Socar, South Korea’s biggest car-sharing startup, fell in its debut on the Seoul stock market on Monday, even as the share price was below the bottom of a trading range.
Socar shares rose 1.25% from an IPO price of 28,000 won ($21.10) in the initial minutes of the debut, before falling to 26,300 won, giving the firm a market capitalization of $642 million.
Last week, Socar lowered its target IPO offer to 102 billion won ($78.1 million), giving the car-sharing company a premarket valuation of 966.5 billion won ($731 million).
Socar’s debut comes amid a slow period in South Korea’s IPO market that has prompted a number of Korean companies to delay their listing plans.
Analysts attributed Socar’s muted debut-day performance to an expensive valuation and a slowdown in an IPO market reeling from the global economic downturn.
Jaeuk Park, CEO of Socar, told TechCrunch earlier that the company was moving forward with its listing plans because it was confident in its performance and expected to generate operating profit and net profit by the end of this year.
Instead of waiting for the stock market to rebound to a higher valuation in the next two to three years, he said, the Korean mobility startup prioritized investments in organic/inorganic growth with IPO proceeds.
“First, Socar’s growth is faster than expected in the face of reopening [after the COVID-19 pandemic]”, Park said. “The stock market is expected to be difficult at the moment, but the mobility industry will grow so rapidly that we cannot afford to miss this critical time; we will focus on accelerating mergers and acquisitions and investments in new businesses and technologies.”
The company plans to increase its services and geographic expansion efforts through acquisitions to become a mobility super-app with the goal of posting 1 trillion in revenue ($748 million) by 2025, up from 289 billion earned in past, Park continued. It aims to achieve 30% or more annual revenue growth by 2025, he added.
Socar, South Korea’s first and only unicorn mobility startup, aims to become the first profitable unicorn company, Park noted.
Socar, backed by SoftBank and Korean strategic investor SK Inc, entered the unicorn club with roughly 183.2 billion won ($150 million) in funding in a 1.3 trillion won ($1 billion) round in March from Lotte Rental, the car unit of rent South Korea. The Lotte Group. The startup raised a total of 379.7 billion won ($284.2 million) since its inception in 2011 before its IPO.
The company’s major shareholders, including SoftBank, SK Inc, Lotte Rental and Altos Ventures, will hold their shares since they agreed to a lock-up period of up to six months.
The 11-year-old firm, which started the car-sharing service with 100 rental cars in Jeju, now manages a fleet of more than 19,000 vehicles nationwide, offering services including car sharing, car delivery, electric bicycle rental. , parking, vehicle management and vehicle maintenance. It will launch its super transport app later this year, offering all-in-one mobility services. In addition, Socar is building an ecosystem for future mobility, including an autonomous driving platform, charging station service for electric cars and micro-mobility.
Park said in an interview that Socar wants to enter the Southeast Asian market with its new business, a B2B SaaS fleet management system (FMS) service that it plans to start selling later in the fourth quarter of this year. Socar, based on its 19,000 vehicles, has built FMS technology that uses data such as vehicle location and surroundings to support effective monitoring and control systems, providing accurate information to drivers and management servers.
“FMS is different from car sharing, which has been Socar’s core business for the past ten years, and if it stabilizes, it is a B2B SaaS that guarantees a high profit ratio,” said Park.
Socar claims the company has captured about 80% of the market share in South Korea, with more than 11.4 million users and 1.4 million monthly active users this year.
The Korean car transport company has established Socar Malaysia, a 79% stake owned by SK Inc, and launched services in Malaysia in 2018 and Indonesia in 2020.
Socar was founded in 2011 by Lee Jae-woong, who co-founded South Korea’s largest Internet portal operator Daum Communications; Daum joined Kakao in 2014. Jaeuk Park, a serial entrepreneur who founded VCNC, an operator messaging app for couples called Between, in 2011, sold VCNC to Socar in 2018. After selling VCNC, Park was joined Socar’s chief strategy officer (CSO) to lead Socar’s travel business, Tada, and took over as chief executive officer (CEO) in 2020 after Lee stepped down.
Korean game maker Krafton acquired VCNC’s messaging app unit in May 2021, while Viva Republica, a Korean operator of super financial app Toss, bought a 60% stake in Tada, VCNC’s travel business, for an undisclosed sum in October last year.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s TMap Mobility, whose investors include Uber Technologies and SK Inc’s investment firm SK Square, said on Monday it has raised $149.2 million ($200 billion) from strategic investor KB Bank. Another Korean ride-hailing platform Kakao Mobility, which had also planned an IPO between 2022 and 2023, said last week it had ended its sale talks with Korean private equity firm MBK Partners.