SEOUL—Woowa Brothers Corp., a South Korean startup that operates the country’s most popular food-delivery mobile service, attracted $36 million in a new round of funding led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.
Woowa Brothers, whose “Baedal Minjok,” or “Delivery Nation,” service processed about 4 million food-delivery orders from 145,000 registered restaurants last month, has attracted attention from a number of domestic investors.
The current Goldman-led round, for 40 billion Korean won (US$36 million), will be a Series D investment, typically the fourth significant round of venture capital funding, this person said. In March, the company raised about 12 billion won ($11 million) in an earlier round of financing.
Last year, Woowa Brothers recorded about 470 million Korean won ($424,000) in net income on 10.7 billion won ($9.7 million) in revenue. Woowa Brothers is on pace to more than double its revenue this year, according to the person familiar with the matter.
Unlike peers including the U.S.’s GrubHub Inc. and the U.K.’s Just Eat PLC, Woowa Brothers’ Baedal Minjok conducts almost all of its business through mobile devices—about 99% of its transactions take place on a smartphone in South Korea.
In contrast, mobile accounted for less than half of GrubHub and Just Eat’s transactions at the end of 2013, according to the companies.
Baedal Minjok, launched in June 2010 by Kim Bong-jin, last month began expanding into Japan, through a partnership with mobile messaging Line, which is dominant in that country. Line is owned by Naver Corp., the operator of South Korea’s dominant Internet portal.
This isn’t Goldman’s first bet on a food-delivery startup. It invested in New York-based food-delivery service Seamless, which merged last year with Chicago-based GrubHub before an April initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
Goldman still holds a stake in GrubHub, which boasts a market capitalization of about $2.9 billion and has about 30,000 restaurants in its network. GrubHub logged $6.45 million in net profit for the quarter ended Sept. 30, on $61.9 million in revenue.
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