South Korea-based Naver Z Corporation — the operator of metaverse platform Zepeto — raised 223.5 billion Korean won, or about US$189 million in a Series B round, which included investments from SoftBank, Mirae Asset and three of K-pop’s largest talent agencies.

Fast facts

  • Japan’s SoftBank led the funding round by investing about US$148 million in Naver Z. The other US$41 million consisted of funds from South Korean financial company Mirae Asset, webcomic publisher Naver Webtoon, and major K-pop agencies JYP, YG entertainment and HYBE, which manages K-pop megastar boy band BTS. Naver Z says the investments will go toward expanding its global services and talent recruitment. 
  • Naver Z’s Zepeto metaverse, launched in August 2018, has grown popular among teenagers around the world. Out of its total user base of over 240 million people, 90% are from outside South Korea and 80% are teen users.
  • Zepeto has previously collaborated with fashion brands Gucci, Dior, Nike and Ralph Lauren, which has released virtual collections on the metaverse. Globally popular K-pop groups Blackpink, ITZY and SF9 have also held virtual events or issued metaverse-exclusive K-pop content on the platform. 
  • Naver Z also announced yesterday a joint venture, ZEP, with domestic game developer SUPERCAT to service a virtual office in the metaverse where companies can hold meetings and workshops.