South Korean venture capital firms have invested a combined $26 million in Internet-based start-up companies in India and Vietnam, betting on the rapid growth of Internet users and smartphone ownership across Asia.
In India, KTB Network Co. Ltd. has recently bought new shares in online grocery start-up Grofers for $20 million, participating in the $200 million investment led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund in the Indian food company, according to investment banking sources on July 18.
It was the largest fundraising round for an Indian online grocery firm, valuing the start-up firm at $423 million.
KTB was the only South Korean investor for Grofers, joining US investment firms Tiger Global Management LLC and Sequoia Capital.
In the previous round, Grofers had raised $61 million from Vision Fund, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital.
The deal marked KTB Network’s second investment in an Indian start-up company since it invested $3 million in NoBroker.com, a real estate search portal, in 2016.
KTB Network is one of leading VC firms in South Korea and a sister company of KTB Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. and KTB Asset Management Co. Ltd.
Last year the company and SoftBank Ventures won 120 billion won ($102 million) mandates from South Korea’s National Pension Service for start-up investments.
It also received a mandate for around 20 billion won from the Korea Teachers’ Pension in 2018.
Vietnam’s game publisher Appota Corp. has recently signed an agreement to sell new shares worth $7.5 million to four venture capital firms in South Korea and investors from Singapore and other countries, according to sources with knowledge of the matter on July 16.
Among South Korean VC firms, Korea Investment Partners Co. Ltd. and Seoul Investment Partners Co. Ltd. have invested $2.5 million and $1.5 million respectively.
Mirae Asset Venture Investment Co. Ltd. and Kiwoom Investment Co. Ltd. took part with $1 million commitment each.
For both Korea Investment Partners and Mirae Asset Venture, it marked the second investment in the Vietnamese game publisher since they put $5 million in its serious C round financing in late 2016.
Including the latest investment, it has raised approximately $25 million in aggregate since it was founded in 2011.
Appota is the third-largest mobile game publisher in Vietnam with more than 50 million users.
“The mobile games market in Southeast Asia is the fastest growing market in the world. In particular, the annual growth rate in Vietnam’s is above 30%,” said one of the investment banking sources participating in the latest investment.
“We expect Appota to grow further, driven by success in its game publishing, advertising and payment businesses.”
Seoul Investment Partners was selected as one of VC investors by the Korean Teachers’ Credit Union earlier this year, while Korea Investment Partners picked by the Military Mutual Aid Association in 2018.
By Chaeyeon Kim
<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>
(Photo: Getty Images Bank)