Kurly decides to go public at home

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Kurly decides to go public at home

Kurly CEO Sophie Kim speaks to reporters at a press event held in March. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

Kurly CEO Sophie Kim speaks to reporters at a press event held in March. [JOONGANG PHOTO]

 
Kurly, operator of e-commerce platform Market Kurly, announced it will go public on a domestic exchange, scrapping a previous plan to be listed in the United States.  
 
Kurly said in a statement Friday that Korea Exchange’s improved efforts to help Korean unicorn companies go public affected its decision.  
 
Market Kurly specializes in groceries, but also sells other products like cosmetics items and electronics devices.  
 
In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kurly was considering a U.S. listing and that it was “discussing with bankers its plan to go public before the end of the year,” quoting Kurly CEO Sophie Kim in an interview.  
 
But the IPO date could be pushed back depending on the progress of technical procedures, according to Kurly Friday.  
 
On the same day, Kurly announced it has raised $200 million in Series F funding.  
 
Funding rounds provide outside investors the opportunity to invest in a growing company. Series F funding means that it received the sixth round of investment.  
 
The latest round was led by existing investors, like Aspex Management, DST Global, Sequoia Capital China, and new investors like Millennium Management and CJ Logistics.  
 
Kurly said the corporation is now valued at $2.2 billion.  
 
“With funds from this round, Kurly plans to further advance its service technology and enhance operational efficiency,” said the company in a statement.
 
“From innovating automated supply chain systems to augmenting ordering and payment platforms, Kurly is pinpointing its focused approach at e-commerce fulfillment to satisfy growing customer demands.”  
 
Kurly added it will spend the investment on building logistics infrastructure and recruiting new talent.  
 
Since Market Kurly started in 2015, it has never reported a profit.  
 
Its operating loss last year was 116.2 billion won ($103.75 million) on 953 billion won in sales.  
 
The sales were up 124 percent on year, while the operating loss grew 15 percent during the period.  
 
“We are delighted to have new capital which would allow us to further invest in logistics infrastructure, people and technology to continue to innovate mobile grocery market and improve lives of consumers, producers and workers,” said Sophie Kim in a statement.  
 
Kim held 6.67 percent of Kurly as of last year.  
 
Other e-commerce operators seeking to go public include TMON and Oasis.
 
TMON said it plans to file for an IPO in the second half of the year.  
 
 

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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