The FinTech industry, including startups, has a promising present and secure future growth in South Korea Startup, where innovation in financial services are encouraged and supported by the government. In January 2021, the Financial Service Commission (FSC) announced about introducing a digital sandbox through which FinTech startups can have opportunities to virtually test their new business ideas (from June-August 2021).
FinTech was also one of the top priorities for the South Korean Startup government in 2020. The government had set aside a budget of $16 million for the growth of the sector in 2020. In 2021, the FSC is establishing a comprehensive support system to nurture Korean FinTech startups, using innovative & advanced technologies including blockchain, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
FinTech startups are the new growth engines for the world economy that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has battered. For South Korea Startup, the FinTech sector has been showing a significant rise with its existing FinTech startups getting overwhelming success and new companies emerging with pathbreaking innovations. The biggest success story for FinTech startups in South Korea is that of Viva Republica, whose financial service app Toss has become the most sought-after app in the country and the startup attaining ‘unicorn’ status in 2018.
KoreaTechDesk lists some of the promising Korean FinTech startups that drive growth and innovation in the financial services industry in South Korea.
Wadiz is the biggest crowdfunding platform in South Korea Startup, just like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It is the topmost preferred platform for domestic startups and entrepreneurs who are seeking crowd-sourced funds for their new ventures. The FinTech startup has more than 60% market share of the equity-based crowdfunding sector in Korea Startup. Started in 2013 as a rewarding service, Wadiz was one of the first companies to get a license as an online small investment intermediary from FSC in 2016. The total amount of funding raised by Wadiz $ 200 million as of January 2020.
And the total projects that opened at Wadiz are more than 15,000. Initially, the platform started off as a medium for helping neighbours or donating campaigns but has now evolved to funding for new products, creations and technologies. Currently, 1000 new projects are opened in Wadiz every month, and a number of visitors to the platform has exceeded 10 million per month.
WireBarley is a money transfer startup that provides mobile/online-based cross-border remittance service in the Asia-Pacific region. The startup headquartered in South Korea has its services worldwide with subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the USA and clientele in Vietnam, Philippines, Hong Kong, Nepal, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, UK, Germany, France. Established in 2016, WireBarley provides a quicker, safer, cheaper, and more glocalized way to transfer money to 21 countries and over 100 corridors through its financial technology platform. WireBarley boasts of a remittance platform unrivaled by typical money transfer companies.
WireBarley’s platform allows its users to record, verify and clear cross-regional transfer data transmitted using proprietary algorithmic technologies; thus, enabling exponential growth with an emphasis on compliance. In 2020, the WireBarley app got more than 400,000 downloads, and the startup has accumulated more than $400 million in revenue to date. The company got its Series B funding of $10 million from Magna Investment, Shinsegae I&C and Dt & Investment in 2020. WireBarley plans to expand its global presence further with the latest funding.
Sentbe is another overseas remittance service startup that has been doing quite well. The korean startup has made it easy to send money overseas with its quick delivery time and low fees. Sentbe offers cheaper, faster, and more accessible online remittance than banks and remits to 25 corridors across the South East Asian region, including countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and China.
Founded in 2015, Sentbe has processed nearly 1 trillion won ($800 million) in remittance volume, or around 1 million transactions, in the past five years. Sentbe is the most beneficial service for foreigners who work in South Korea, especially the Philippines, which consists of 40% of the startup’s clientele. In July 2019, Sentbe formed a partnership with the US-based digital money transfer service MoneyGram. Sentbe helps customers save up to 90 percent in transaction fees compared to traditional banks. The remittance service is faster, convenient, and available 24/7 via mobile app or web.
Chai is a digital payment startup that makes a contactless payment system smoother and easier in South Korea. Chai is building out core products in payments that include an e-wallet that leverages blockchain technology to provide the lowest-in-market transaction fees to merchants and dynamic benefits to consumers.
Another Chai product is a merchant-facing payment API that allows integrations with a wide range of payment options in less than an hour. More and more merchants are doing away with individual payment services and choosing to use Chai’s integrated API. In December 2020, Chai received $ 60 million in Series B funding round led by Hanwha Investment & Securities, SoftBank Ventures Asia, SK Networks, Aarden Partners and Hashed. Chai has now raised a total of $75 million.
FINDA is a loan recommending platform that allows the app users to know the maximum amount of loan they can avail of and the lowest loan rate in the market suitable to their needs. The platform has collected information of over 17,000 financial products and it recommends products based on user’s needs and capacity.
FINDA app also provides financial calculation services for home loans, monthly savings, loan repayment purposes, mortgage, personal loans, peer-to-peer (P2P) loans, investments, etc. In July 2019, the startup received 4.5 billion won ($3.8 million) in Series A funding. FINDA has also cleared the regulatory hurdle as it gained approval for a two-year regulatory sandbox.
Read about more Korean FinTech startups,
- Korean FinTech CONCAT to launch smart solutions for insurance agents
- Fintech startup Jireh Exim launches app to make payment transactions handsfree
- Korean Fintech startup Viva Republica’s Toss becomes a Financial Super App with fresh funding of $173 million
- Korean startup Ssenstone is making online payments safer with its One Time Authentication Code (OTAC) solution