Fintech Startups

South Korea’s Leading P2P Money Transfer App Toss Raises $48 Million to Become a Full-Service Consumer Finance App

Viva Republica, makers of Toss, Korea’s most popular P2P money transfer app, announced today that it has closed Series C funding worth KRW 55 billion (USD $48 million). Goodwater Capital led the round, with PayPal Holdings, Inc.(Nasdaq: PYPL), Bessemer Venture Partners, Altos Ventures, and Partech Ventures participating.

In the two years since it launched, Toss has processed more than USD $3 billion in transactions from its 6 million users. This makes Toss 10 times larger than all of its competitors in Korea combined, according to data from the Bank of Korea. Over the last twelve months, Toss also grew its user base 13-fold, primarily through word of mouth.

These figures not only make Toss Korea’s most popular money transfer app, but also make Viva Republica one of the world’s fastest growing fintech companies.

“Toss’ growth as a product and a team has been phenomenal,” said Eric Kim Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Goodwater Capital. “It has consistently proven to be world class in terms of product and technology, unlocking unprecedented growth.They are on track to  serve 50% of Korea’s millennials by the end of this year and have a solid product road map to launch services for all user groups as well. There is a clear path for them becoming one of Asia’s most significant fintech unicorns.”

This most recent investment brings Viva Republica’s fundraising total to KRW 87.5 billion (approximately USD $76 million).

Their aim with this round is to become Korea’s first full-service consumer finance application on mobile. Viva Republica has already launched three new products, available on mobile for the first time in Korea, that complement the core Toss money transfer service. Toss Loans streamlines mobile loan processing time to under a minute, Toss Financial Dashboard provides a complete picture of a user’s financial accounts in a single app, and Toss Credit Score Monitoring service helps users maintain a healthy credit score.

A favorable relationship with Korea’s financial regulators and agreements with 18 of Korea’s 19 major banks also set the company on a firm footing for future rapid growth.

This round of funding cements Viva Republica’s relationship with investors that backed some of the world’s top, tech-driven consumer services. PayPal,  a global technology platform and digital payments leader, also owns Venmo, a popular social-enabled mobile payment service that lets people in the U.S. make and share payments with friends, family, and select businesses. Bessemer Venture Partners has funded some of Silicon Valley’s biggest success stories.

“We are incredibly impressed with Viva Republica’s rapid growth, widespread user adoption, and product execution. It has all the ingredients necessary to become a dominant, market leading financial services platform in Korea, and we believe there are a number of compelling near term monetization opportunities for the company. Bessemer is excited to support their continued growth and development,” said Talia Goldberg, investment professional at Bessemer Venture Partners.

SG Lee, a former dentist turned entrepreneur, was personally frustrated with how archaic the web and mobile banking experience was in Korea. He founded Viva Republica in August 2013, with a mission of making consumer finance frictionless. The company’s first app was a revolution for P2P money transfers, reducing the process from 10 steps to three.

“As the market leader for P2P money transfers, we have an incredible opportunity to expand our product offering and user base in Korea, where there’s a tendency for vertical markets to consolidate to one or two top players,” said SG Lee, Viva Republica’s founder and CEO. “We’re fully capitalizing on that opportunity by rapidly rolling out new services that have been proven in other markets. Using this strategy we’re working towards offering a seamless user experience across all facets of consumer finance within one ultra simple mobile application.”

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