Sequoia Backs Coupang, South Korea’s Answer To Amazon, With $100 Million

Coupang, South Korea’s answer to Amazon, has raised $100 million in a round of financing led by Sequoia Capital.

The investment led by Sequoia chairman Mike Moritz adds one of Asia’s fastest-growing and most valuable startups to Sequoia Capital’s already impressive roster of Asian deals. According to one person with knowledge of the deal, the new investment values Coupang at well over $1 billion.

Founded three years ago by Harvard Business School dropout Bom Kim, Coupang now has over $1 billion in sales — a milestone it reached faster than any other Asian e-commerce company.

According to previous reports, Kim had the idea for Coupang after seeing the explosive growth of online retail companies like Groupon in the late 2000s. Realizing that the ship had sailed for a similar company in the U.S. Kim thought that the South Korean market, where shopping is a pastime, mobile phones are everywhere, and high-speed Internet is ubiquitous, would be an ideal country to launch an e-commerce site.

Kim’s gambit paid off, and with the help of initial investors Greenoaks Capital Management, Rose Park Advisors’ Disruptive Innovation Fund, and LaunchTime, Coupang has grown to become the country’s top privately held e-commerce vendor.

Sequoia backed the latest round through its Sequoia Capital Global Equities and Sequoia Heritage investment vehicles, according to a statement.

“Organically, we’ve grown faster than any e-commerce company we know of, and with these resources, we can set our sights even higher,” said Coupang’s chief financial officer, Richard Song, in a statement. “This financing is highly strategic as we continue to go after a rapidly growing $45 billion market.”

For Sequoia, Coupang is just the latest in a series of investments made in Asia in recent years. Since 2009 the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm has invested heavily in China, putting $1.8 billion to work in over 100 deals.