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Startups

Sendbird achieves unicorn status via Series C round

Apr 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Sendbird team at an event in Hong Kong. CEO Kim Dong-shin is on the far left.
Sendbird team at an event in Hong Kong. CEO Kim Dong-shin is on the far left.

Sendbird, an in-app chat and messaging service provider, has become South Korea's freshest unicorn startup, obtaining an enterprise value of over 1 trillion won ($894 million) in its latest $100 million Series C fund rounding, according to the company on Apr. 7.

Investors included Steadfast Capital Ventures, Emergence Capital, Tiger Global Management, Iconiq Capital, and Shasta Ventures. 

The company plans to use the proceeds to provide a better working environment for its employees, alongside making additional investments into research and development.

SendBird builds a customizable messaging application programming interface (API) for companies' mobile apps and websites. The company provides services to high-profile companies, such as the country's leading KB Bank, domestic game developer Nexon, as well as DHL and online community Reddit. The platform has over 150 million monthly active users worldwide.

Sendbird achieves unicorn status via Series C round

Sendbird was founded in 2013 by chief executive Kim Dong-shin when he launched the childcare community app Smile Family.  Upon launching the service, Kim noticed that messaging apps showed a strong growth trend, which prompted him to set up a chat service and sell it to various companies.

Since its establishment, the company has fared well. In 2016, Sendbird was added to the list of startup accelerator Y Combinator's top companies lineup, which boosted its market presence. Also, the company's MAU has surged threefold since 2019 and Sendbird currently holds the title as the world’s leading B2B messaging service provider.

Last April, the company acquired LinearHub, the developer of enterprise video conference platform Roundee, to expand the scope of its operations from solely chat API to include audio and visual call APIs. 

Sendbird has raised a total of $220 million in funding. The company completed its Series A and Series B rounds in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Its headquarters is based in Silicon Valley, with offices in New York, London and Singapore.

Write to Jong-woo Kim at jongwoo@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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