Victor Ching, Miso’s head, is trying to duplicate his app’s success with home cleaning to start new businesses.
Victor Ching, a South Korean entrepreneur, has created a niche in the South Korean home cleaning market over the past seven years with Miso. Although it is a small market, Miso, which connects cleaners and clients, is the most popular app in the country.
Since its inception in 2015, Miso (which means “smile in Korean) has processed more than 5,000,000 bookings. According to the Seoul-based company, nearly 90% of those have been from repeat customers. Miso has attracted over $11,000,000 in funding from top investors, including Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator (based in Silicon Valley) and Strong Ventures (based in Los Angeles).
Cofounder and CEO Ching has taken Miso to the next level after years of steady growth in South Korea’s home cleaning market. He wants to repeat the success of Miso with its 70 additional services and expand overseas. Miso plans to raise $30 million this year in additional funding to fuel its growth.
Ching, 41, said that he is focused on creating a platform that makes ordering services as simple as purchasing a product online. In May, he spoke to us via video from his office in Seoul’s Gangnam neighborhood. Miso, named 100 to Watch last year, aims to become the Amazon of home service. He cites the success of billionaire Jeff Bezos’ business, “Expanding choice is very important in electronic commerce.” We believe the same thing in services is vital because you don’t need to use many services repeatedly.
Miso’s app offers regular services such as pet sitting and laundry and occasional jobs such as repairs, moving, and interior remodeling. According to the company, it boasts more than 500,000 customers and over 50,000 service providers. Ching states that customers might require a variety of services over a single year. Therefore, the company believes it can offer the best customer experience by providing a one-stop shop. “Ching said.
Since September 2020, Miso’s home services have seen a surge in sales. Ching did not share specific revenue numbers but said that gross bookings nearly tripled to more than $128 million last fiscal year, from $47 million in 2020. If Miso’s one-stop shop plan continues to be successful, he expects more acceleration. Ching states a massive market for services, with billions of transactions. Then you can add a payments layer to it. There’s a lot of potential for the future.
Although Ching’s plan to create an omnibus home service platform is ambitious, John Nahm is a co-founder and managing partner at Strong Ventures. Nahm says Victor, like many great founders, is data-driven. His firm has invested in companies like Danggeun Market, a secondhand marketplace unicorn, and Korbit cryptocurrency exchange. He is meticulous about his approach to new business ventures. Nahm says that he gives it a shot, then does a quick experiment to see if it works.
“Home services are very localized, so we prefer to work with established companies and founders within the local ecosystem.”
Ching founded Chinchin, a dating app that was shut down after almost two years. Ching shared his experience on LinkedIn, “Learnt an important lesson that external validation by investors and the press is useless.” “Customers love your product is all that matters.” Ching was the chief product officer and employee number 1. Yogi, a food-delivery app.
Miso intends to make use of its series B round to help it grow. Ching says, “our core platform is functioning and major funding would accelerate that.” He also said that the round is expected to be completed in the summer. Its most recent fundraising was in 2018 when it received $8 million from Strong Ventures, Y Combinator, as well as adventure (a venture capital firm that focuses on home services) and Venture Capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya. Ching believes Miso will eventually become public but has not yet made any concrete plans.
Ching’s mother is Korean, while her father is Chinese. He has big plans to expand internationally and is currently looking at Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Ching would instead partner with established local home-service providers than launching Miso in Chinese or Bahasa Indonesian. Ching states that when we enter a new space, we will work with a local partner already there. He has spoken with several providers but has not yet reached a deal. We prefer to work with local companies and founders because home services are very local.
Ching also tries to avoid rushing Miso’s fundraising and expansion. He says, “We are proliferating while being cash flow positive and like being in charge of our destiny.” Nahm points out that Miso’s success is unique in that, while other Korean startups have been successful against global leaders, Miso will be a global leader.