Socar secures W50B in latest round of funding

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Socar secures W50B in latest round of funding

Korea’s largest car-sharing service Socar raised 50 billion won ($44.6 million) in its latest funding round led by Silicon Valley-based Altos Ventures, the mobility company announced Tuesday.

Three other investors - KB Investment, Stonebridge Ventures and SoftBank Ventures - also participated in the funding. The new investment comes less than a year after Socar obtained 60 billion won from IMM Private Equity, a domestic private equity firm that has also invested in K-Bank.

“We are planning to use the latest investments to expand our infrastructure and improve our services,” said a Socar spokesperson. “We will focus on widening our range of vehicle and service offerings.”

According to industry estimates, Socar is believed to be valued at around 700 billion won, 300 billion won short of the 1 trillion won-valuation needed to reach start-up “unicorn” status. Socar declined to confirm its current valuation.

Socar, established in 2012 by IT company Daum Communications founder Lee Jae-woong, is Korea’s largest car-sharing service with 11,000 vehicles and 4.5 million members. The company has 3,500 so-called Socar zones around the country where users can pick up and return reserved vehicles.

Last October, Socar also began offering van-hailing service Tada through its subsidiary VCNC. Because Tada vehicles are spacious 11-seat vehicles or larger, they are marketed as transport alternatives for airport-bound travelers and wheelchair users. Unlike taxis, Tada drivers get paid by the hour, allowing them to better focus on providing good service rather than attracting new passengers, according to the company.

“Socar’s goal is to build a mobility platform that allows people to travel optimally even if they don’t own personal vehicles,” said Socar CEO Lee Jae-woong.

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