SINGAPORE (REUTERS) – Image recognition technology firm Trax, a start-up that is backed by GIC and US private equity giant Warburg Pincus, said it has raised US$100 million (S$136.2 million) in its latest funding round, becoming Singapore’s second unicorn.
The Series D round was led by Hopu Investments, an alternative asset manager in Asia focusing on the consumer and technology sectors, Trax said in a media statement on Tuesday (July 23).
During an interview in May, before this deal was finalised, Trax had said it was in talks with private equity firms to raise US$100 million at a pre-money valuation of about US$1.1 billion. With this price tag, Trax will become the Singapore’s second unicorn after ride-hailing giant Grab, which are start-ups valued at US$1 billion or over.
A source with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Tuesday that Trax was valued at US$1.3 billion after the latest round.
Trax, which providies computer vision and in-store analytics for the retail industry, said in May that the fresh capital would be used to finance three acquisitions as it expands in China and globally.
It had recently purchased a Beijing computer-vision start-up, LenzTech Co, and was also in advanced talks to buy a European competitor and a US company, according to Trax’s chief executive officer and co-founder Joel Bar-El during the interview.
On Tuesday, Hopu’s managing director Gunther Hamm said: “We are convinced that Trax can grow rapidly in China’s consumer landscape.”
“China’s retail market has digitalised rapidly, yet the vast majority of China’s brick and mortar stores remain underserved in store management, assortment and optimisation,” Mr Hamm noted, adding that Trax will be able to quickly capture this white space.
Trax said on Tuesday that the latest round of funding will go into accelerating its innovation and mass-market deployment of its retail solutions.
Headquartered in Singapore, Trax counts GIC, Boyu Capital, and Investec among its existing investors. American private equity firm Warburg Pincus is its largest shareholder.
Trax is eyeing an initial public offering in the US within the next 18 to 24 months, and said in May that it was also in talks with the Singapore Exchange for a potential dual listing.
The start-up provides in-store execution, market measurement and data analytics for manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods. It combines its proprietary fine-grained image recognition and machine-learning with an Internet of Things (IoT) platform, to turn photos of retail shelves into granular, actionable shelf and store-level insights.
Trax is also engaged in digital transformation projects with global retailers, to provide them with continuous shelf-tracking through its software and wireless IoT camera system.
To date, the company has raised more than US$350 million in equity financing, and operates in over 50 countries.
JP Morgan advised Trax on the Series D round.
Last month, the start-up said it is acquiring US rewards app Shopkick, adding a customer-tracking service to its growing stable of retail technology.