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Startups

Naver-invested startups' combined valuation increases sixfold; tops $1 bn

Naver's startup accelerator highlights collaboration in nurturing startups' growth

By Jun 09, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Yang Sang-hwan, the head of D2 Startup Factory
Yang Sang-hwan, the head of D2 Startup Factory
 
The combined valuation of some 70 tech startups that received funding from the platform giant Naver Corp. has reached around 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion), according to the company's startup accelerator D2 Startup Factory (D2SF) during an online media roundtable on Jun. 8.

Founded in 2015, the South Korea-based accelerator has invested 40 billion won in 70 startups so far, of which about 70% of them went on to secure follow-on investments and 99% of them are still in operation.

To date, the Naver-invested startups have raised a total of 337.8 billion won with their valuations increasing sixfold on average since Naver’s initial investment. Also, more than 70% of the companies have current collaborations with Naver.

“Rather than immediate profitability, our focus is on a company's potential such as its superior technology, and the areas of business that the technology can be used in as well as its synergy with Naver's services," said Yang Sang-hwan, the head of D2SF.

The accelerator has been investing in a wide range of sectors, including location data startups such as Loplat and Idecca; a real-time bacteria detection sensor maker The.Wave.Talk; AI-based emotion recognition solution provider Genesis Labs; and Deep Medi, which developed the technology to measure blood pressure via smartphone cameras.

“Naver’s D2SF was the only investor that believed in us from the beginning in 2017 when we didn't even have a corporate body,” said June Paik, the chief executive of artificial intelligence startup Furiosa AI, which recently secured an additional 80 billion won.

Recently, the accelerator has been increasing investments in startups that can create synergy with Naver's existing businesses. For example, Morai Inc., an autonomous vehicle simulation startup, set up its autonomous driving simulator using data from Naver Labs -- which then used the simulator to create an autonomous driving system.

Meanwhile, Naver plans to create a space for startups at its newly constructed headquarters set for completion this year.

Write to Joo-wan Kim at kjwan@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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