Miso head Victor Ching is aiming to copy his app’s success in home cleansing to brush up latest business at home and overseas.
Over the past seven years, Victor Ching has carved out a distinct segment in the house cleansing space in South Korea with an app called Miso. Though it’s a comparatively small market in comparison with online payments or food delivery, the app, which connects cleaners with clients, is the category leader within the country by users.
Miso, which suggests “smile” in Korean, has handled greater than 5 million bookings since its founding in 2015. Of those, almost 90% have come from repeat customers, the Seoul-based company says. Top startup investors including Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator and Los Angeles-based Strong Ventures have backed Miso, which has raised over $11 million up to now.
After years of regular growth in South Korea’s home cleansing market, cofounder and CEO Ching is taking Miso to the subsequent stage. He’s aiming to copy Miso’s success with the 70 other services it now offers and make its first move overseas. To assist fuel its expansion, Miso is preparing to boost $30 million in fresh funding this 12 months.
“We’re focused on constructing a platform that makes booking services as easy as buying a product online,” says Ching, 41, in a video interview from his office in Seoul’s upscale Gangnam neighborhood in late May. Miso, which made the inaugural 100 to Watch list last 12 months, goals to be the Amazon of home services. “Expanding selection could be very vital in e-commerce,” he says, pointing to the success of billionaire Jeff Bezos’ company. “We feel the identical thing could be very vital in services since you don’t need many services repetitively.”
Through its app, Miso offers regular services, reminiscent of home cleansing, laundry and pet sitting, to occasional jobs like repairs, moving and interior remodeling. The corporate says it has greater than 500,000 paying customers and over 50,000 service providers on its platform. “You would possibly need a wide selection of various services in a 12 months, so we feel like one of the best experience we are able to provide for our customers is to supply a one-stop shop where you open the Miso app and we get it done,” Ching says.
Miso has seen its sales soar because it began adding to its suite of home services in September 2020. Ching declined to provide specific revenue figures, but shared that gross bookings almost tripled to over $128 million last 12 months from about $47 million in 2020. He expects further acceleration if Miso’s one-stop shop plan continues to work. “You’ve gotten this huge services market where you might have billions of dollars in transactions, and you then can add a payments layer on top of that,” Ching says. “So there’s huge potential for what we are able to do in the longer term.”
While Ching’s plan for an omnibus home services platform is ambitious, John Nahm, cofounder and managing partner of Strong Ventures, is confident in him. “Similar to many great founders, Victor could be very data-driven,” says Nahm, whose firm has invested within the likes of secondhand marketplace unicorn Danggeun Market and cryptocurrency exchange Korbit. “He’s very meticulous in his approach to latest businesses. He gives it a try, does a fast experiment after which, if the info shows that this could work, he goes all in,” says Nahm.
“As home services are highly local, we prefer to work with existing firms and founders within the local ecosystem.”
Before starting Miso, Ching cofounded a dating app called Chinchin in 2014 that failed after nearly two years. “Learned vital lesson that external validation from investors and/or press is worthless,” Ching wrote on LinkedIn concerning the experience. “All that matters is that customers love your product.” Prior to that, Ching, who grew up in Hawaii and studied business on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was chief product officer and worker No. 2 at food-delivery app Yogiyo.
Miso plans to make use of its series B round to fuel its growth. “Our core platform is working and definitely major funding would help speed up that,” says Ching, adding the round is anticipated to be accomplished this summer. Its last fundraising was in 2018, when it secured $8 million from Strong Ventures and Y Combinator in addition to AddVenture, a house services-focused enterprise capital firm, and enterprise capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital. Ching says Miso will eventually go public, but currently has no concrete plans to accomplish that.
Ching, whose mother is Korean and father is Chinese, has big plans for international expansion, and is currently Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. As an alternative of simply launching Chinese or Bahasa Indonesian-language versions of Miso, Ching prefers to partner with established local home-service providers, for instance by sharing its platform and know-how. “Once we make the last word decision to enter a latest market, it’ll be working with a neighborhood partner who’s already in that space,” Ching says, adding that he has met with a couple of providers but has yet to strike a deal. “As home services are highly local, we prefer to work with existing firms and founders within the local ecosystem.”
At the identical time, Ching is careful to not rush Miso’s expansion and fundraising. “We’re growing quickly while being cash-flow positive and like being answerable for our own destiny,” he says. What’s unique about Miso, Nahm notes, is that while other successful Korean startups have benchmarked themselves against top global players, Miso is poised to develop into a world trailblazer in its own right.
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