Startups

SoftBank’s 6 mega IPO bets in 2021 that might make Masayoshi Son demi-god for technology startups

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Insurance aggregator startup Policybazaar is looking for an IPO this year. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son was successfully able to silence his critics in 2020 after recovering from WeWork’s failed IPO fiasco with around $10 billion profit in December from investment in the food delivery startup DoorDash’s public offering and another successful IPO of Chinese online property platform KE Holdings in August. The criticism around Son’s strategy to back founders with unbridled capital to become market leaders was thrown out of the window to a significant extent. Now in 2021, Son is staring at the IPO windfall to continue with around six of the fund’s portfolio startups lined up for public offering likely in the new year that might reinforce Son’s stature as the ultimate startup backer.

PolicyBazaar

Insurance aggregator startup Policybazaar, which also counts Temasek, Sanjeev Bikhchandani’s Info Edge, Tencent, others, is looking for an IPO this year at a valuation upwards of $3.5 billion in September while the size of the offering will be around $500 million, Bloomberg had reported. The company is also looking to raise around $100 million ahead of the IPO with a valuation jump from around $1.5 billion from the preceding funding round. The company had reported operating revenues increased from Rs 158 crore in FY18 to Rs 310 crore in FY19 while losses had jumped from Rs 9.42 crore to Rs 213 crore.

Didi Chuxing

China’s ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, which had earlier invested in India’s Ola, is planning for a mega IPO in Hong Kong instead of New York initially amid the US-China tension and is targeting over $60 billion valuation. The IPO is expected in the first half of 2021, Reuters said reporting the development. Didi is also looking to raise a new round of funding ahead of the IPO to boost its valuation even as the company had said that it doesn’t have any “definitive” IPO plan. SoftBank had led the $500 million funding in Didi Chuxing in May last year even as it had earlier backed Uber and Ola.

ByteDance

Owner of popular short video app TikTok, which was banned in India last year, ByteDance was in talks with multiple investors including Sequoia to raise $2 billion at a valuation of whopping $180 billion before it could begin with the listing of some of its biggest assets Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, and news app Toutiao in Hong Kong. Bloomberg had reported the development in November. ByteDance was last valued at $140 billlion, according to CB Insights. TikTok was banned on June 29 along with 58 other Chinese apps in India by the Indian government over concerns that such apps were engaged in activities against the “national security and defence of India”.

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Coupang

The South Korean e-commerce major Coupang may go for an IPO in the second quarter of 2021 at a valuation of more than $30 billion. SoftBank had invested $2.7 billion from its Vision Fund to get a 37 per cent stake in the company, most of it at a $9 billion post-money valuation, according to a Bloomberg report. South Korea’s e-commerce market size is likely to reach $80.8 billion in 2021 and grow at an annual CAGR of 5.2 per cent between 2021-25 that is expected to have a market volume of $99.2 billion by 2025, as per Statista. The market’s biggest segment is fashion with a likely market volume of $23.5 billion in 2021.

Tokopedia

Much like South Korea’s e-commerce giant Coupang, Indonesia’s own Tokopedia is also lining up for a 2021 IPO worth nearly $1 billion as it plans a dual listing in its home country as well as the US. The company may be valued at $10 billion or above with the IPO, Reuters reported in December. Tokopedia had raised over $2 billion in total from leading startup backers including Alibaba and Temasek apart from SoftBank. Importantly, the company is in advanced talks with Indonesia’s cab booking and payments company GoJek ahead of the combined entity’s IPO, Bloomberg reported recently. The combined business would be worth $18 billion in valuation.

Auto1

Berlin-based online used car platform Auto1 Group GmbH is planning to raise $1.2 billion in new funding round that might value the SoftBank-backed company at more than $6 billion. SoftBank was valued at $3.4 billion at the time of investment from SoftBank Vision Fund in 2018. The development was reported by Bloomberg. According to Crunchbase, Auto1 had raised $1.4 billion in funding since founded in 2012 across nine rounds. Apart from SoftBank, other investors in the company included The Baupost Group, Farallon Capital Management, G Squared, and more.

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