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Japanese internet and telecom giant SoftBank’s $100-billion Vision Fund is investing $400 million in India’s largest online baby-care store FirstCry and out of this total $400 million, $150 million has already been infused into Firstcry. according to various media reports.

The resolution for the same was passed on January 18, regulatory documents show. After this investment, the company is estimated to be valued at around $850 million according to initial calculations by business intelligence platform Paper.vc.

It is to be noted that, as of now there is no official confirmation about fund raise from either Softbank or Firstcry.

If this funding materialize, FirstCry would then have raised a total of $268.4 million in funding over 7 rounds from multiple investors including Chiratae Ventures (formerly known as IDG Ventures India), SAIF Partners and Vertex Ventures are some of the existing investors. For SoftBank, the investment comes at a time when it is seeking Competition Commission of India (CCI) approval for an investment in logistics player Delhivery. Last year, it invested $1 billion in Gurugram-based hotel brand Oyo.

In October, it was reported that Firstcry was in talks to raise $100-150 million from China’s Alibaba oand Softbank. 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.

According to Times of India, a company official privy to the developemt said that FirstCry plans to use the new capital to expand its online and offline presence as well as to strengthen its technology platform. At the end of 2018, FirstCry had 330-350 offline stores. The company, one of the largest in its space, sells just about everything a child and a new mother needs – apparel, footwear, toys, books, feeding & nursing products, soaps, oils, powders, baby monitors, strollers and baby bedding.

In 2016, it bought Mahindra group’s babycare business BabyOye for over Rs 360 crore in a mixed cash-and-equity transaction. Hopscotch, The Moms Co and TinyStep are some of the other companies operating in the space. Started in 2010, the company is said to have one of the largest parent communities in the country. “They are looking to leverage that community in a big way this year. There will be lot of content that will be created to target this base of parents,” a person aware of the plans said.

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Suman Chaudhary
An engineer by education and writer by profession, Suman keeps tab on startup ecosystem of India and leads the research team of IndiaWeb2 for covering funding deals, merger & acquisition and market reports.

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