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SoftBank invests USD 300 million in baby care company FirstCry

FirstCry will use the money to expand its physical presence and compete with e-tailers such as Amazon India and Flipkart.

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Pune-based omni-channel baby and mother care company FirstCry, has received USD 300 million from Japan’s Softbank Group Corp. (SoftBank) in the first tranche of an overall USD 400 million investment, according to regulatory filings sourced by Paper.vc.

SoftBank will pour USD 100 million in the company as the second tranche of the investment in January 2021. The Japanese conglomerate holds a 40% stake in FirstCry, following its investment in the company.

FirstCry’s parent company BrainBees Solutions has issued 73.16 million Series E equity shares at a price of INR 386 (USD 5.42) per share to SVF Frog, a SoftBank entity registered in the Cayman Islands, totaling INR 2,824 crore (USD 424 million), the filings show.

The company will use the funding to expand its physical footprint. It currently has more than 400 physical stores across India, apart from its online presence. It will also use the money to increase its capabilities to compete with players such as Amazon India and Flipkart, which are quickly gaining ground in this space.

Prior to the current round of investment, FirstCry had raised USD 125 million from Chiratae Ventures, SAIF Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek.

The decade-old company acquired its competitor BabyOye from its parent company Mahindra Retail in 2016 in an all-stock deal worth over USD 50 million. Post-acquisition, it became an undisputed leader in the baby and mother care sector.

SoftBank has of late been focusing on investing in clear leaders in the country rather than going after startups. In the last four months, it has invested in companies that are dominant in their respective sectors. While in December 2019, it pumped USD 231 million in Lenskart, an omni-channel eye care company, it invested USD 1 billion in fintech major Paytm the month before.