[Photo provided by SoCar]
SoCar, South Korea’s first mobility platform and one of select unicorn startups in the country, is forming an underwriting team to ready the first ride-sharing initial public offering.
SoCar on Monday sent out invitations to six brokerage houses – Mirae Asset Daewoo, Samsung Securities, Korea Investment & Securities, NH Investment Securities, KB Securities and Shinhan Financial Investment – to design IPO outline by Nov. 20, according to industry sources on Tuesday.
When and where the stock would head will be decided once the syndicate team is formed.
SoCar, founded in 2011, is a pioneer in the Korean car-sharing market whose rigidity due to strong taxi industry is so notorious that multinationals like Uber and locals could not last.
Its success owes to subscription-based car-sharing service SoCar Pass, launched in 2018, that allows users to pick a vehicle from the firm’s fleet whether it be compact vehicle like Kia’s Morning, imported luxury car like Mercedes-Benz or family van like Kia’s Carnival at a monthly fee of 14,900 won ($13.4). Its number of subscribers exceeded 300,000.
The company offers diverse services to meet the different needs of customers, such as mid- to long-term rental service SoCar Plan, car-sharing service SoCar Pairing and corporate vehicle service SoCar Business. It has recently launched online secondhand vehicle trading platform Casting.
It has made a stunning comeback to the country’s car-hailing market after it was forced to fold its popular van-hailing service Tada due to strong opposition from the taxi industry and the country’s changed transportation law.
SoCar has become the country’s first mobility startup to be valued above 1 billion U.S. dollars. Last month, it bagged 60 billion won investment from SG Private Equity and Songhyun Investment, joining the ranks of unicorn startups whose unlisted valuation exceeds $1 billion along with 11 others including Coupang, Woowa Brothers, Viva Republica and Krafton.
Market watchers expect SoCar would benefit from the government’s new set of IPO guidelines that lower the listing barriers for promising but money-losing startups. SoCar’s revenue rose 38 percent year over year to 256.7 billion won last year, but operating loss expanded 53 percent to 71.6 billion won. Net loss also grew almost twice from 40.9 billion won to 81 billion won over the same period.
By Kang Woo-seok, Kang In-seon and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]