K, the head of a corporate venture investment company (CVC), often talks about “survival” these days. I often talked about surviving with various startup officials I know. “Originally, startups are told to have a runway for more than a year (the period during which startups can survive without attracting investment), but these days, I recommend that they should prepare to last for more than two years.” Assuming that the investment atmosphere can be difficult for that period of time, tell them to plan. The situation here has become very conservative these days.”

The unlisted investment industry faced a cold time as the capital market was on alert, including the economic downturn, interest rate hikes, and sluggish stock markets. It was an unlisted corporate investment market that was active despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There were not a few companies that grew at high speeds due to the pandemic, and many of them are platform companies in the e-commerce and content sectors. They are national team-level startups that are quite familiar with and used in our lives, but the situation they face in a year has become the opposite.

Funding → investment → funding → investment cycle is broken

It didn’t sound like a lie to say that a year ago, you would choose to invest. Last year alone, in line with the government’s plan to foster venture capital, a considerable amount of investment came into the market. Let’s take a look at Watcha, a native OTT (online video service) company. It is the only startup that started with more than 10 employees in the domestic OTT market, a venue for dinosaurs. Watcha, which appeared in the world in 2011, has been filming a growth drama about how small companies grow based on technology for more than a decade.

Watcha attracted 36 billion won in Series D investment in 2020 and received 49 billion won in bridge rounds (intermediate stage between investment rounds) in December last year. The corporate value was also recognized as around 330 billion won. In the meantime, there have been about 10 places that have invested believing in the possibility of Watcha, and the total amount of investment has reached 59 billion won.

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