Kurly Inc, the operator of South Korea’s top grocery shopping mobile app, Market Kurly, has raised ₩200 billion ($164 million) in its Series E funding round, in what is considered the most significant investment made this year in a Korean startup.
In a statement, Kurly said the funding round received follow-on investment from existing investors, with participation from new investors that saw the app’s “achievements and growth potential.” It also comes as majority of startups and tech companies in the world are struggling to raise funds amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Along with DST Global, the lead investor who has joined as a new shareholder, Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Fuse Venture Partners, SK Networks and Translink Capital, and Aspex Management have participated in the company’s Series E.
With the fresh funding, the company is planning to establish a new fulfillment center in the Seoul Metropolitan area, which will be 2.5x larger than current centers, speeding up customer acquisition and investing in talent as well.
“We appreciate our investors’ belief in Kurly’s potential, the enthusiasm of our best customers, and the efforts of our devoted employees. Kurly will continue to improve Market Kurly’s service and maintain qualitative and quantitative leadership to satisfy our customers,” Seul-A Kim, CEO and founder of Kurly, said.
Kurly ranks 11th in the Financial Times’s latest “High-Growth 500 companies in the Asia-Pacific” index. Since its establishment in 2015, Kurly has recorded annual average revenue growth of 3.5x times by 2019 with revenue of ₩429 billion ($353 million).
“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 from DST Global, which led the round.
Having one of the fastest internet connections in the world, South Korea has become a market with huge potential for mobile shopping.
More South Koreans also try online grocery shopping, latest surveys showed. Almost one-third of online grocery shoppers in the country also used the service around once per week.