Naver Corp., South Korea’s leading Internet portal operator, shared the D2 Startup Factory’s (D2SF) robust performance and future investment plans. D2SF announced that the Naver-backed startups’ combined valuation has amounted to 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) during a digital roundtable.
Providing Startup Support
Since its establishment in 2015, D2SF has vastly accelerated startup growth and supported profitable businesses with advanced technological skills. The South Korean tech startup accelerator has already injected around 40 billion won ($36 million), helping a total of 70 small companies so far.
Meanwhile, the Naver-backed startups have attracted a combined 337.8 billion won ($ million), with their average valuations growing up to six times. According to the platform giant, around 70% of the participating startups also secured more investments after receiving Naver’s initial support.
Thanks to Naver’s support, the startups generated a 99% survival rate. Additionally, over 70% of the Naver-invested companies continue to collaborate with Naver in numerous sectors. Some of these areas include artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous driving.
“We have realized that there is a limit to what Naver can do alone,” said Yang Sang-Hwan, Head of Naver’s D2SF. “So theoretically and ideally, we must seek cooperation with companies with innovative technologies.” Yang also added that although the company may face challenges, it would continue pursuing its goals.
Investing in Various Sectors
D2SF also said that it would mainly cultivate its potentials, especially in the advanced technology segment, rather than speedy profitability. Over the recent months, Naver’s in-house accelerator considerably increased seed investments in startups in various sectors.
In particular, it chose startups with the potential to generate outstanding synergy with its parent company’s existing platforms and services. For instance, D2SF recently financed Idecca and Loplat, two location-related data technology companies.
D2SF also backed The.Wave.Talk, a real-time bacteria sensor developer, and Genesis Labs, an AI emotion solutions provider. Moreover, D2SF invested in Deep Medi, a startup that created a blood pressure-measuring and monitoring technology for smartphones.
What’s more, D2SF’s head said that Naver actively looks for collaborations with companies in the webtoon and e-commerce sectors. Previously, Naver announced it would be bringing Smart Store to Spain, further strengthening its foothold in European markets. Naver also acquired Munpia, South Korea’s third-largest webtoon platform, increasing its entertainment content production and IP portfolio.
At present, D2SF manages a startup workspace in the Gangnam area in Seoul. As part of its startup support, Naver would establish more office spaces at its new headquarters. Naver also plans to increase its merger and acquisition operations after seeing a surge of innovative companies and players.
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