2019 Cheer: One more Korean Startup Woowa Brothers joins the ‘unicorn’ billionaire club

Woowa Brothers, the startup that operates the leading food delivery app of South Korea ‘Baedal Minjok’, joins the ‘unicorn’ billionaire club with the latest investment from global firms. Woowa Brothers secured investments worth US $320 million in December 2018 taking the company’s valuation to over US $1 billion.

Giant backing from Global investors

The startup got its latest funds from private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, US-based Sequoia Capital and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. While Hillhouse Capital is an investor known for investing in top Chinese technology firms including Tencent and Baidu, Sequoia Capital was an early investor in global tech giants like Google Inc and Apple Inc.

“The funding by globally prominent investors carries much significance,” said Woowa Brothers Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Oh Se-yoon in a media statement. The company with its latest valuation of around US $2.66 billion becomes the second Korean startup after Viva Republica to reach the ‘unicorn’ milestone in 2018.

The company said with the latest investments they will put more efforts for global expansion and launching new businesses such as developing autonomous robots.  The startup has been investing in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Driving technology to develop delivery robots. Woowa Brothers also has plans to start its food delivery app in Vietnam in the first half of 2019.

“We will continue to strive to not only deliver greater value to both restaurant owners and users but also focus on moving forward with our new businesses, ” Oh Se-yoon told media.

At the Top of the ‘Food delivery App’ Chain

Woowa Brothers, which was founded in 2010, with the aim to develop interesting and useful apps, had started the food delivery platform Baedal Minjok. The food delivery app is quite popular in Korea per a report that 7 out of 10 people order food via apps. Baedal Minjok’s monthly number of orders reached over 20 million in July 2018, growing from 5 million in early 2015. The app also has seen an increase in the number of monthly active users from 3 million to 8 million during the same period.

Woowa Brothers has had several series of large investments in the past, including 57 billion won or US $50.7 million from the current investor Hillhouse Capital. In 2014, Goldman Sachs put in 40 billion won or US $35.6 million in the firm.

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