Author: Kate Park

Business Canvas, a Korea-based document management SaaS company, closes $2.5M seed round



Business Canvas, the South Korean document management SaaS company behind Typed, announced today it has raised a $2.5 million seed round led by Mirae Asset Venture Investment, with participation from Kakao Ventures and Nextrans Inc.

The seed round will be used for accelerating product development and the global launch of an open beta for its AI-powered document management platform. The company opened an office in Santa Clara, California this year to spur its global expansion.

The problem that Business Canvas has identified and is building solutions to target is the challenge faced by people who are tasked with ingesting information and producing writing or decisions based on that: lawyers, entrepreneurs, researchers, students and communications workers like journalists among them. People are bombarded with information these days, thanks to technology. That might be good in some cases, but in the world of work, and specifically written work, there is such a thing as too much information, which can take a lot of time to process, and thus eat into the time we need to produce work based on that information.

Business Canvas, founded in 2020 by CEO Woojin Kim, Brian Shin, Seungmin Lee, Dongjoon Shin and Clint Yoo, is hoping to solve the challenge that every knowledge worker and writer faces: spending more time on research and file organization than the actual content output they need to create.

“In fact, people commit over 30% of their working hours trying to search for that file we once saved in (Read more...)

AI voice, synthetic speech company LOVO gets $4.5M pre-series A funding



“Voice skins” have become a very popular feature for AI-based voice assistants, to help personalize some of the more anodyne aspects of helpful, yet also kind of bland and robotic, speaking voices you get on services like Alexa. Now a startup that is building voice skins for different companies to use across their services, and for third parties to create and apply as well, is raising some funding to fuel its growth.

LOVO, the Berkeley, California-based artificial intelligence (AI) voice & synthetic speech tool developer, this week closed a $4.5 million pre-Series A round led by South Korean Kakao Entertainment along with Kakao Investment and LG CNS, an IT solution affiliate of LG Group.

Its previous investor SkyDeck Fund and a private investor, vice president of finance at DoorDash Michael Kim, also joined the funding.

The proceeds will be used to propel its research and development in artificial intelligence and synthetic speech and grow the team.

“We plan on hiring heavily across all functions, from machine learning, artificial intelligence and product development to marketing and business development. The fund will also be allocated to securing resources such as GPUs and CPUs,” co-founder and chief operating officer Tom Lee told TechCrunch.

LOVO, founded in November 2019, has 17 people including both co-founders, chief executive office Charlie Choi and COO Lee.

The company plans to double down on improving LOVO’s AI model, enhance its AI voices and develop a better product that surpasses any that exists in the current market, Lee (Read more...)

South Korean online secondhand marketplace Danggeun Market raises $162M at a $2.7B valuation



Danggeun Market, the publisher of South Korea’s hyperlocal community app Karrot, announced it has raised $162 million in a Series D round of funding with a valuation of $2.7 billion. (By the way, Danggeun means carrot in Korean.)

This round of funding was led by DST Global, with additional participation from Aspex Management, Reverent Partners and existing investors such as Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Kakao Ventures, Strong Ventures and Capstone Partners.

The latest funding officially makes Danggeun Market a unicorn, with $205 million total raised.

The company plan to strengthen its capabilities in local commerce with Danggeun Pay, or Karrot Pay, which is set to launch this year, and Danggeun’s platform Karrot enables approximately 300,000 local SMB partners to go digitalized by offering offline to online (O2O) service. Danggeun Market’s consumers access everything from fresh local produce delivery to essential services, including cleaning, education, real estate brokerage and used cars in their local communities.

The funding proceeds from the new round will be used for further global expansion, business diversification, R&D, investment in advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning technology and recruiting team talent.

“Danggeun Market plans to focus on accelerating further overseas market expansion for the next two years after closing Series D funding, and in South Korea, we will diversify our business, aiming to be a super app,” co-founder and co-CEO Gary Kim said in an exclusive conversation with TechCrunch.

Danggeun Market, (Read more...)