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KB Set to Make First Investment in Southeast Asian Startups
A 220 Bil. Won Fund Set up for Investment
KB Set to Make First Investment in Southeast Asian Startups
  • By Yoon Young-sil
  • June 27, 2019, 10:18
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KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo

KB Financial Group is investing in fintech and biotech startups in Southeast Asia and India by utilizing “KB Global Platform Fund” worth 220 billion won (US$190.23 million).

The group is planning to invest in Southeast Asian and Indian fintech startups early next month through its venture capital subsidiary, KB Investment Co., according to investment banking (IB) industry sources on June 26. However, details on investment targets and amount remain under wraps.

KB Financial is planning to discover promising overseas startups in various sectors for investment. KB Financial Group chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo has been preparing for investment in foreign startups in order to strengthen the group’s global investment capability and expand its overseas business. To this end, he set up 220 billion won (US$190.23 million) worth of “KB Global Platform Fund,” which was funded solely by the group’s subsidiaries without the participation of outside investors.

KB Financial plans to raise the ability of global investment and expand business in local markets by investing in foreign startups. Under the current law, the entire amount of funds cannot be invested in foreign firms. Accordingly, 40 percent of the investments will go to South Korean startups.

The IB industry expects that KB Financial will make an investment in Silicon Valley of the United States. Yoon believes that the group needs to expand its foothold in the U.S. market in a bid to jump into a global bank. In fact, he attended the Bridge Forum held in San Francisco in April this year to meet CEOs of promising startups and seek for investment destinations in person.

The IB industry is paying close attention to KB Financial’s move. This is because it agrees that investment in foreign startups is needed but it is hard to predict success due to a high degree of uncertainty. Mirae Asset is the only firm which has made a large investment in foreign startups before KB Financial. An official from the IB industry said, “We are paying attention to whether Yoon’s bold decision to turn the group into a global financial company will put up a good show.”