Naver-backed Korean AI startup MakinaRocks raises $10m for global push

Co-founders and CEOs Andre S. Yoon and Jaehyuk Lee.

MakinaRocks, a South Korean industrial AI solutions provider, announced that it has raised ₩12 billion ($10 million) in a Series A funding round that will finance its global expansion plan.

The latest funding round for the Naver-backed startup was participated by a host of strategic investors, including LG Technology Ventures, Hyundai Motor Company, Applied Ventures, Shinhan Investment Corp., HB Investment, Daesung Private Equity, and Korea Development Bank.

Founded in 2017 by Andre Yoon, Jaehyuk Lee, Sangwoo Shim, and Yongsub Lim, MakinaRocks uses AI technology for the high-tech manufacturing sector. It spun off from SK Telecom’s ICT R&D Center in 2018.

The startup raised $1.5 million in its seed funding round in 2018, with SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, and Naver Corporation as investors.

Headquartered in Seoul and Silicon Valley, MakinaRocks said it helps companies in the semiconductors, steel, and chemicals sectors achieve production efficiencies by turning complex processes into a much easier flow using AI.

The company said it will use the fresh funding to finance its global expansion, discovering business models, and recruiting crucial talent in the fields of data analysis, AI, and product development, among others.

Andre Yoon, the co-founder and CEO of MakinaRocks, has an extensive background in large-scale data analysis and modeling. Upon graduating from MIT with a Ph.D. in Physics, he joined Samsung Electronics in the division of Device Solutions to develop software algorithms for intelligent storage systems.

Prior to joining MakinaRocks, he was a lead data scientist at SK Telecom with a focus on the industrial applications of machine learning.

 

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.