After $100m fundraise, SG-headquartered Near on the prowl for acquisitions in US

Near founder and CEO Anil Mathews

Fresh after raising its $100-million Series D round last month, Singapore-headquartered artificial intelligence (AI) startup Near is on the hunt for acquisitions in the US.

Founded in 2012, Near collects, manages and analyses location, enterprise and consumer data to provide actionable insights to its customers that include News Corp, MetLife, MasterCard and WeWork. It claims to process data from over 1.6 billion monthly users across 44 countries. Its key markets are in the Asia Pacific across Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, with Australia being its largest market by revenue.

Near CEO and founder Anil Mathews believes the company is ready for a larger international play. In an interview with DealStreetAsia, he said the firm is actively scouting for suitable targets to penetrate the US market, one of the largest and most competitive SaaS markets in the world. 

Mathews listed US-based company Factual as one of its competitors, but said that he is not seeking to buy it out. 

“We are looking at US companies to acquire as we speak…We are looking at someone who can complement and sell our current product. It could be a competitor. But we haven’t zeroed in on anyone on the list that are competitors as well,” said Mathews.

Mathews added that Near was already EBITDA positive before closing its $100 million Series D round by London-based private equity firm Greater Pacific Capital. A “small portion” will be used to finance its overseas acquisitions, while the rest will be dedicated to acquiring, storing and analysing data in its existing markets. 

Near declined to disclose revenue or valuation figures. However, it is growing by 100 per cent year-on-year. Mathews also expects an exit within the next two to three years but did not share whether he foresees this exit being in the form of an IPO or a trade sale. 

While Greater Pacific Capital is Near’s largest shareholder, it does not hold a majority stake in the company. Other investors on its cap table are Cisco Investments, Telstra Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, JP Morgan Partners, Global Brain Corporation, Canaan Partners and OurCrowd. 

Edited excerpts of an interview with Near founder and CEO Anil Mathews: 

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.