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South Korea has got its third unicorn startup after Viva Republica, the company beyond popular pay app Toss, announced it has raised an $80 million round at a valuation of $1.2 billion.
This new round is led by U.S. firms Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, both of which cut their first checks for Korea with this deal. Others participating include existing investors Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The deal comes only six months after Viva Republica raised $40 million to accelerate growth, and it takes the company to virtually $200 million raised from investors to date.
Toss was started in 2013 by former dentist SG Lee who grew frustrated by the cumbersome way online payments ran in Korea. Despite the fact that the country has one of the highest smartphone penetrations rates in the world countries and is a top user of credit cards, the process necessitated more than a dozen steps and came with limits.
” Before Toss, users involved five passwords and around 37 clicks to transfer $ 10. With Toss users need simply one password and three steps to transfer up to KRW 500,000 ($ 430 ),” Lee said in a past statement.
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Today, Viva Republica claims to have 10 million registered users for Toss — that’s 20 percent of Korea’s 50 million population — while it says that it is ” on track ” to reach a $ 18 billion run-rate for transactions in 2018.
The app began as Venmo-style payments, but in recent years it has added more advanced features focused around fiscal products. Toss users can now access and manage credit, loans, insurance, investment and more from 25 financial service providers, including banks.
Fintech startups are’ rend it out and start again’ in the West -such as Europe’s challenger banks — but, in Asia, the approach is more collaborative and assistive. A numbe of startups have found a sweet place in between banks and customers, helping to match the two selectively and intelligently. In Toss’s case, basically it acts as a funnel to help traditional banks find and veterinarian clients for services. Thus, Toss is graduating from a peer-to-peer payment service into a banking gateway.
DIVER Photographer Maxwel Hohn tell us about his favourite two lenses for underwater photography : As a photographer shooting on land we have the ability to switch between lenses in a matter of seconds, but underwater we are limited to what we choose to install on our camera prior to the dive. Water conditions and marine life is most often unpredictable, so how do we decide what lens to use prior to a dive? For me there are two great selections 😛 TAGEND Fisheye – A great alternative because it allows you to get very close to your topic while capturing a very large scene or subject. Water tends to absorb light building it very difficult to illuminate a scene with strobes and suns from medium and far distances. Being able to get close to your topic will allow you to increase the amount of light on your topic, while still maintaining a wide frame. The fisheye lens also provides a specific style to an image, which induces it a great choice for underwater photographers. Fisheye lens are also typically smaller and use smaller domes ports, which make it compact and travel friendly. My go-to fisheye lens, used on 90% of my dives is the micro four-thirds Olympus Fisheye Pro F1. 8 .
Macro – Similar to the fisheye lens, the macro lens allows you to get very close to your subject, making it easier to light. Macro lenses are a great choice for photographing smaller marine life, like nudibranchs, crabs, and shrimp. They can also be a good tool for fish portraits and penalty details. Because your capturing such a small part of your surrounds, itas easy to avoid backscatter with proper illuminating techniques, making macro lenses a good choice in poor visibility. Using macro lenses are also an excellent option for new/ beginner photographers. They genuinely allow you to master lighting in a small scene and focus on topics that are often a lot slower paced than other marine life. My macro lens of option is the micro four-thirds Olympus 60 mm .
Maxwel Hohn is regular photographic contributor to DIVER magazine, “hes also” our resident online photography expert. Maxwel is a published and prize win underwater photographer, certified droning pilot, social media expert, and videographer. He is a commercial diving teacher, tech instructor, and diplomat for Hollis, Oceanic, Stahlsac, Suunto, Zeagle and Hollis Rebreathers. For more: A www.maxwelhohn.com