Won Hee Lee
President, Hyundai Motors
Harry Murphy/Getty Images
An obsession with fresh food has led one tech entrepreneur to the creation of a business that's disrupted the Korean grocery sector and now has an estimated value of almost $800 million.
Kurly — more commonly known as Market Kurly — was founded in 2015 by former Goldman Sachs and Temasek analyst Sophie Kim. In April, the grocery delivery startup secured $150 million in new financing, bringing total funding to date to $346 million.
Kurly operates by providing an alternative grocery source to regular retail stores. Unlike some of its counterparts in the region, Kurly does not compete on discounts but on convenience. Orders can be placed as late as 11 p.m. with a guarantee that orders will reach customer doorsteps by 7 the next morning.
The emphasis on high-quality foods has made the service popular with high-income users. And while COVID-19 has negatively affected many businesses, Kurly has become an even more popular choice for people choosing to spend more time at home.
The app's popularity hasn't gone unnoticed by the competition. Online shopping platform SSG.com last year launched its own overnight delivery service, while e-commerce giant Coupang debuted its same-day delivery option in April.