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Coupang Founder Bon Kim Becomes Multi-Billionaire In Explosive IPO

South Korean e-commerce startup Coupang made its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange recently and became the biggest IPO by an Asian company since the 2014 IPO of Alibaba. The value of founder Bon Kim’s shareholding increased as shares rose to almost $8.6 billion.

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South Korean e-commerce startup Coupang made its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange recently and became the biggest IPO by an Asian company since the 2014 IPO of Alibaba. The value of founder Bon Kim’s shareholding increased as shares rose to almost $8.6 billion. The largest IPO in the United States since Uber in 2019 was Coupang, whose share price increased 41% on the first day of trading. Coupang is frequently referred to as South Korea’s Amazon. SoftBank is the company’s largest investor. Coupang promised to grant up to $90 million in shares to its full-time delivery drivers and warehouse personnel. Due to the rise in internet buying brought on by the pandemic, the company’s revenue doubled in 2020.

42-year-old Bon Kim was born in Seoul. At the age of seven, he left Korea. He enrolled at the Massachusetts boarding school Deerfield Academy, where he competed on the varsity wrestling and track teams. He attended Harvard for both his undergraduate studies and his MBA, but he left the program after six months. Before obtaining a position at Boston Consulting Group, he founded a student publication called “Current” and served as an intern at “The New Republic.” He didn’t work there for very long. After quitting, he raised $4 million to launch “02138,” a magazine. In 2009, that publication went out of business. 2010 saw the founding of Coupang. Over the last decade, Kim has raised $3.8 billion in funding from a who’s who of Silicon Valley venture capital firms including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, and BlackRock.

Photo via Bonnielou2013/Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Bonnielou2013/Wikimedia Commons

Coupang has rapidly expanded its delivery operations throughout the course of its 11 years in business. A Coupang distribution hub is within seven miles of around 70% of South Korea’s 51 million residents. The business has recently expanded into food delivery and streaming services. With the Dawn Delivery service, orders can be ordered up to midnight for delivery as early as 7am. Organic and perishable food goods are delivered by Coupang Fresh within hours after purchase. The company’s food delivery service is called Coupang Eats.

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