By Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) - The South Korean operator of mobile financial app Toss raised $410 million in fresh funding, which values the company at $7.4 billion, operator Viva Republica said on Wednesday.
With new funding, Toss is looking to expand its Southeast Asian presence beyond Vietnam. It plans to enter another country in the second half of this year and several more starting next year, CEO SG Lee told Reuters.
The $7.4 billion valuation stems from fast growth at Toss, which has 20 million users, or more than one-third of the 51.8 million Korean population. That is up from just 370,000 when the service first launched in 2015.
Having started as a money transfer service, it offers online payment processing for merchants and securities investments. It also plans to launch banking services within the app in September, espousing an all-in-one "super app" for financial needs.
Lee said such a dedicated approach differentiates Toss from rivals with massive platforms, like Kakao, operator of South Korea's dominant chat app, and Naver, the dominant web portal, that also offer financial services.
"Instead of gathering users haphazardly, users recognise this as a financial app, solving financial issues... It ends up making a huge difference in revenue per user," he said.
Its investment service, called Toss Securities, attracted 3.5 million users in the three months since launching in March - Viva Republica said, buoyed by hot retail interest in stock investments.
Its app for the Vietnam market, Toss Vietnam, has gathered 3 million monthly active users as of this month, up from 1 million in March, after beginning as a reward app in 2020. It offers services such as money transfer and debit cards.
Viva Republica expects to have a concrete plan to start an IPO process within three years and is open to various listing venues including the United States or South Korea, Lee said.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Dan Grebler)