Clean Tech startup "Ecube Labs" has attracted US$23M worth of Series B investment from DS Asset Management, Open Water Investment, BSK Investment, and YG Investment. The cumulative investment is US$24M.
E-Cube Lab proved the marketability of the business model by securing more than 1,000 customers at its business sites in Texas and Maryland alone within a year after launching the U.S. B2B waste collection matching platform Haula in the second half of last year.
Haulla is a garbage collection service for customers at workplaces such as restaurants, gas stations, and hotels. However, rather than a fixed collection service such as a traditional "collection once a week," a smart collection service is provided to customers at a lower cost by reducing the collection frequency by about 30 percent using a smart sensor.
In addition, customers will always be serviced at the lowest bidding price by receiving quotes from several local partner collection companies at the same time and assigning collection opportunities to the lowest bidding price.
As customers at workplaces who paid an average of $300 a month receive collection services of around $220-250, the cost of Korean money is reduced by more than $1 million a year, and the number of customers is increasing intensively in cities such as Houston and Dallas, Texas.
Small businesses, which had difficulty securing a competitive advantage from large collection companies that generate trillions of won in sales, are also growing into a B2B platform loved by small local collection companies as they can take new business opportunities through Haulla.
Contrary to expectations that it will be difficult to expand operations due to the COVID-19 crisis, the proportion of self-employed people who have become sensitive to waste collection costs is growing above expectations, and if it grows to the current trend, sales of 100 billion won are expected three years after the service launch. The garbage collection service is basically carried out under a three-year contract and has a stable profit structure with little customer departure, similar to the business model of carriers.
E-Cube Lab was founded in 2011 and has grown through orders for various overseas city projects rather than in Korea, developing solar compression trash cans and installing and operating them in 60 countries and more than 300 cities so far.
In particular, in order to actively pioneer the U.S. market, a subsidiary was established in 2017 to operate directly in the U.S. procurement market, resulting in accumulated orders of about 20 billion won, including LA and Baltimore. However, although growth was stagnant due to the COVID-19 crisis, based on his long experience in pioneering overseas markets, he challenged to enter the U.S. waste collection market looking for new opportunities.
Green Labs, an innovative blockchain-based ‘smart farming’ platform, has secured $18 million in Series B funding.
With the funding round led by Hashed, a blockchain focused venture capital firm headquartered out of Seoul and San Francisco, Green Labs has raised $28 million in funding to date.
This is a significant milestone for the agricultural data startup, as it plans to grow its current user base in the farming industry from 20,000 to 100,000.
Green Labs believes that a state of the art agricultural data collection platform is the industry disruptor needed to improve crop production.
Crop Growth Management and Analytics to Enhance Farming Distribution
Started in 2017 within the domestic Korean farming market, Green Labs facilitates increased efficiency in crop production, market development, and distribution using its Farm Morning service.
The agricultural data hub supplies collected market data to all participants, eliminating asymmetric information that can harm farming production and final outputs.
Besides acting as a data aggregation and management platform, Green Labs can also provide optimized crop growth management through its 24/7 controlled farming ecosystem.
Based on analyzed inputs from the Farm Morning service, the environment to enhance overall crop production can be fine tuned and upgraded.
Funding Allows for Increased Innovation
Besides the services already offered by Green Labs, the startup plans to grow and support additional farming based services.
Some of the projects currently being focused on revolve around wholesale price analysis, e-commerce, live commerce, and influencer partnerships.
Green Labs wants to continue to provide as much value as possible to the farming community while making the greater public aware of the new possibilities its platform can enable.
The company aims to grow into a full one-stop shop with the completion of this additional funding round, helping farmers from the production phase to the distribution phase.
The Series B funding will also allow Green Labs to focus on auxiliary investments to grow its platform, such as upgrading the technology of already established smart farms, launching agricultural exchanges, creating an easier way to purchase agricultural materials online, and adding to the direct trade possibilities for agricultural products.
To achieve its ambitious roadmap, Green Labs plans to use a portion of the funding round to recruit fresh talent for the company and to seek potential acquisition opportunities that can strengthen its services and product offerings.
When asked about Green Labs’ future outlook, Sang-hoon Shin, Green Labs’ CEO, commented, “We will lead in innovation to maximize the value added of data generated at agricultural sites through this funding. By recording key data generated by Green Labs’ value chain in blockchain, all participants will be able to build a transparent and reliable agricultural data economy platform.”
The collaboration between Green Labs and Hashed in the Series B round looks to have been a mutually beneficial one. Green Labs gained a world-class fundraising team to work with, and Hashed gained a stake in an innovative startup operating in a fast-growing industry.
Hashed is one of the biggest blockchain venture capital firms globally, having raised over $120 million in capital for its first fund.
lululab, a member company of Born2Global Centre, has successfully attracted Series B funding from Netmarble, Korea's leading game developer, as well as from other companies.
In addition to Netmarble, the firms L&C Bio, Global Medical Research Center, and CTK Investment are participating in this Series B funding, the amount of which has not been disclosed.
Netmarble has financially supported various venture-backed AI companies. Through such collaboration, lululab will synergize with Netmarble's AI technology while continuing to cooperation with Netmarble's affiliate company Coway in the home wellness appliance industry. In addition, lululab has been expanding its business, signing an MOU in October with co-investor L&C Bio for the development of a new platform.
lululab has developed the AI skincare assistant LUMINI, which scans users' faces, analyzes skin conditions, and recommends skincare products tailored to specific skin profiles within 10 seconds. Recently the company launched the LUMINI Kiosk, a smart mirror that provides customized skincare services. As the first of its kind in the beauty industry, it employs AI technology based on multinational and multiracial skin data to analyze the skin and provide recommend products that are optimized for individual skin needs.
Yongjoon Choe, CEO of lululab, said, "We will accelerate the distribution of AI-based, contact-free beauty solutions," he added. "With this investment, we plan to expand our business in the skin analysis and beauty sectors and to evolve into a provider of solutions for skin-related conditions and diseases.
lululab is being recognized internationally for its value in bringing the use of actual skin data to the beauty industry. As a consequence, it was named the CES Innovation Awards Honoree for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020, as well as the winner of the LVMH Innovation Awards by the French multinational conglomerate LVMH.