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Venture capital

Stonebridge Ventures, Capstone prepare for 2022 IPOs

KTB Network in August submitted IPO application to list by year-end

By Oct 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

(Source: Getty Images Bank)
(Source: Getty Images Bank)

Stonebridge Ventures, South Korea's most profitable venture capital firm, will submit its application for an initial public offering this month to list on the junior Kosdaq market by early next year, according to VC industry sources on Oct. 7.

Capstone Partners, an early-stage venture investor, is preparing to follow suit, with the sector leader KTB Network Co. set to become the country's first VC firm to go public since 2019.

Stonebridge has appointed Samsung Securities Co. and KB Securities Co. as its IPO managers. Since spun off in 2017 from Stonebridge Capital, a South Korean private equity firm, it has focused on technology-driven startups.

With over 700 billion won ($588 million) in assets under management, its six liquidated funds delivered an average of 2.5 times their investment to generate a total of 204.3 billion won in proceeds. That marked the largest proceeds among domestic VC firms over the past five years, according to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.

Stonebridge's other high-profile investments include SoCar, a car-sharing platform and Zigbang, a real estate app.

Stonebridge Ventures' Profitable Exit in 2021

 Company (business)  Exit method
Krafton (online games) IPO in 2021
Zigzag (fashion platform) sold to Kakao Corp.
StyleShare (fashion platform) sold to Musinsa
Jeju Beer IPO in 2021
Genesystem (biotech) IPO in 2021
Wantedlab (recruiting platform) IPO in 2021

Capstone, with about 200 billion won in AUM, is an early-stage investor in Danggeun Market Inc., Korea's leading online flea market operator. It booked about 20 times return on its investment of 15.3 billion won in Danggeun Market, which is now valued at 3 trillion won.

Capstone Partners' early-stage investments

Company (business)
Market Kurly (grocery delivery)
Zigbang (real estate app)
Jeongyookgak (meat and fish delivery)
Danggeun Market (online flea market)
Noutecompany (digital stationary marketplace)

Buoyed by lucrative exits from domestic startups in the red-hot IPO and M&A markets this year, a slew of Korean VC firms has resumed their IPO process. KTB Network, the country's first-generation VC firm, in August submitted its IPO application to the Korea Exchange.

WIth 1.1 trillion won ($924 million) in AUM, KTB had reaped 26 times return on investment in Woowa Brothers, the operator of the country's No. 1 food delivery app Baedal Minjok.

Smaller-sized Korean VC firms -- HB Investment, LB Investment and Bluepoint Partners -- are trying to jump on the IPO bandwagon as well, as part of an effort to bolster their fundraising capability.

According to Korean Venture Capital Association, the size of venture capital investment rose to the all-time high level of 4.3 trillion won last year. In the first half of this year, the amount stood at 3.7 trillion won, heading for another record high for this year.

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

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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