√ Grapevine: FirstCry venture to hunt sellers on ecommerce marketplaces; upGrad to raise funds – Fees

Omnichannel children’s retailer FirstCry has received a $75 million commitment from Japan’s SoftBank, TPG, ChrysCapital and PremjiInvest to launch India’s largest Thrasio-style investment venture Global Bees, sources told The Economic Times

Thrasio is a Boston-based ecommerce startup that acquires small merchants and brands that sell through the Amazon marketplace.

Global Bees will be headed by Nitin Agarwal, former group tech chief of Edelweiss Financial Services, the sources said. 

It will buy, consolidate and fast-track the growth of businesses that sell products on ecommerce marketplaces in India. 

Global Bees will look to acquire up to 40 direct-to-consumer firms over the next three to four years, investing $2-6 million in each. 

It will look to partner or acquire brands across categories and will not limit itself to FirstCry’s mainstay children’s category, one of the sources said. “The company will either buy out these smaller brands or will pick up a controlling stake in these companies to work alongside the founders,” he added. 

upGrad

Edtech platform focused on higher education upGrad is in advanced talks with World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) to raise $40 million at a valuation of $850 million, The Economic Times report said citing two people. 

Ronnie Screwvala, the executive chairman, confirmed the development. 

upGrad recently raised $120 million from Singapore state investor Temasek.  

Classplus 

Bunch Microtechnologies, which runs edtech platform Classplus, is set to raise over $30 million, an Entrackr report said citing three people in the know. 

“GSV Ventures would lead the round and existing investors including Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) will participate,” one of the persons said. 

Classplus had raised Rs 75 crore in its Series C round of funding in September 2020 from AWI, RTP Global and Blume Ventures.  

The Series C round came within six months of the company raising Rs 68 crore in its Series B round.  

The sources said that the coming round would value the company at up to $150 million. 

Kotak

Kotak Investment Advisors is planning to launch an $800 million Indian infrastructure fund, managing director Srini Sriniwasan told The Economic Times in an interview. 

The new ESG (environmental, social and governance) fund will not invest in thermal power. The money will be raised from domestic and global institutional investors.  

“We are in advanced discussions with investors. We hope to be in business by the third quarter of the fiscal,” Sriniwasan said. 

VCCircle previously reported in February that Kotak was planning to launch an infrastructure fund.  

Tamilnad Mercantile Bank 

Ninety-nine-year Tamilnad Mercantile Bank is planning an initial public offering of up to Rs 1,300 crore, CEO KV Rama Moorthy told The Economic Times in an interview. 

“We are planning to hit the market by the third quarter of the fiscal. The calculations are being made but post the offer for sale and fresh issue of shares we expect a 10% dilution in our equity base,” Moorthy said adding that he expects a valuation of up to two times the book value. 

Freshworks 

Freshworks, a US maker of business and customer engagement software that competes against Salesforce.com Inc, has hired Morgan Stanley to lead a US initial public offering (IPO) for a float on Nasdaq at a valuation of around $10 billion, two people told The Economic Times.

Freshworks was valued at around $3.5 billion in its last funding round worth $235 million in November 2019. 

Byju’s

India’s most valued edtech startup Byju’s is set to become India’s most valued startup with $150 million from UBS Group AG at a valuation of about $16.5 billion, a Bloomberg report said citing multiple people. 

This round would take UBS’ total investment in Byju’s to about $300 million, the people said. The startup could rope in another backer to take the fresh funding to $400 million, one of the persons said. 

Byju’s recently raised about $1 billion from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group along with other investors  

√ Grapevine: FirstCry venture to hunt sellers on ecommerce marketplaces; upGrad to raise funds – Fees
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