Seoul’s startup industry has been awash with major funding news over the past few weeks. Earlier this month, Yello Mobile and game developer 4:33 Creative Lab Game Studio each disclosed that they had raised $100 million or more.
Now Seoul-based startup Woowa Brothers, which operates food delivery app Baedal Minjok, has announced that it has raised a 40 billion won (about $36 million) round led by Goldman Sachs. The capital will be used to improve Baedal Minjok’s technology and fuel its international expansion.
The amount is impressive because until last month, Baedal Minjok was focused solely on the domestic market. The app, which launched in June 2010, currently claims to be South Korea’s largest online and mobile food delivery service, with more than 140,000 restaurants registered on the platform and four million orders processed per month. Nearly all of Baedal Minjok’s orders, or more than 99 percent, are placed through its iOS or Android apps.
Baedal Minjok, which means “Delivery Nation,” is focusing the first stage of its overseas expansion on Japan. Last month, Woowa Brothers formed a joint venture called Line Bros. Corp with messaging app Line.
Line Bros. Corp currently operates a food delivery service called Line Wow in Japan. Line Wow’s app is separate from Line messenger, but taps into its base of 54 million registered users in Japan.
For more information about Baedal Minjok, check out Danny Crichton’s March article for TechCrunch, which is about controversy over its fee structure as the app became increasingly ubiquitous in Seoul.
Goldman Sachs is also an investor in GrubHub, a publicly listed food delivery service that operates in 700 U.S. cities and London.
In a statement, Stephanie Hui, head of private equity investments at Goldman Sachs in Asia (excluding Japan) said that the firm’s investment in Baedal Minjok gives it the opportunity to tap into Korea’s growing e-commerce industry.
“Korea is one of the most attractive e-commerce markets in the world. This investment in Baedal Minjok’s innovation and talented management team exemplifies Goldman Sachs’ aim to partner with Korean corporate leaders who are able to expand globally,” she said.