenue last year.

Mobigen Co., which specializes in information and communication technology solutions, recently selected Hana Financial Investment Co. as the lead manager for its IPO, which is scheduled for the second half of 2021.

SUCCESSFUL IPOs SPUR MORE FIRMS TO GO PUBLIC

Analysts said the big data companies’ IPO plans were also inspired by the solid share price performances of their rivals after public offerings.

Shares of WISEiTech Co., which provides machine learning, database management and warehouse consulting, have risen 68% to 20,150 won as of Sept. 15, from its IPO price of 12,000 won.

Saltlux Inc., another big data service provider, has gained 33% to 33,350 won from its IPO price of 25,000 won.

“Investor interest in big data companies will continue to grow on the back of the popularity of non-contact businesses in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era,” said an investment banking industry official.

By Ye-Jin Jun

ace@hankyung.com

<Edited by In-Soo Nam>