The real estate market in South Korea is very fragmented, which means people often have to work with dozens of brokers before they find a new home. Founded in 2020 by a former WeWork executive, Dongnae wants to create a centralized base for brokers, serving as a multiple listing system (MLS). Since its first seed round last year, Dongnae has increased its brokerage partners to more than 70. Today the startup announced it has raised a seed extension of $4.1 million, doubling its total raised to $8.2 million.
The new funding was led by investment fund NFX, with participation from returning investors Flybridge and MetaProp, who led Dongnae’s first seed round. NFX general partner Pete Flint, who co-founded Trulia and is a former Zillow board member, will join Dongnae’s board. The startup’s other investors include Goodwater Capital, Maple VC and strategic angel investors in South Korea and the United States.
“It’s an exciting time of growth at our company, and we want to make sure that we are executing our go-to-market plan,” founder Matthew Shampine, who formerly ran WeWork Asia, told TechCrunch about the seed extension. “Pete Flint and [principal] Brittany Yoon at NFX bring an amazing combination of real estate expertise and Korean startup experience that will be invaluable to Dongnae.”
Dongnae also announced the release of its Android app today. The company’s Android and iOS apps let potential renters and buyers look at listings and book tours of properties in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Shampine said that Dongnae now has more than 8,000 listings. Since its last funding announcement five months ago, Dongnae has increased its closed deal volume by more than 65% and revenue by 150%.
Shampine added that the new funding will be used to grow Dongnae’s brokerage network across the Seoul metropolitan area, which accounts for almost half of South Korea’s population, and the development of its technology and brokerage teams.
“At the time of our seed funding, we had just launched our brokerage partner program so we actually had one partner. The name of our first partner is Global Real Estate, based in Yongsan, and they were actually the brokerage that helped me find my personal apartment around the time we started Dongnae,” said Shampine. “They’ve been a wonderful and patient partner as our organization has grown this year, and we’ve already worked together to help a number of our customers find great homes.”
In a statement, Flint said, “The executive team at Dongnae is uniquely qualified considering their global backgrounds and deep local real estate expertise, and I believe the timing is perfect for Dongnae and the market need they are addressing in Korea.”