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Dentist Quits Career for 'Are You Crazy' Bet on Payment App

  • Korean digital wallet gets $40 million in new funding round
  • Founder extends start-up boom in chaebol-dominated nation
Lee Seung-gun
Lee Seung-gunPhotographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg

Lee Seung-gun’s parents told him to get his sanity checked when he quit his secure job as a dentist with the hospital arm of Samsung Group to found a mobile apps startup.

Seven years and eight failed apps later, the founder of Viva Republica has a bona fide hit with payments service Toss and its 8 million registered users ringing up $1.4 billion of transactions a month. On Monday, Lee’s company said in statement that it won $40 million in funding from GIC Pte. and Sequoia China, bringing the total raised by the Seoul-based startup to $116 million.