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Lunit files for IPO following successful funding from Naver, VCs Move comes despite Korean AI cancer diagnosis startup’s capital completely impaired

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2021-12-01 08:12:38

이 기사는 2021년 12월 01일 08:10 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

Lunit Inc, a South Korean artificial intelligence cancer diagnosis startup, has filed for an initial public offering despite widening losses resulting in negative shareholders’ equity, after it successfully raised capital from investors thanks to its innovative technology.

Lunit’s filing with the Korea Exchange’s Kosdaq market division came on November 26. The Seoul-based startup plans to offer 1.49 million shares, or 12% of the total number of shares to be listed. NH Investment & Securities will act as lead underwriter for the offering.

The IPO is likely to occur as soon as February next year given that it normally takes two months, or 45 business days, for review.

Founded in 2013, Lunit develops artificial intelligence software to analyze X-ray and computed tomography images to detect signs of cancer that doctors cannot easily discover with the naked eye.

In 2020 Lunit recorded 20.9 billion won ($17.6 million) in operating loss on revenue of 1.4 billion won – a large deficit even for a biotech startup. Revenue was up by 1.2 billion won year-over-year, but the operating loss widened by 9.4 billion won.

Lunit’s net loss jumped from 46.9 billion won to 83.7 billion won in the same period, largely due to financial expenses resulting from unrealized losses on options embedded in hybrid securities issued to the startup’s investors. Lunit currently has negative shareholders' equity.

Despite its lack of profitability for now, Lunit decided to go ahead with an IPO next year as its latest funding round confirmed investor support. The startup recently raised approximately 72 billion won in its pre-IPO round where many high-profile investors participated.

Naver, SoftBank Ventures, Kakao Ventures and Mirae Asset Ventures are among the domestic investors in the startup. The funding round was also joined by foreign investors HealthQuest Capital, Casdin Capital, American Cancer Society BrightEdge, Tybourne Capital Management and NSG Ventures.

Naver and the startup’s foreign investors have reportedly agreed on a one-year lock-up period after the company’s listing, while its other domestic investors have promised a six-month lock-up, as part of efforts to reduce overhang concerns following the planned IPO.

Lunit, which remains unprofitable, plans to use an exception in the country’s listing rules for startups with innovative technology. It earned the highest ‘AA’ rating in technology evaluation in June. (Reporting by Kyung-ju Lee)
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