July 22, 2019 / 4:06 PM / 4 months ago

Trax gets $100 million funding, becomes Singapore's second unicorn

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Warburg Pincus-backed image recognition technology firm Trax, a startup that counts Heineken (HEIN.AS) and Nestle (NESN.S) among its clients, said it has raised $100 million (80.2 million pounds) in its latest funding round, becoming Singapore’s second unicorn.

Chinese private-equity firm Hopu Investments led the financing for the nine-year-old firm, Trax said in a statement.

“Trax will use this latest round of funding to further support the global expansion of the company and accelerate mass-market deployment of its retail solutions,” the startup said, adding it hoped to increase its footprint in China.

The statement did not mention a valuation, but a source with direct knowledge of the deal said Trax was valued at $1.3 billion after the latest round.

The company is headquartered in Singapore, but does the majority of its research and development out of Israel.

Aided by lucrative grants and incentives, Singapore has been ramping up its efforts to attract high-tech firms and investors as it seeks to become Asia’s top tech hub.

Backers of Trax, whose platform helps track products in stores and provides shelf management and analytics, include Boyu Capital, Investec and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Ahead of Trax’s latest funding, research firm CB Insights named payments and ride-hailing firm Grab as Singapore’s only unicorn, which are startups valued at $1 billion or over.

Trax, which has raised more than $350 million so far, is eyeing an IPO in the United States, its biggest market, in the next 18-24 months, its CEO and co-founder Joel Bar-El told Reuters in an interview last month.

The company plans to use funds for acquisitions and to finance the tiny cameras it fits in customers’ stores to help track products.

(This story has been refiled to correct company description in paragraph 7)

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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