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Lenskart Eyeing Unicorn tag with $350 Mn SoftBank Investment

It seems that there is no stopping SoftBank’s love affair with the Indian startup world. Eyewear omnichannel startup Lenskart is now most likely to become the latest beneficiary of SoftBank’s investment overtures. According to Economic Times (ET), Japanese tech investor is in talks to invest $350 million in Lenskart at an eye-popping valuation of $1.3 billion.

Lenskart may become latest unicorn with likely $350 mn SoftBank funding.

This is a massive jump from its previous valuation of $460-470 Mn and will propel the Delhi based startup to the coveted unicorn club. The size of India’s unicorn club has been steadily swelling over the last few months, with online grocery startup Groffers making debut in the prestigious club only few weeks back.

SoftBank and Lenskart have been involved in discussions during past few months and deal is likely to fructify in coming weeks or months. Japanese tech investor wanted to infuse larger investment amount to help Lenskart in faster international expansion but the company wasn’t really excited about it, ET quoted an unidentified source as saying.

The eyewear startup’s international expansion was recently marked by its entry in Singapore where it plans to launch 50-60 stores over the next three years before entering in other lucrative markets like Philippines, Taiwan and the Middle East.

Talks with Carlyle Group Collapsed over Valuation  

Much before SoftBank came into picture, Carlyle Group was reportedly all geared up to spearhead a fresh funding round but the talks presumably collapsed on disagreement over market valuation. Carlyle Group settled for market valuation of about t $700 Mn, way lower than the company’s expectation.

Separately, existing investor Steadview Capital has infused $12-20 million through secondary investment. This has reportedly led to partial exit of other existing investors like Ronnie Screwvala and TR Capital. With secondary investment, Steadview Capital now owns 9-9.5% stake in the company.

LensKart’s entry in the coveted unicorn club will officially make it one of the most successful omnichannel startups. It will also become the first eyewear startup to clock valuation beyond $1 Bn. Other startups that have been fairly successful in executing omnichannel strategy include Nykaa, Urban Ladder, Pepperfry and FirstCry.

If reports are to be believed, LensKart registered the annual revenue of Rs 500 crore over loss of Rs 70 crore for Fy18-19.


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