Money was poured into startups that read bad taste and fan sentiment

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‘The era of personal taste (personal taste) and fan heart (heart) is coming, and software as a service (SaaS) and meat substitutes are emerging.’

This is a technology trend in the next five years as seen through startups that have recently succeeded in attracting investment. It is also a picture of a future unicorn company (unlisted company with a corporate value of 1 trillion won or more).

Startup investment experts predicted that the center of gravity of the investment ecosystem would shift to a ‘vertical’ service that reflects personal preferences instead of the ‘general-purpose’ e-commerce (e-commerce) service and platform that have been highlighted so far. In the business-to-business (B2B) market, tools for corporate collaboration and SaaS fields were selected as strong candidates to produce the next unicorn company.

On the 31st, Hankyung Geeks, a startup media platform of the Korea Economic Daily, announced 418 startups that received Series A-phase investment from the investment information company TheVC for the past year (May 2021 to April 2022). It is the result of a full investigation. Series A is an investment received when the startup business model is fully recognized for its marketability and growth potential and enters the market in earnest. These companies attracted 3.528.9 trillion won from 581 investment companies.

Hankyung Giggs summarized the characteristics of companies that succeeded in attracting investment into nine categories by sector and type. SaaS and logistics automation solutions were the areas that investors were most interested in. As 80% of US unicorn companies are already occupied by B2B SaaS, there are many observations that the ‘next big thing (next-generation core technology)’ will come from SaaS in Korea. A collaboration tool for businesses that combines messenger and document work functions is also expected to be a promising technology. As the perception that the sculpture investment platform also has high growth potential, the investment was raised.

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In the field of distribution and service, select shop brands that reflect individual tastes received attention from the investment market. As platforms that provide professional services such as legal and accounting appear one after another, the prospect of the ‘sanctuary’ of high-income professionals will collapse. In addition, food tech companies, which have begun to spread word of mouth in the vegan, companion animal, and eco-friendly fields, and companies in the fields of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 3D (3D), and special visual effects are also rapidly increasing.

‘Daehaebu’, a start-up where money is piling up… Future unicorns are here
418 promising startups

Startups that have succeeded in Series A in the past year have been different from the start. Startups possessing core technologies and talents in the next-generation information and communication technology (ICT) fields such as software as a service (SaaS) and collaboration tools, a platform equipped with a ‘death move’ to survive the bloody battle of the e-commerce market, and the metaverse universe with creativity and technology A startup that is preparing has received a love call from the investment industry. This is the result of analyzing a total of 476 startups that have received initial Series A investment from venture capital (VC) over the past year.

#1 Select shops are more popular than open markets

Edited shopping malls have appeared one after another, and more and more small and medium-sized brands are choosing the direct-to-consumer (D2C) method. Companies that survive this competition become the next unicorn (unlisted company with a corporate value of more than 1 trillion won). Daily necessities brand Life Workshop, daily necessities commerce revit, and limited edition sneaker brokerage platform SLDT raised more than 10 billion won in the Series A round. Furniture select shop Brunt also received an investment of 6 billion won.

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#2 ‘Amuta’ vegan craze

What you use on your body is ‘don’t ask anything and don’t ask’ is vegan. Vegan refers to veganism that does not eat meat, and is being used as eco-friendly marketing in fashion and beauty fields.

The field where vegan brands are most aggressively penetrating is cosmetics. Aromatica, Sure Base, and Amuse succeeded in attracting investment with vegan cosmetics brands.

Organica, which transformed from a cleans juice company to a vegan food company, attracted an investment of 43 billion won in January. This is a case where the ransom price jumped properly thanks to the transformation into a meat substitute company.

#3 ‘Personal Taste’ Brands Against Big Companies

In the e-commerce ‘war of money’, brand products that have secured consumer D2C channels are expected to survive. The craft beer brands Seven Breu Beer and The Cerlite Brewing are aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) following Jeju Beer. The reason why funds are flowing to ‘aggregators’ that take over e-commerce brands is the growing market influence of small brands.

#4 Sanctuary collapsed professional service

Platforms that provide professional services such as legal affairs, accounting, management consulting, and advertising are also appearing one after another. Law & Good (3 billion won), a legal service platform for small and medium-sized businesses, is a platform like “Summo” in the lawyer industry. Humart Company, which operates ‘Trost’, which can receive professional psychological counseling through messenger, also attracted 3 billion won. The Corporation, which provides a blockchain-based participant reward-type Q&A service, also received an investment of 3 billion won.

#5 The growing fan-tech market

If you look at the flow of VC funds flowing into startups, it is clear that the scope of intellectual property (IP) is expanding to characters and fandoms. Creator economy, fan tech, and fandom business are called various names.

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Representative examples include Galaxy Corporation, a management company specializing in celebrities’ ‘additional characters’, and B My Friends, established by key members of Weverse, the ‘original’ fandom business platform.

#6 3% Chosen Blockchain Companies

About 3% of the Series A investment in the past year has flowed into blockchain companies. Block Odyssey, which develops a distribution management system using blockchain-based QR codes, attracted 35.8 billion won, the highest investment in the blockchain field, in March.

DSRV Labs is considered as the company that most actively expands the blockchain investment infrastructure. Like a handsome lion ( ) is a case of successful conversion from coding education to a P2E non-fungible asset (NFT) game company.

#7 Metaverse that raises content ransom

As metaverse related technology develops, the content market that can be enjoyed in that space is also growing. Visual special effects (VFX) production company V Corporation immediately attracted 100 billion won in investment in the Series A round in March and was evaluated at a corporate value of 1 trillion won.

#8 Why are you flocking to enterprise collaboration tools?

The digital transformation of businesses is accelerating due to COVID-19. Enterprise software development (B2B SaaS) and logistics automation are considered two axes.

Sweet Technology, headquartered in Silicon Valley, USA, is challenging the global enterprise collaboration tool Slack. Online whiteboard-based visual collaboration tool ‘ola’ (SW developer Osiris Systems), research and document creation software ‘Typed’ (Business Canvas), and collaboration tool ‘Shaple’ for field employees such as store employee schedule and task management Sharple & Company), collaboration tools that added various functions, attracted investment one after another.

In the AI ​​field, Upstage and Voyager X are emerging as ‘hot’ startups. Both companies succeeded in attracting large-scale investments of more than 30 billion won last year.

Reporter Heo Ran/Kim Jong-woo why@hankyung.com

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