Ably Corporation, the operator of the popular fashion commerce platform ‘Ably’, has secured a new investment of 50 billion won ($38 million). This brings the total investment in the company to 223 billion won ($171 million), making it the female shopping platform with the largest amount of investment.
The new investment came from Pine Tree Asset Management, a private equity fund manager, and was carried out through a ‘Venture Debt’ financing method. Venture loans are considered a strategic financing method that can benefit both investors and startups. Startups can secure operating funds without diluting their equity, while investors can lend to proven startups to reap profits. This financial product is widely used by US tech startups, and also for scale-up of startups in the UK and Israel. However, it is not common in Korea due to the prevailing perception that startups cannot apply a general credit rating model, and that it is difficult to execute venture loans unless solid cash generation capabilities and growth are proven.
Ably, however, was able to prove its growth and profitability, with its annual transaction amount growing to trillion units and approaching the monthly break-even point (BEP). Ably’s success can be attributed to its AI personalized recommendation algorithm, which recommends products that suit the user’s taste by analyzing big data such as ‘product streaming’ and ‘purchase history’. The platform currently has 7 million monthly active users (MAU) and ranks third in the shopping app used by Koreans after Coupang and 11th Street.
Ably aims to achieve a trillion-dollar corporate value by attracting Series C investment within this year and become a unicorn (unlisted company with a corporate value of over 1 trillion won). Seok-Hoon Kang, CEO of Ably, said, “Despite the cold investment season, we have been recognized for our business differentiation, growth value, and profitability.”
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