Tridge, Seoul-based Agricultural Market, backed by SoftBank, raises 60 Million dollars in the new year, a funding round that tripled his estimate to $500 million per year.
As a return investor, Korean venture capital firm Forest Partners is the only investor in the funding circle, Tridge said. The startup designs to use the new funds to expand its packaging and storage facilities to meet growing demand from food companies whose supply chains have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Last April, Tridge raised $11 million, worth $140 million, from Forest Partners, US-based Activant Capital, and SoftBank Ventures Asia, an early stage in the risk division of Japanese tech billionaire Masayoshi Son. raised $5.5 million from SoftBank Ventures Asia.
In recent years, SoftBank has invested in several startups in Korea, including $175 million in AI training app Riiiid in May and $160 million in content localization service provider Iyuno-SDI in April. In addition, SoftBank reported record year-on-year profits in May, thanks mainly to a blockbuster from Korean e-commerce giant Coupang in New York in March.
In addition, according to a Financial Times report, SoftBank’s Vision Fund plans to buy a 10% stake in the Korean hotel booking platform Yanolja for $870 million. Founded in 2015 by Hoshik Shin, a former commodities investor at Deutsche Bank, Tridge is an online platform that connects farmers in more than 150 countries with food buyers worldwide, helping to avoid intermediaries. Products sold at Tridge, which stands for Transaction Bridge, include fruits, seafood, and coffee beans.
Demand for Tridge’s services has increased in the pandemic era as logistics bottlenecks, and travel restrictions have forced buyers and suppliers to find alternative ways to sell and ship products.
“With the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for shoppers to have physical interactions or [face-to-face] meetings, so working with suppliers they only meet online can be risky,” said Kyungwan Cha, director of Tridge Operations. “Essentially, we buy products from suppliers so that buyers don’t have to worry about supplier reliability.”