Indias online retailer of baby products, Firstcry is reportedly in discussions with Japans SoftBank Group Corporation and Chinas Alibaba Group Holding Limited to raise approximately USD 100-150 million. As per trusted sources, the exact amount to be raised for the latest round is yet to be finalized. According to a report published by The ET Rise, SoftBank is buoyed by hefty returns on its investment in Indias largest online retailer Flipkart and is scouting for fresh deals with digital and consumer internet firms in the country. The Japanese investment powerhouse largely invests from its USD 100 billion Vision Fund and has backed ride-hailing app Ola and hotel chain OYO and has even reportedly held talks with tech-focused logistics companies like Delhivery. Unlike numerous e-commerce companies, FirstCry garners the bulk of its revenue from its network of over 300 stores even though its offline business is much smaller than the online one. Sources privy to the matter claim that FirstCry was in talks with a slew of potential investors including Chinas Tencent Holdings and Singapores Temasek Holdings. For the record, the Pune-based FirstCry (Brainbees Solutions Private Limited) was established in 2010 by Amitava Saha and Supam Maheshwari. The company is one of the very few e-commerce brands to have thrived despite competition from Amazon and Flipkart in the past three years. Reportedly, FirstCry has raised more than USD 100 million from Vertex Ventures, SAIF Partners, New Enterprise Associates, IDG Ventures India (now Chiratae Ventures), Mahindra, and others. Reportedly, the talks are at an early stage and the deal is still far from certain. Both SoftBank and Alibaba may participate in the funding round if the latest discussions progress to the next stage, claim sources familiar with the matter. Subsequently, the round size can end up being larger than the USD 100 to 150 million range that is being currently discussed.
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