India’s largest online baby care store FirstCry, which hasn’t raised funding in last two years, is in early talks with China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., among others, to raise at least $100-$150 million, reported LiveMint.
According the report, both Alibaba and SoftBank may participate in the proposed funding round only if the latest talks progress to the next stage.
In last couple of year, the funding speculations of FirstCry is being made several times by different media outlets and yet the startup hasn’t made it to grabbing any fundraise so far. In June, it was reported that Firstcry was in talks to raise $100-150 million from Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, Chinese internet giant Tencent and an unidentified Chinese investment firm. Prior to this, in September last year, it was reported that the startup was raising equity financing of about $100 million from multiple investors including Temasek Holdings but eventully this too did not materialize.
The LiveMint report further said that while Temasek and Tencent have held talks with FirstCry, they may not invest in the upcoming funding round.
If FirstCry manage to seal the latest discussions with investors, it will mark yet another fairly significant funding this year for India’s startup ecosystem, which is witnessing a massive funding boom that has already been compared to the 2014-15 funding bubble.
According to Tracxn data, this year there were more than two dozen startup fundings amounting to the size of $100 million or more, compared to 22 in last year.
FirstCry had raised a total of $119 million in funding over six rounds. The last funding of $34 million came from a Series D round led by Vertex Vetures, in October, 2016. FirstCry’s investors include Mahindra, IDG Ventures India (now Chiratae Ventures), New Enterprise Associates and SAIF Partners, among others.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha in 2010, FirstCry has offline stores with an omni-channel approach to increase its sales and presence. The company acquired Mahindra Group’s kids retail brand BabyOye for ₹362 crore in a cash and stock deal in 2016..
BrainBees Solutions, the parent company of FirstCry, has reported narrowing of losses at its online retailing business. In September this year, the Pune-based company reported a loss of Rs 54 crore for the year ended March 2018, as per its financial documents filed with the Registrar of Companies.
Recntly, Gurgaon-based mother and baby care startup MamaEarth raised about $4 million (₹27.5 crore) in a Series A round of funding led by early-stage technology-focussed venture capital (VC) firm Stellaris Ventures.
In September, Mumbai-based BabyChakra raised funding of an undisclosed amount in its pre-Series-B round from several investors, including Mark Mobius, Equanimity Ventures Fund, Facebook director Anand Chandrasekaran and OYO’s Chief Strategy Officer Maninder Gulati.