Baby products etailer FirstCry is the latest unicorn in SoftBank Vision Fund portfolio

Baby products etailer FirstCry is the latest unicorn in SoftBank Vision Fund portfolio
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7 Feb, 2020

FirstCry, the omnichannel baby products retailer owned by Pune-based Brainbees Solutions, has received Rs 2120 crore (nearly $300 million) from SoftBank Vision Fund, as part of an ongoing growth funding round that will see the Vision Fund put close to $400 million to work in the company. 

By TechCircle’s estimates, the latest infusion puts FirstCry’s valuation at more than $1 billion, making it the first homegrown player from the baby products segment to become a unicorn (industry parlance for private companies valued at $1 billion or more).

BrainBees Solutions has approved the allotment of 73.1 million Series E equity shares at Rs 386 (including a premium of Rs 381) a share to SVF Frog, a Cayman Islands registered entity of Softbank, according to the company’s latest regulatory filings.

SoftBank Vision Fund now holds around 40% equity in the 10-year old company.

The remaining Rs 703.71 crore (about $100 million) will be pumped in January next year, the filings showed.

TechCircle had reported in January last year that the Vision Fund, promoted by Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp, would invest close to $400 million in FirstCry in two tranches, citing prior regulatory filings. 

Founded in 2010 by Brainvisa Technologies founder Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha, FirstCry has survived consolidation in a sector that has seen most players fold operations due to multiple factors. Notably, automobiles-to-software conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra bought FirstCry rival BabyOye in 2015 in what was widely reported as a distress deal. A year later, BabyOye was acquired by FirstCry itself in a cash-and-stock deal worth $54.3 million.

Apart from SoftBank, other investors in FirstCry include Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Chiratae Ventures, San Francisco headquartered hedge fund Valiant Capital Partners, and early-to-growth stage investors New Enterprise Associates and SAIF Partners. 

The company claims to offer more than two lakh baby and kids products across categories including diapers, feeding and nursing, skin and healthcare, toys, clothes, footwear, and fashion accessories among others. Besides an online storefront, the company also has 400-plus offline stores across India, according to its website.

In November last year, it entered the pre-primary education business with the acquisition of Oi Playschool for an undisclosed amount. FirstCry’s e-commerce focused logistics company XpressBees recently raised $10 million from Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba group.