Crowdfunding in South Korea started about eight years ago, and it is picking up pace as a hotbed for startup founders. A Statista estimate reports that the market size of crowdfunding in South Korea exceeded one trillion South Korean won or more than $900 million in 2020. The local crowdfunding market grew from 25 billion won to 310 billion won or $ 22 million to $280 million from 2016 to 2019.
Korean startup Wadiz is the leading crowdfunding platform in the country; many times called the ‘Kickstarter’ of South Korea. Asia’s largest crowdfunding platform has been upgrading its services and forming strategic partnerships as it sets the tone for an IPO in 2022. In the latest development, Wadiz has formed a Joint Venture (JV) with Wise Planet Company, a leading performance marketing company, to support startups to scale up mass production and marketing products.
Wadiz achieves record numbers
Wadiz is an important platform for startups to source funds with more than 3 million members registered. Wadiz gets over 1000 new projects every month seeking investment, and the number of visitors to the platform has exceeded 10 million per month. Wadiz platform allows funders to invest in either rewards-based crowdfunding or equity crowdfunding projects. Recently, the company announced it had achieved 200 billion won or $180 million worth of transactions this year itself. The cumulative funding amount(transactions) exceeding 400 billion won or $361million. Wadiz has attracted follow-up investments through VC exceeding 160 billion won or $144 million.
In 2020, Wadiz launched two new businesses such as ‘Finding startups’, an Online IR service) and and offline store ‘Gonggan Wadiz.’ In 2021, the 10th year since its establishment, Wadiz is planning for an IPO in 2022 and is preparing to invest in pre-IPO activities accordingly. The crowdfunding platform had wanted to launch an IPO this year but postponed it because of the COVID-19 pandemic instability. Wadiz was selected as the 27th among 500 companies in the ‘2021 Asia-Pacific High-Growth Companies’ chosen by the Financial Times (FT) of the UK and Nikkei Asia of Japan recently.
AI-based upgrades, investment funds, & strategic partnerships
Wadiz launch an ‘Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) personalized recommendation service’ in May 2020 that recommends projects based on customer interest and funding experience data. This AI introduction provides a personalized recommendation service in real-time by comprehensively analyzing user activity data such as notification requests, support signatures, likes, and participation in funding.
In December 2020, Wadiz acquired a license for startup venture PEF and announced that it would create a direct investment fund to expand the startup ecosystem. Wadiz, created the first direct investment fund from Korea Growth Finance in January 2021, laid the foundation for direct investment in social enterprises, including companies that succeeded in Wadiz funding as well as brokerage services.
On June 1, 2021, Wadiz announced it has entered a partnership with Wise Planet Company as a Limited Liability Partner (LP). The Joint Venture (JV) will focus on investment and marketing support scaleup for the platform members. The fund invested through this joint venture is expected to provide a foothold for sustainable growth for makers who have excellent product capabilities but lack resources for mass production and marketing costs due to the difficulty in attracting investment.
Joint Venture to support startups scaleup production
A new type of investment model has been created through collaboration between Wadiz, the number one crowdfunding platform in Korea, and Wise Planet Company, the number one performance marketing company with a number of success stories. This JV will invest the necessary expenses for mass production in the project finance (PF) method to support makers and startups to carry out their business without the burden of funds.
In addition, Wise Planet Company’s digital marketing experts will participate and support rebranding and performance marketing to help startups with insufficient marketing capabilities successfully enter the market. Startups with exceptional items will be introduced to Wise Planet Company’s marketing accelerating system and even proceed with a sole distributor contract that oversees equity investment and marketing sales.
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