|Logo of Toss|
By Anna J. Park
Viva Republica, the operator of mobile-based financial application Toss, is currently seeking to raise 200 billion won ($177 million) in investments on its corporate valuation of 8 trillion won.
According to the investment banking industry, Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently distributed information about Toss to major investors both inside and outside of Korea.
The mobile fintech company's valuation skyrocketed by more than 2.6 times in just nine months considering the fact that it was valued at around three trillion won last summer, when the firm attracted a total of 206 billion won.
The fast-rising valuation is attributed to market expectations that Toss will grow further to become a financial super app, which includes various financial transaction functions in one application, such as Toss Payments and Toss Securities. Toss Bank, which is expected to be launched later this year as the nation's third internet-only bank following K bank and Kakao Bank, is also a major factor that is bolstering investor sentiment over Viva Republica's potential.
However, some expressed concerns that the firm's corporate valuation includes a bubble, given that it still suffers from annual losses. Increasing market competition in the mobile-based financial tech industry is another source of concern.
Despite such worries, Viva Republica aims to spend the raised capital to strengthen its brokerage unit, Toss Securites, as well as preparing for the launch of its banking service later this year.
Founded back in 2013, the fintech company has expanded its services in various areas, ranging from money transfers to the stock brokerage business. Toss Securities began customer services back in February this year, and its number of users has soared to exceed 2 million just three months since its inception.