South Korean payment app Toss becomes ‘unicorn’ after raising $80m

Ben Heathcote

In App Deals. December 12, 2018

The company behind popular payments app Toss has become South Korea’s latest unicorn after raising $80 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. Viva Republica’s latest tranche of investment was led by Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, bringing the company’s total sum raised so far to nearly $200 million.

Existing backers including Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures also participated. Viva Republica will use the investment to accelerate its business growth and expansion.

Founded by former dentist turned entrepreneur SG Lee, Toss started out as a simple peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer service in 2015 and has since evolved to become one of the world’s fastest growing financial apps. It boasts over 10 million registered users and is on track to reach an $18 billion run-rate for transactions in 2018.

Noah Knauf, general partner at Kleiner Perkins, said:

“South Korea is one of the world’s largest economies and is at the forefront of an emerging fintech movement driven by an explosion of mobile adopters. Led by a focused and driven leadership team, Toss’ best-in-class product portfolio is poised to fundamentally transform how consumers access and manage their finances securely and with ease.”

Nikolay Kostov, partner at Ribbit Capital, added:

“We’re excited to be part of one of the fastest growing fintech company we have seen globally. As an investor focused on fintech, we believe Toss has significant possibilities ahead for growth and profitability, particularly when comparing Toss to other global fintech players and seeing the size of Korea’s financial market. We look forward to Toss’ next phase with us.”

The new round comes just six months after Viva Republica bagged $40 million from investors in June. The company now plans to establish a securities brokerage business and also expand its presence across the South East Asian market.
Toss lets users access and manage credit, loans, insurance, investment and more from a network of 25 financial service providers, including banks. Co-founder and CEO SG Lee told TechCrunch that he’s building “an Amazon for the financial services industry”.