Bom Kim, founder and chief executive officer of Coupang, speaks during the Milken Institute Global … [+]
Coupang, long regarded as Korea’s answer to Amazon, announced plans this week for an initial public offering in New York that could raise as much as $3.6 billion and value the company between $46 billion to $51 billion, marking what could be the largest U.S. offering to list this year. The new valuation is a huge leap from its $2 billion funding round from Softbank’s Vision Fund in 2018, which valued the company at $9 billion.
A filing by the company showed Coupang’s founder and chief executive, Bom Kim, 42, holding 10.2% of the company following the IPO. With a price target of $27 to $30 per share, that means Kim’s net worth could jump to at least $4.7 billion by the time trading debuts. A spokesperson for the company did not respond to the rise in net worth by the time of publication.
Kim, a U.S. citizen, left South Korea at the age of 7 and attended boarding school in Massachusetts by the age of 13. The Harvard Business School dropout, who now resides in Korea, founded Coupang in 2010 with a business model akin to Groupon, then shifted to an eBay-like marketplace before pivoting to mass consumer goods in his home country.
By early 2015, Coupang had raised nearly $500 million from investors such as Sequoia Capital and BlackRock, and used the capital to focus on swift deliveries, targeting stay-at-home mothers with its inventory of essential goods, such as diapers, rice and bottled water. The firm has since launched same-day delivery services and now has the capacity to deliver fresh produce within 24 hours across the country, reportedly the fastest among its rivals, which helped boost sales amid the pandemic. Currently, the company only operates in the Korean market.
Coupang had net revenues of nearly $12 billion in 2020, an increase of 90% from the previous year, but it was still unable to turn a profit. Net loss for the latest year stood at $475 million, from $700 million in 2019, according to its prospectus.
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