Singapore startup Trax close to raising $100m at pre-money valuation of $1.1b

Trax co-founder and CEO Joel Bar-El speaks at the Asia PE-VC Summit 2018 organised by DealStreetAsia.

Trax, a Singapore-based startup serving the retail industry, is finalizing a deal to raise $100 million at a pre-money valuation of about $1.1 billion, a price tag that could make it the second most valuable startup in the city-state.

The company is talking with a few private equity firms and the new funding round is expected to close by the end of June, Chief Executive Officer Joel Bar-El said in an interview ahead of a conference at Singapore Exchange Ltd. Monday. Trax raised $125 million last year in a round led by Chinese private equity firm Boyu Capital, and Singapore’s GIC Pte came on board as a shareholder later.

The new round is aimed at financing three acquisitions. Trax recently signed a deal to buy a direct competitor in Beijing, and it’s in advanced negotiations to buy a European competitor and a U.S. company, Bar-El said.

The moves come as Trax is planning for an initial public offering in the next 18 to 24 months, he said. Trax has long planned for the listing on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange. However, the company is now also in talks with SGX for a potential dual listing after the local exchange approached the company, he said.

“We are having a discussion with SGX for a potential dual listing,” he said. SGX has proposed doing a listing in Singapore first and then in New York, which Trax is reviewing. “New York, for sure, we are going eventually. Now we have grown to a substantial size, both in terms of revenues and the number of people, global spread, we feel that the company is ready for an IPO.”

Trax’s image recognition technology is being used by global consumer packaged goods companies, including Coca-Cola Co. and Nestle SA, to track their products on retail shelves. The company now has 175 clients in 50 countries and counts private equity firm Warburg Pincus as its biggest shareholder.

Bar-El founded Trax in 2010 after a chance meeting in Singapore with acquaintance Dror Feldheim, now the company’s chief commercial officer. He said there are advantages to listing in Singapore, where the company has its headquarters along with two co-founders and other senior managers.

Bar-El said Uber Technologies Inc.’s lackluster stock market debut won’t dampen Trax’s IPO prospects. His company has the flexibility go public any time.

“As long as you have a good company that has a solid business model, blue chip clients and expanding business model, those companies will always be successful,” he said. “Trax has always burned very little cash and we provide solutions for a huge industry, the retail industry. We are not intimidated.”

Bloomberg

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.

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.