There has been a lot of innovation and improvement in Korea’s Financial sector, but there is still room for more and experts see a promising future in the South Korean Fintech industry. Korean fintech startups are popular investment attractions for VCs. Cryptocurrency, blockchain, P2P crowdfunding, money transferring, and P2P lending startups continue to get funding in Korea. The Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) even announced their plans to regulate virtual currencies like Bitcoin in 2017. Shinhan Bank was one of the first Korean banks to experiment with cryptocurrency remittance.
Blocko is a blockchain technology startup that developed the platform called CoinStack v3.0 and was able to raise $1.3 million in their series A funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. The7 were the winners of the First Class Good Software (GS) certificate. The Korea Exchange launched its Korea Startup Market (KSM) thanks to Blocko and their blockchain technology. They are partnering with Samsung SDS, CISCO, and others to use blockchain. Their partnership with Samsung SDS is a joint venture that will be focused on the development of blockchain applications such as authentication, payments, and remittance.
Some of their clients include Paygate, Lottecard, KISA, Coinstack, Korea’s JB Bank and others. Block’s Coinstack helps users as well as developers to create, test, and use blockchain solutions across public/private/cloud blockchains. With the help of Blocko’s development kit (SDK) on their platform, innovation, and improvement into blockchain are possible. Coinstack supports all types of applications/protocols such as Ethereal, smart contracts, and IoT devices.
4) Honest Fund
Korean fintech startup company Honest Fund is a P2P crowdfunding company that raised over $6 million in funding led by KB Investments, Shinhan Capital, Hanwha Investment, and others. It is a peer to peer personal loan lending service that connects borrowers and lenders directly without the need of banks. These funds will not impact the borrower’s credit rating and will charge between 5% to 15%with the average being 9%. They offer a different personal credit review model compared to the banks that only look at a person’s credit rating. They also offer a reasonable repayment structure. Honest Fund can provide accurate risk analysis on the borrowers and adjust the interest rates. They have a strategic partnership with Shin Han Bank and already have successfully tested the service. Honest Fund is regarded in Korea as the only P2P financial enterprise that is recognized by financial organizations.
3) PeopleFund Company
PeopleFund is the first Peer-to-Peer lending platform through a Bank in Korea focused on unsecured personal loans. In 2015 alone PeopleFund has processed over $13 million in loans. Traditional financing might not be for the common people. Even for experts, this could be hard to understand. PeopleFund gives ordinary people new choices while at the same time offering transparency to make the best decisions. In order to provide the best service possible, PeopleFund was made by experts from both domestic and overseas companies such as investment banks, credit rating companies, strategic consulting firms, IT companies, and VC firms.
2) 8 percent
8 percent is a P2P lending company that raised over $13 million. Their APR is set at 8 percent which is why the company is called 8 percent. Established in late 2014 this P2P lending company has become the pioneer in this industry. 8 percent reviews an application and based on credit score and other measures. It is cheaper for clients to use 8 percent than a bank and therefore 8 percent has been able to grow every month. Loans for startup employees and a bridge for big companies have been their new model in 2016. They made news in 2016 for getting funding of $10 million from KG Inicis, one of the leading payment gateway companies in Korea. Bringing together investors and creditworthy borrowers are what 8 percent brings to the table. Add that to the smarter and faster way of investing and borrowing money and you have one of the leading P2P leading companies in Korea to watch out for.
1) Viva Republica
Viva Republica runs a money transferring service called TOSS which raised over $48 million in funding from Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Paypal, and KTB Network. This means that in total Viva Republica has been able to raise $76 million. They are known for Toss, which is a financial services platform that makes payment system easier by only asking users for 1 password to go along with three easy steps. The max they can transfer per transaction is $430 which makes everyday payments easy. Now they have over 6 million registered users in Korea and Toss has already processed over $3 billion in transactions. Toss was the second most used app among Android users in Korea in 2016. Toss now does credit scoring as well as micro-loans and is looking into cross-border money transfers and loan brokerages. With so many Koreans using smartphones and making payments through their phones, Toss is not expected to be slowing down anytime soon. They are also looking to integrate Toss with PayPal and Venmo. Toss is looking to expand into Southeast Asia in the future.