South Korea digest: Kakao enters e-bike sharing; SoCar backs Nine2One

People walk inside Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

South Korean messaging app service provider Kakao has entered the e-bike sharing segment with a new brand, Kakao T Bike, while SoCar has invested in e-bike sharing startup Nine2One.

Kakao launches e-bike sharing service in South Korea

South Korean messaging major Kakao has entered the e-bike sharing segment with its latest micro-mobility service called Kakao T Bike, according to Pulse News.

Kakao Mobility, the transportation service unit of Kakao, said the new electric bike-sharing scheme will start operations on March 6 in the Yeonsu District of Incheon city and various parts of Seongnam city.

Through the Kakao T app, users can rent a bike nearby and simply leave the bike when they’re done as there are no fixed docking stations. A fee is automatically charged on the credit card registered on the app.

It plans to launch with a fleet of 400 bikes in each city and gradually expand to 1,000 by year-end.

The bike-sharing scheme would serve areas not covered by public transportation or where there aren’t available taxis, Kakao said.

SoCar invests in e-bike sharing startup Nine2One

SoCar, a South Korea-based ride-sharing startup, is branching out into the “micro-mobility” segment, according to The Investor.

The company on March 6 said it has invested an undisclosed amount in Nine2One, the operator of e-bike sharing service Elecle, which began its beta service in November.

Backed by SoCar’s mobility platform technology, Elecle plans to officially launch its service with 350 e-bikes and aims to expand to 2,000 units around the country by the year-end.

“Providing various mobility options which allow users to move around without owning a car can reduce the number of cars and solve urban traffic issues,” SoCar founder and CEO Lee Jae-woong said in a statement.

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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.