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SoftBank Vision Fund’s Navneet Govil Reveals IPO Plans for Swiggy, Lenskart, FirstCry, and OfBusiness

Leading the charge toward their initial public offerings (IPOs) are a quartet of companies within SoftBank’s expansive portfolio: Swiggy, the food delivery platform; Lenskart, a notable eyewear brand; FirstCry, a retailer specializing in baby products; and OfBusiness, a B2B commerce startup. The prospect of these IPOs has caught the attention of market watchers, with SoftBank Vision Fund’s Managing Partner and CFO, Navneet Govil, sharing insights in an interview with The Economic Times.

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Govil disclosed that FirstCry is gearing up to file its IPO papers by the end of 2023. These SoftBank-affiliated entities collectively hold an impressive valuation of $42 billion, marking a considerable foothold within the tech landscape.

Discussing the financial health of SoftBank’s diverse portfolio, Govil emphasized that a substantial 93% of the conglomerate’s 473 firms exhibit a positive cash runway spanning over 12 months. Following a period of relative inactivity due to six consecutive quarters of losses, the Vision Fund is now poised to resume reinvestments, symbolizing a renewed era of strategic involvement.

SoftBank’s history has seen both successes and challenges within its portfolio, with some companies experiencing setbacks or closure. Govil noted that underperforming firms have been identified and appropriately adjusted for in their valuation.

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image 216 SoftBank Vision Fund's Navneet Govil Reveals IPO Plans for Swiggy, Lenskart, FirstCry, and OfBusiness

Upon the public debut of these portfolio companies, SoftBank intends to divest its shares to unlock value. Govil provided the example of their involvement with Uber, in which they initially invested $7.7 billion, only to subsequently divest completely.

SoftBank’s engagements extend across both public and private sectors in India, as evidenced by their recent stake sale in Lenskart. Going forward, the conglomerate is directing its investments toward artificial intelligence-focused companies showcasing robust growth trajectories across India, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

image 215 SoftBank Vision Fund's Navneet Govil Reveals IPO Plans for Swiggy, Lenskart, FirstCry, and OfBusiness

With a keen eye on future investments, Govil emphasized that the selection criteria will be stringent, acknowledging the high bar they’ve set for new ventures. He clarified that while there aren’t specific regional targets, SoftBank boasts an impressive financial foundation, including over $40 billion in cash on its balance sheet. Their Vision Fund – II holds commitments amounting to $60 billion, of which they’ve already invested $51.5 billion, leaving a substantial $8.5 billion available for future strategic deployments.

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