Korean e-commerce rookie Blank is further expanding by injecting money into its new businesses before its initial public offering, according to industry sources on July 22.
“We are planning to file for preliminary screening at the Korea Exchange during the second quarter next year,” a Blank spokesperson told The Investor. “Meanwhile, we will focus more on expanding our new businesses and aggressively invest in them rather than concentrating on increasing our sales further.”
Blank CEO Nam Dae-kwang
The startup added that it will mainly spend its money on new subsidiaries, such as entertainment unit Blank C and travel agent Blank K. It also plans to increase its number of employees from 62 in 2017 to over 200 this year.
Although Blank declined to reveal the exact amount it will spend on new subsidiaries, industry insiders say it does have enough funding for aggressive injection.
Over the past two years, the firm has attracted 40 billion won ($33.96 million) in funding from investors, including Soft Bank Ventures, SBI Investment and Union Investment Partners. It was recently selected by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups as one of 13 potential unicorn startups and will receive 10 billion won.
Moreover, Blank will focus on expanding its presence overseas. It has already established wholly owned subsidiaries in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. “We are trying to expand our presence in Asia by using the same business strategy through which we became successful in Korea,” the company spokesperson added.
Established in 2016, the startup’s platform mainly offers products designed to make life more pleasant and promotes them with unique video content. It also owns around 22 private brand products, such as cosmetics brand Black Monster and Dr. Wonder. Its sales surged from 4.1 billion won in 2016 to 116.9 billion won last year. Its operating profit also increased to 13.9 billion won last year from 7.7 billion in 2017.
Currently, Blank CEO Nam Dae-kwang is the company’s biggest shareholder with a 75.8 percent stake. The second-largest shareholder, owning a 3.88 percent stake in the startup, is SB Next Innovation Fund, which is led by South Korea’s top web portal operator Naver and SoftBank Ventures Korea.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)