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Your latest reminder that the startup world does not end at the shores of Silicon Valley comes today courtesy of Coupang, the Korean e-commerce service that just raised $1 billion from SoftBank.
SoftBank today said it has invested the gargantuan sum in Coupang, a company that was founded in 2010 and has become Korea’s largest online retailer. Not only did the company grow 80 percent in the past year, but it claims that mobile commerce accounts for 75 percent of revenues.
Coupang and SoftBank claim it’s the largest single round of venture capital raised anywhere in the world so far this year.
SoftBank and Coupang said the actual funding would close in early July, and it would bring the total raised by Coupang to $1.5 billion. That’s less than Uber’s mega-mega-mega fundraising spree the past year, but still an impressive amount by anyone’s measure.
The company said it intends to use the money to build out its same-day delivery service as well as expand its research offices in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Shanghai and Seoul. The company focuses on speed of delivery using a combination of logistics technology it has built coupled with an army of so-called “Coupang Men” who both deliver goods and act as customer service reps.
“SoftBank aims to grow by investing in Internet companies around the world and supporting disruptive entrepreneurs who share a common vision to contribute to people’s lives through the Information Revolution,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of SoftBank, in a statement. “SoftBank looks forward to supporting Coupang as they further revolutionize e-commerce.”
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