US data intelligence firm Near to merge with KludeIn I SPAC at nearly $1b valuation

Near founder and CEO Anil Mathews

US-based data intelligence firm Near Intelligence Holdings has announced a merger with the Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) KludeIn I Acquisition Corp.

According to a statement on Thursday, the deal will generate $268 million in gross proceeds and peg Near at a “pro-forma market capitalisation of nearly $1 billion”.

A separate $100 million equity financing facility has also been executed by CF Principal Investments, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald LP.

Near has offices in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Paris, Bangalore, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.

Following the deal, Near will publicly list in the US where it will be named “Near Intelligence Inc” and trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “NIR”.

Its existing shareholders including Sequoia Capital, Telstra Ventures, JP Morgan, and Greater Pacific Capital have  agreed to convert all of their stakes into equity in the firm. Near’s current shareholders are expected to hold a roughly 68% stake in the firm in the event of zero redemptions and a successful private placement of $95 million of KludeIn’s common stock.

Near was founded in 2012 with an aim to help businesses better understand consumer behaviour to unlock growth strategies. It boasts one of the world’s largest data sources of intelligence on people, places, products with 1.6 billion unique user IDs in over 70 million places across 44 countries. Its data intelligence solutions help clients produce deep learnings on how consumers shop, travel, dine and buy products.

“Enterprises around the world have trusted Near to answer their critical questions that help drive and grow their business for more than a decade. The market demand for data around human movement and consumer behavior to understand changing markets and consumers is growing exponentially and now is the time to accelerate the penetration of the large and untapped $23 billion TAM,” said Anil Mathews, Founder and CEO of Near.

“Going public provides us the credibility and currency to double-down on growth and to continue executing on our winning flywheel for enhanced business outcomes over the next decade,” he added in the statement.

It serves major corporates including names like News Corp, Mastercard, and MetLife across a variety of sectors such as retail, real estate, restaurants, tourism, technology, marketing and others.

The merger comes at a time when the frenzy around SPACs as a shortcut to the public markets has, by and large, fizzled. Many planned SPAC mergers have been called off in recent times. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Singapore-based Carousell has abandoned its reported talks to merge with the blank-cheque firm L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp.

Meanwhile, B Capital Technology Opportunities, a SPAC formed by VC firm B Capital, said in a regulatory filing earlier this month that it has abandoned its plans to raise up to $200 million in an IPO in the US.

A blank-cheque company backed by China’s buyout firm Hony Capital, too, withdrew plans for a US initial public offering in April.

Investors have been discouraged by volatile markets that are deemed unfit for new stock flotations.

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