SoftBank invests $300m in Indian baby products retailer FirstCry

Photo by li tzuni on Unsplash

SoftBank Group Corp. has invested about $300 million (Rs 2,120 crore) against fresh equity shares in baby and mother care products retailer FirstCry.

The Japanese conglomerate will pump in additional $100 million (Rs 703.71 crore) as a second tranche of investment in the Indian company a year later, show the company’s regulatory filings dated 17 January 2020 sourced by paper.vc.

BrainBees Solutions, the owner of FirstCry, has issued 73.16 million Series E equity shares at a price of Rs 386 per share to SVF Frog, a Cayman Islands-registered entity of SoftBank, totalling to Rs 2,824 crore, the filings show. The round has valued FirstCry at about $850 million.

SoftBank Vision Fund now holds about 46.6 per cent stake in the Indian retailer.

Prior to this round, FirstCry had raised about $125 million in total from investors including IDG Ventures India (now Chiratae Ventures), SAIF Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek.

FirstCry is not only the dominant player in online baby products retailing, but also has a sizeable presence offline, which makes it more attractive for investors.

In 2016, FirstCry acquired the franchise division of Mahindra Retail Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, which owned online babycare business BabyOye for $54.2 million in a cash-and-stock deal. It was also said to be in talks to acquire rights to operate stores of UK-based kids products company Mothercare in India.

The funding from SoftBank is likely to help FirstCry grow both online and offline to take on bigger rivals with broader reach such as Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart, Reliance and the Future Group. The capital reportedly will also be used to scale up the recently launched parenting platform adding multi-media formats as well as for foray into private labels.

Meanwhile, SoftBank has already deployed $10 billion across Indian startups, including OYO, Grofers, Lenskart, Delhivery, FirstCry, Ola, PayTM, and PolicyBazaar. The group has also been assisting a number of these firms to tap international markets.

Last December, Lenskart Solutions Private Limited raised about $231 million (Rs 1,645 crore) in its Series G round of funding from Japanese behemoth SoftBank Group Corp. In November, Oyo Hotels & Homes (OYO) also received its board approval to raise $1.5 billion in primary capital infusion from its largest investor, SoftBank Vision Fund, and RA Hospitality. The round is expected to value OYO at about $10 billion.

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.