Transaction includes participation from Wellington Management
MUSINSA, an online fashion platform in South Korea, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced the signing of definitive agreements under which funds managed by KKR will lead the US$190 million Series C fundraise of MUSINSA (the “Company”), with participation from Wellington Management, one of the world’s largest independent investment management firms.
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Founded in 2001 as an online sneaker community, MUSINSA is today an online fashion marketplace in South Korea that features more than 8,000 local and foreign designer brands and an in-house brand (musinsa standard), anchoring the creator economy for fashion in South Korea. Over the years, MUSINSA has expanded to include a comprehensive ecosystem including communities, a brand incubator (MUSINSA PARTNERS), a direct-to-consumer brand operator, and an offline multicultural lounge (musinsa terrace) that allows for offline interactions with its customers and provides online-based fashion brands with a physical space for pop-up stores. In 2023, Fast Company named MUSINSA as among the “10 most innovative Asia Pacific companies of 2023” for “globalizing K-fashion.”1
This transaction marks KKR’s first technology growth investment in Korea as part of its Asia Next Generation Technology (“NGT”) strategy, which seeks to support the growth of innovative, disruptive companies in Asia Pacific across key themes, including software, consumer technology and FinTech.
Mukul Chawla, Partner and Head of Growth Equity, Asia Pacific for KKR, said, “MUSINSA has developed itself as a top consumer Internet platform in Korea and a differentiated marketplace by its ability to scale rising brands, enable the creator economy for fashion, engage and provide a high-quality e-commerce experience for customers. We see enormous opportunity for MUSINSA to build on its leading position in a fast-growing K-fashion market that continues to shift online and expand globally on the back of K-culture’s explosive reach. We are excited to partner with the management team and look to leverage KKR’s global network, operational expertise, and deep technology experience to take MUSINSA to its next phase of growth.”
Munil Han, CEO of MUSINSA, said, “We are delighted to welcome global investors of KKR and Wellington’s caliber, which we see as a recognition of the quality of MUSINSA’s platform, and the potential of the Korean online fashion market. With this latest investment, MUSINSA looks to continue scaling our platform and creating new standards of success in the online and offline markets with domestic and foreign brands.”
This Series C is the Company’s third fundraise and follows its successful KRW 130 billion won Series B round in 2021 and KRW 100 billion won Series A round in 2019.
KKR makes its investment as part of its Asia NGT strategy and from funds managed by KKR. Other investments from the strategy include Lenskart, an omni-channel eyewear retailer in India; Advanced Navigation, a developer of AI-powered robotics and navigation technology in Australia; Privy, a digital identity provider in Indonesia; GrowSari, a business-to-business e-commerce platform serving small-and-medium enterprises (“SMEs”) in the Philippines; KiotViet, a software platform for SMEs in Vietnam; and NetStars, the operator of Japan’s largest QR code payment gateway. Additional details of the transaction were not disclosed.
MUSINSA is one of the largest online and offline fashion business companies in Korea, and offers more than 8,000 domestic and foreign brands, including young casual, street, contemporary, formal, sports, and luxury, etc. The company has more than 13 million members and recorded annual GMV of more than KRW 3 trillion won (US$2.35 billion) as of 2022. MUSINSA strives to expand the diversity of the fashion ecosystem based on the core value that the success of partner brands is our success. The company operates a fashion-specialized venture capital subsidiary to energize new brands with great potential to take a step forward in growth. MUSINSA has a diverse business portfolio, including its core service Musinsa Store, online lifestyle select shop 29CM, online re-sell platform soldout, and in-house fashion brand musinsa standard. Currently, MUSINSA, which has unrivaled influence as the No. 1 in the online fashion market in Korea, is concentrating on strengthening its capabilities to exert itself in the offline fashion business as well. MUSINSA is also operating a 'global store' that is available in 13 overseas countries, including Asia, America, and Oceania, to help small and medium-sized Korean brands advance overseas and to provide a point of contact for meeting global customers who are interested in Korean fashion. Since investing in the Envisioning Climate Solution Fund, MUSINSA has continuously paid attention to various social issues, including climate change, and is concentrating on fulfilling its social responsibilities as Korea's leading fashion company.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life, and reinsurance products under the management of Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
About Wellington Management
Wellington Management is one of the world’s largest independent investment management firms, serving as a trusted adviser to over 2,500 clients in more than 60 countries. The firm manages more than US$1 trillion for clients, including pensions, endowments and foundations, insurers, and global wealth managers. Wellington offers investment solutions that span global equity, fixed income, currency, commodity, alternatives, and private markets. Wellington Private Investing has raised nearly US$8 billion in global assets and invests in early-stage venture through late-stage growth across multiple sectors (consumer, technology, health care, financial services, biotechnology, and climate technology) and geographies (Asia, Europe, and the Americas). The Private Investing Team leverages Wellington’s 1,000+ investment professionals around the world, combining deep private market experience with public market expertise, extensive networks, and robust research to benefit both investors and entrepreneurs. For more on Wellington Private Investing, please visit wellington.com/privateinvesting.