South Korea is experiencing one of the busiest IPO seasons in 2021 as many startups and companies go public. The latest announcement of an IPO comes from Korean recruitment platform startup Wanted Lab. The company that works on a referral recruit basis submitted a securities registration form for listing on the KOSDAQ market on June 23. The IPO is likely to be launched in August 2021.
Wanted Lab was started in 2015 and has captured the Korean job market with its unique referral and reward-based AI-driven recruitment platform. The platform allows anyone to refer a candidate in their field of expertise and receive compensation if they get hired. In addition, Wanted brings the headhunting industry online by giving users a referral bonus for connecting their friends with well-matched jobs. Wanted also runs its platform in Japan with its brand ReferMe launched in April 2018. The startup also has a presence in Taiwan, Hong Kong & Singapore.
COVID-19 restrictions push growth for contactless hiring
Wanted Lab’s sales grew from 3.4 billion won or $2.9 million in 2018 to 14.7 billion won to $12.9 million in 2020, showing a steep rise with an average annual growth rate of 107%. In particular, in 2020, the non-face-to-face recruitment market was revitalized due to COVID-19, and the company’s sales surpassed 10 billion won or $8.8 million for the first time since its establishment. Wanted Labs’ sales in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 93% compared to the same period of the previous year to 5.7 billion won or $5 million, and operating profit turned to black with 400 million won or $352k.
Wanted is also actively expanding its services to meet changes in demand and supply in the recruitment market. Wanted Labs is expanding its business area by providing a freelance matching service, ‘Gigs,’ and a regular subscription service for job-related education and lecture content ‘Wanted+.’ In particular, it acquired ‘Common Space,’ a one-stop HR platform to strengthen HR services for companies.
Lee Bok-ki, CEO of Wanted Lab, said in a media statement, “Wanted Lab, which has been growing steadily since its launch in 2015, is showing a faster growth rate as non-face-to-face recruitment is activated. As a result, we will be reborn as a platform.”
Wanted Lab will offer a total of 730,000 shares through this IPO. The expected public offering band is 28,000 won to 35,000 won or about $24 to $30. Therefore, the expected amount of the public offering is 20.4 billion won to 25.6 billion won or about $17 million to $22 million. The listing organizer is Korea Investment & Securities.