[Photo by Kim Ho-young]
South Korea’s pioneering fresh food delivery platform Market Kurly readying IPO at home is open to collaboration with e-commerce leaders Naver and Coupang to strengthen competitiveness of Korean e-commerce power.
“We are open to cooperation with Naver or Coupang because we cannot be good at everything,” Market Kurly CEO Sophie Kim told Maeil Business Newspaper in an exclusive interview. “We can do better if we share our strengths, and we have already been maintaining partnership with manufacturers to help them reflect our insight on customers in their product planning.”
The pioneer in early morning fresh food delivery platform has recently decided to go public at home instead of overseas. “It is important to work with local shareholders who are well aware of our service rather than going public on the United States where we don’t operate,” Kim said.
There had been rumors that the company would follow the footstep of Coupang after its spectacular IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in March.
“We differ with Coupang. Coupang focuses on building up economies of scale whereas we want to locate and deliver the best possible products to our customers,” she said.
The company plans to allocate shares to its vendors for symbiotic growth.
It will start forming a syndicate underwriting team this month, but is yet to set a timetable for listing. For IPO, the company plans to offer the price at an “appropriate” level as it envisions sharing returns over a long run with confidence of growing much bigger in the future, she said.
The fresh food market at home is still in burgeoning stage and has a big room to grow. Once Market Kurly comfortably commands the local market, it will be ready to explore overseas opportunities, according to Kim.
The early morning delivery market has a potential to grow 10 times bigger because retail shopping channels are quickly shifting to online, she said.
Market Kurly has been doubling its revenue every year over the past six years in operation. Its sales last year ballooned to 950.9 billion won ($827 million) from 2.9 billion won in its first year in 2015. It is expected to surpass 2 trillion won in sales this year as its sales during the first six months are estimated to have jumped 67 percent on year, she said citing data from WiseApp.
[Photo by Kim Ho-young]
Although its operating loss has widened from 5.4 billion won in 2015 to 113.4 billion won in 2020 due to the aggressive investments, it recently raised 225.4 billion won in Series F funding with its delivery partner CJ Logistics contributing 30 billion won. The company bagged 17 billion won investment in 2016, 67 billion won in 2018, 135 billion won in 2019 and 200 billion won in 2020.
The new proceeds will be spent on expanding logistics centers. It plans to add its third distribution center to provide its early morning delivery service to more regions. Kim said the new warehouse may be established in densely populated southern cities such as Busan, Ulsan or Daegu.
The company could also benefit from the intense competition in the fast delivery market. “Early morning delivery is the best delivery model,” she said, adding that the company could add different delivery services if the cost issue is resolved.
By Park Dae-ui, Kim Kyung-do and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]