South Korea’s Daum Kakao To Launch $90M Investment Fund

Daum Kakao, one of South Korea’s largest Internet companies and the owner of messaging app Kakao Talk, announced today that it plans to launch an 100 billion won (about $90.8 million) investment fund. Called K Venture Group, the fund will focus on startups in and out of Korea.

The company told Yonhap News Agency that the fund’s goal is to help lessen Daum Kakao’s dependence on Kakao Talk for growth. Kakao Talk is the top messaging app in South Korea, with 37 million users, but overseas it faces tough competition from Tencent’s WeChat, Line, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

Several of its rivals have also begun investing in startups in order to diversify their revenue streams. For example, Line and Tencent recently paired up to put $110 million into 4:33 Creative Game Studio, a Seoul-based game developer. The two companies have also been busy making moves to enter the streaming music business. Tencent has struck distribution partnerships with Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment platform, while Line recently purchased Microsoft’s MixRadio.

Daum Kakao’s own attempts to seek growth opportunities beyond its messaging app include the recent launch of BankWalletKakao, a mobile payment service app. In addition, it is also expected to launch a taxi-calling app next year.