Kia Motors leads $25m funding in S Korean startup CODE42

Photo: Reuters

South Korea’s autonomous transportation-as-a-service startup CODE42 has raised $25 million (KRW 30 billion) in its pre-Series A funding round led by Kia Motors, marking one of the largest investments in the Korean startup space.

Other investors who participated in the current round include Korean conglomerates SK Group, LG and CJ. As the lead investor, Kia Motors infused as much as $12.5 million capital in CODE42, according to an announcement.

The corpus raised will be used by the startup to build its core UMOS (Urban Mobility Operating System) platform, as well as establish the global autonomous transportation-as-a-service ecosystem UMOS Connect.

CODE42 previously raised seed capital worth $1.7 million (KRW 2 billion) from Hyundai Motor Company in March.

“The investment…..enables us to leverage the strength of our partners’ infrastructure and service capabilities to establish a next-generation mobility and logistics service platform,” said Chang-Hyeon Song, CODE42 founder and CEO, who was earlier the CTO of Naver.

“We will be working closely with investor companies in autonomous driving and mapping technology, dispatching, fleet management, next-generation in-vehicle infotainment and associated connectivity,” he added.

Of late, South Korean automakers have been making venture investments in ride-hailing startups and self-driving software producers.

Hyundai Motor Group and Dublin-headquartered auto technology firm Aptiv in September said they are creating a 50:50 autonomous driving joint venture valued at $4 billion.

In June, Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors said they would invest in self-driving car software startup Aurora to speed up the development of autonomous vehicle technologies. Earlier, the two automakers also announced an investment of $300 million in Indian ride-hailing company Ola.

Last year, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing major Grab pulled in $250 million from automaker Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, bringing the total funds raised in an ongoing Series H round to $2.7 billion.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.