S Korea’s grocery delivery startup Kurly nets $160m in Series E round

South Korean online grocery delivery startup Kurly has raised 200 billion won ($160 million) in a Series E funding round led by DST Global, according to the company’s statement.

Existing backers Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Fuse Venture Partners, SK Networks and Translink Capital, as well as new investor Aspex Management participated in the current financing round.

The Series E investment has brought the total funding raised by the five-year-old startup to 420 billion won ($328 million), it said.

The announcement confirmed reports from April, which said Kurly may have reached the unicorn status.

The company claimed that it has recorded annual average revenue growth of 3.5 times since its inception, reaching 429 billion won in 2019. In addition, its fulfillment capability was extended last year by a 4.9x area expansion and a 2.9x increase in the number of deliveries.

Equipped with fresh capital, Kurly said it will establish a new fulfillment centre in the Seoul Metropolitan area, which will be 2.5x larger than the current facilities. Proceeds from the Series E round will also be used for sprucing up customer acquisition and ramping up headcount.

“Kurly has been showing incomparable growth in the fast-expanding online grocery market, and as the first to establish morning deliveries, has demonstrated its ability to disrupt the logistics industry and change the grocery shopping habits of Korean consumers,” said John Lindfors, investment partner and head of Asia Pacific at DST Global.

Even as the current health crisis is slowing down global venture capital investments across sectors, interest in grocery delivery has witnessed an upswing.

Grocery delivery will be the biggest long-term beneficiary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as it was touted to grow even earlier, the virus outbreak has accelerated its growth.

A recent study by McKinsey & Co also shows that grocery is among the categories that are likely to witness traction going forward, in addition to household supplies and home entertainment.

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.