MUSINSA, an online fashion platform in South Korea, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced the signing of definitive agreements under which KKR will participate as the lead investor in the US$ 190 million Series C fundraise of MUSINSA, with participation from Wellington Management, one of the world’s largest independent investment management firms.
Founded in 2001 as an online sneaker community, MUSINSA is today an online fashion marketplace in South Korea that features over 7,000 local designer brands and an in-house fashion brand, musinsa standard, anchoring the creator economy for fashion in South Korea. Over the years, MUSINSA has expanded to become a comprehensive fashion 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.”
This transaction marks KKR’s first technology growth investment in Korea from its Next Generation Technology (NGT) strategy in Asia, 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 as 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.”
Han Mun-il, 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.”
MUSINSA’s Series C is the company’s third successful fundraise in 2023, which has raised KRW 430 billion won (~US$330 million) in total, and follows MUSINSA’s Series B round in 2021 and Series A round in 2019.
KKR makes its investment from its NGT strategy in Asia and 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 B2B e-commerce platform serving small-and-medium enterprises in the Philippines, and NetStars, the operator of Japan’s largest QR code payment gateway. Additional details of the transaction are not disclosed.