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Exclusive: FirstCry’s early investors look to sell stake at $2.1 billion valuation


Mumbai: FirstCry’s early backers are looking to sell about 7-9% stake in the baby and mother care products retailer for $180 million in a secondary transaction that will value the company at $2.1 billion, three people with knowledge of the development said.

The valuation being ascribed to BrainBees Solutions, which runs FirstCry, is almost double of its previous funding round.

Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund,
which picked up 40% stake for $400 million in a Series E funding round in 2019, is the largest stakeholder in the decade-old company, which was valued at around $1.1 billion during the time of the investment.

The fundraise comes at a time the omnichannel retailer seeks to realign its cap table before launching an initial public offering (IPO) in the next two-three years. “Some of the company’s early backers — Chiratae Ventures, NEA, Vertex Ventures and Elevation Capital — might be looking to sell their stakes,” said a person aware of the discussions.

FirstCry, which also sells mother care products, has since 2011 raised $503 million through seven funding rounds from investors including Chiratae Ventures, NEA, Vertex Ventures, Elevation Capital, Valiant Capital, Ratan Tata, Kris Gopalakrishnan and Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank Vision Fund, according to data from Venture Intelligence.

With the expected secondary round, the company’s valuation will nearly double to $2.1 billion, a second person with knowledge of the development said. Investment bank Avendus Capital has been mandated to look for buyers. “Global private equity, large family offices have been sounded off and term sheets will be submitted soon,” a third person said.

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Supam Maheshwari, the chief executive of Firstcry, and spokespersons for NEA, Elevation Capital and Vertex Ventures did not respond to emails seeking comment.

A spokesperson for Chiratae Ventures said the VC firm remained committed to its investment and strategic partnership with FirstCry and was looking forward to strengthening it further this year.

“As an investor, we have seen the company go from strength to strength and achieve clear leadership in its vertical,” the spokesperson added in an email.

Founded in September 2010, FirstCry has become a leading player in the omnichannel baby and mother care products segment. It acquired Mahindra Retail-owned BabyOye in an all-stock deal in 2015. The same year, co-founders Maheshwari and Amitava Saha spun out their logistics division, XpressBees, into a separate company. They subsequently raised capital from Jack Ma-owned Alibaba Group Holdings.

Last year, XpressBees raised $110 million in a Series E funding round from private equity firms Investcorp, Norwest Venture Partners and Gaja Capital.





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