South Korean food delivery startup Woowa bags $320m funding

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

The operator of South Korea’s largest food delivery app has secured a $320 million investment from Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital and GIC, it said on Thursday, in a deal that values the startup at about $2.6 billion.

Woowa Brothers Corp, which owns the “Baedal Minjok” food delivery service, said the cash will help drive expansion to overseas markets, and the development of autonomous robots.

The investment was led by Hillhouse Capital, which had already invested 57 billion won ($50.7 million) in the firm in 2016, with equity participation by U.S.-based Sequoia Capital and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, Woowa Brothers said.

Launched in 2010, Baedal Minjok’s monthly orders grew from about 5 million in early 2015 to more than 20 million by July 2018, the company said.

Woowa Brothers also expanded to offer delivery from restaurants that did not previously deliver, and a service for providing food and supplies to restaurants.

Goldman Sachs invested 40 billion won ($35.6 million) in Woowa Brothers in 2014.

Hillhouse Capital is an investor in top Chinese technology firms including Tencent <0700.HK> and Baidu <BIDU.O>, while Sequoia Capital was an early investor in global tech behemoths like Google Inc <GOOGL.O> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>.

Rigid regulations, strong labour unions and a risk-averse culture among South Korea’s giant family-run conglomerates, or chaebol, have hindered the growth of start-ups in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

But international investors have been drawn to companies making inroads in the market for fast delivery services in South Korea.

In November SoftBank’s Vision Fund said it was investing an additional $2 billion in South Korea’s top e-commerce firm Coupang.

Reuters

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.