Korean fashion platform Musinsa pocketed $190 million Series C led by KKR at $2.7 billion valuation

Musinsathe Seoul-based fashion market, said Wednesday it has raised $190 million in a Series C funding round led by KKR, with participation from Wellington Management.

The new capital puts Musinsa’s valuation at around $2.76 billion (over 3 trillion won), according to a source familiar with the situation. The Korean fashion e-commerce startup declined to provide exact valuation figures but confirmed to Zero2Billions it was over 3 trillion won. The post-money valuation increases from the previous $2 billion (2.5 trillion won) in 2021 as the startup ramps up. $115 million Series B round from Sequoia Capital and IMM Investment. His total raised since 2001 now stands at around $330 million (430 billion won).

With Series C financing, Musinsa will continue to grow its online and offline businesses, expand into overseas markets, and make acquisitions to diversify its portfolio. Musinsa, previously only sold men’s clothing products, acquired online womenswear shopping platforms 29CM and StyleShare for $265 million in 2021 to expand its client base and product categories.

When asked about plans for an initial public offering, a spokesperson for Musinsa told Zero2Billions that it “plans to discuss a possible IPO in the second half of 2024.”

Along with its local competitors like Kakao fashion platform Zigzag, Korean retail giant Shinsegae’s W conceptAnd Brandi is powered by Naver, Musinsa is one of the largest and most popular fashion marketplaces, offering more than 8,000 local and international fashion brands to 13 million users. The startup claims over $2.35 billion (3 trillion won) in annual gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2022.

Back in 2018, Musinsa founded a venture capital arm, Musinsa Partnersto support small and medium startups in the fashion industry.

Musinsa recorded sales of $545 million (708.3 billion won) in 2022, up 54 percent on year, more than tripling its 2019 sales before the pandemic. However, its operating profit plummeted to $2.5 million in 2022 due to excessive investment in international expansion and loss of SLDT sneaker resale unit, per media reports.

“Musinsa has established itself as a top consumer internet platform in Korea as a marketplace with its ability to scale up-and-coming brands, enable the creator economy for fashion, engage and deliver a high-quality e-commerce experience for customers,” Mukul Chawla, partner and head of growth equity, Asia for KKR, said in a statement. “We see a great opportunity for Musinsa to establish its leading position in the fast-growing K-fashion (Korean fashion) market which is constantly shifting online and expanding globally thanks to K-culture’s explosive reach.

The latest funding marks KKR’s first technology growth investment in South Korea in line with its next generation technology (NGT) strategy, which supports innovative Asia-based companies in software, consumer technology and fintech. Other investments from the strategy of private equity firms include Lenskart, an India-based omnichannel eyewear retailer; Advanced Navigation, an Australian developer of AI-based robotics technology; Privy, an Indonesian digital identity provider; GrowSari, a Philippines-based B2B e-commerce platform for small and medium enterprises; NetStars, a Japanese QR code payment gateway operator.

More to follow…

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