Kakao Talk developer to go public in May

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Feb 21, 2014 11:31 AM EST

The developer of Korea's popular social messaging platform Kakao Talk intends to hold an initial public offering in May, BeSuccess reported.

Kakao Corp's public debut comes after the successful listing of SundayToz in August last year and highlights the expansion of the tech industry in Korea which has received substantial exposure from international media nowadays, the report said.

BeSuccess reported that the young organization which preceded the Kakao Corp of today did not always create such a successful product. In fact, it failed in the web 2.0 projects it undertook from 2006 to 2009.

The company's fortune started to change in 2009 when the first smartphone came to Korea. They saw that the smartphone presented an opportunity for them to create an application that could be used around the world, the report said.

In 2010, Kakao Corp was established by Beom-su Kim in order to take advantage of that opportunity. He initially financed the firm with $100 million from his own pocket. He served as the company chair while Sirgoo Lee and Jae-Bum Lee became its co-chief executive officers, the report said.

Before Kakao Talk was created, the team first came up with and tested 52 smartphone services. Four people created the messaging app in a span of two months. In 2011, US-based Maverick Capital and Japan-based Cyber Agent Ventures gave Kakao its first external funding to boost growth before it would roll out its monetization approach, the report said.

The company raised a $62.9 million Series B round in May last year from China's Tencent in exchange for a 13% stake in the growing firm. The proceeds for the round were deployed for the company's expansion abroad. Domestic investors apparently missed out on one of the most promising bets in the country because Kakao did not have Korean backers, the report said. 

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