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IPOs

Kakao's edtech startup eyes 2022 listing

Feb 22, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Yanadoo logo
Yanadoo logo

South Korea-based edtech startup Yanadoo is the latest affiliate of Kakao Corp., the country's largest messaging app operator, to prepare for an initial public offering as platform companies build momentum amid the global pandemic.

On Feb. 22, Yanadoo, a provider of English educational content and services, announced plans to go public next year. The company is weighing between the country's main bourse, Kospi, and the tech-heavy Kosdaq for its trading debut.

The Korean edtech startup has hired Korea Investment & Securities Co. and Samsung Securities Co. as IPO managers. The two firms also handled the listing of Kakao Games Corp., which was the first Kakao affiliate to be listed last year and touted as the year's IPO blockbuster.

Founded in 2014, Yanadoo merged with Kakao Kids, a children's content platform under Kakao, in January 2020. Since the merger, Yanadoo has expanded its business areas to cover a wider range of services, including healthcare, customized lectures, and children's content using You Can Do, a mobile app that rewards users when they reach their education goals.

Last September, the company raised around 30 billion won ($27 million) in funding from Korea Investment & Securities, KB Securities, Vision Asset Management, and Pureun Partners Asset Management.

“This year, we will focus on developing our healthcare service, Yanadoo Fitness, which we unveiled last year,” said Kim Jung-soo, the co-chief executive of Yanadoo. “Our goal is to go public next year with a 1 trillion won ($900 million) valuation as we boost our e-learning and home training services, both of which have seen rapid growth since the COVID-19 crisis,” Kim added.

The market is paying close attention to platform companies as contactless services have come into the limelight during the COVID-19 crisis.

Yanadoo is one of the many Kakao affiliates that have been preparing for a listing. Other Kakao affiliates, including webtoon and web novel platform Kakao Page, mobile banking app Kakao Bank, and mobile payment fintech platform Kakao Pay, are also readying to go public this year.

The market is paying close attention to platform companies as more and more non-contact services emerge during the non-contact society, and the companies are hoping to ride the momentum.

“Even though nothing official has been confirmed, we expect to see more Kakao affiliates and subsidiaries, such as Kakao Japan and Kakao Commerce, also prepare for listing,” said an IT industry official.

Write to Min-ki Koo at kook@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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