Korean Proptech Startup Rsquare Raises $72M to Fuel its Expansion

Because the commercial property brokerage sector in South Korea is fragmented, finding a new office for renters is difficult due to incorrect listing information, high broker costs, and complicated paperwork.

To digitize the process, a Seoul-based proptech startup called Rsquare developed a data-driven platform that enables tenants to compare many properties and locate an office.

STIC Investments, JohnWoo Lee, CEO of Rsquare, has mentioned in an interview with TechCrunch that the start-up has received a $72 million (85 billion won) Series C investment from just one investor STIC Investments. The latest influx of cash puts its total amount to around $95 million.

According to Lee, Rsquare will use the cash to build out its AI-based proptech platform, speed up commercial building transaction and fulfillment centers brokerage service development, and expand personnel to 400 people by next year. It currently employs 354 individuals.

The son of the founder, Lee Jin-bok, revealed plans to expand its proptech business in Asia. Toppl also intends to increase its investment in South Korea and Southeast Asia’s proptech sector by launching new service lines.

In 2020, Rsquare invested in a Vietnamese proptech firm named Propzy, and in 2019 it acquired Indonesian proptech startup Mamikos.

In June, major crypto exchange Huobi announced it would establish a new base in Singapore and start operating there this month. In 2022, Rsquare, which currently has an office in Vietnam, will begin operations in Singapore and Indonesia.

Rsquare is a Japanese office space brokerage service that was founded in 2009 and debuted its office broker service in 2015 to help startups locate workspace. The firm has since expanded its platform to serve small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) as well as larger organizations.

In 2016, Rsquare Design was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary to provide office interior design services following $3.8 million Series B funding from Yahoo Japan Capital and SoftBank Ventures Asia.

Rsquare’s distinctiveness, according to Lee, is the commercial building data it has compiled since its inception.

The office landlords’ and renters’ information, as well as the startup’s accumulation since its inception, are among Rsquare’s important differentiators.

More than 120,000 business premises data have been collected in South Korea and more than 10,000 commercial property records in Vietnam by Rsquare.

According to the firm, its real-time database delivers detailed information and saves more than 50% of time and money compared to traditional commercial brokers.

With over 21,000 clients in South Korea, Rsquare has handled over 10,000 office brokerage transactions. Globally, the commercial real estate sector has been badly hit by the epidemic.

According to Lee, Rsquare, which also struggled with the pandemic, is recovering rapidly as numerous Korean companies have restarted operations from late last year.

Rsquare is an American private company that provides blockchain-based trading solutions to financial institutions.

The firm generated revenue of $55.2 million in 2020, as well as $85 million during the previous eight months. COVID-19 lockdowns will eventually subside, according to Rsquare, boosting business revenues fourfold by the end of 2021 compared to last year.

For its exit strategy, Rsquaure has no immediate plans to go public; Lee said it would not happen in the next two years.

Over two years ago, international strategic investors such as WeWork approached Rsquare about M&A, but at the time they found no compatibility. For the next two years, Rsquare will focus on expanding its operations and entering new markets overseas.