List of K-pop DearU platform for the benefit of venture capital firms

Korea's time


List of K-pop DearU platform for the benefit of venture capital firms

Image captured from the official DearU website / Courtesy of DearU
Image captured from the official DearU website / Courtesy of DearU

By Anna J. Park

DearU, a fan communications platform company, is expected to be listed on Kosdaq early next month, and local venture capitalists who have bet on the company’s success are expected to generate good returns on their investments. .

A subsidiary of SM Entertainment, DearU’s IPO will take place on November 10 with 3.3 million shares offered. Since the price range of the shares offered is between 18,000 won and 24,000 won ($ 15 to 20), the company could raise up to 79.2 billion won through the listing.

Various venture capital firms, including Albatross Investment, SBI Investment, Union Investment, BOKWANG Venture Capital and BSK Investment, currently hold stakes in DearU in the form of stocks, convertible bonds (CBs) or convertible preferred shares ( CPS). On average, they are expected to triple their initial investment through registration.

The fan platform market is growing rapidly as the popularity of K-pop and K-dramas continues to increase around the world. DearU is now competing with “Weverse” – a similar mobile-based fan platform app operated by HYBE, BTS’s management company – for the market leader.

Launched in July 2017 with an initial capital of 6 billion won, DearU’s first line of business was “Everysing”, a mobile karaoke service. But it was not as lucrative as the company had hoped.

In 2019, the company transformed into a digital platform by acquiring Brinicle, a local software company that previously developed mobile messaging programs for apps.

From 2020, the company experienced substantial growth in the entertainment platform business and launched “DearU bubble”, a private one-on-one messaging platform, through which K fans -pop or K-drama could exchange messages, ranging from photos and videos, with their favorite stars for a monthly subscription of 4,500 won.

DearU bubble has so far partnered with 23 entertainment companies in Korea and the messaging platform now has 1 million subscribers.

The individual messaging platform has now become the core business of the company, which represents more than 93% of its annual turnover. The company achieved sales of 10.7 billion won in 2020; while sales reached 17.1 billion won in the first half of this year.

As Google has decided to reduce its app store commissions by 15% from the current 30%, DearU’s profitability is expected to improve further from next year.

The main shareholder of DearU is SM Studios, which is a key subsidiary of SM Entertainment. Another music label, JYP Entertainment, also acquired a 23.3% stake in DearU earlier this year. JYP acquired a 9.1% stake in DearU in May for 8.4 billion won, followed by the purchase of another 14.1% stake in June.

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