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Honest Company plots a comeback in its IPO

April 12, 2021, 3:00 PM UTC

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Despite recent rough currents in the IPO world, startups still seem intent on stepping into the waters. 

The most recent entrant: The Honest Company, a startup that markets itself as a seller of ethical diapers and personal care products, filed on Friday for an IPO. Founded by actress Jessica Alba, the IPO seems to reflect its investors’ hopes of a comeback for the company

Early reports suggest Honest is seeking a valuation of around $2 billion, although a company’s first IPO filing does not give a price range or share count. Achieving that valuation would be a Herculean return for the company: Riding a surge in consumer retail startups and interest in sustainable goods, in 2015 Honest broke into the unicorn club with a price tag of $1.7 billion. But in the years following, the company faced lawsuits accusing it of mislabelling products as natural or chemical-free. In 2017, Honest raised a downround that valued it at below $1 billion.

Honest’s performance compared to its peak 2015 valuation is unclear, but top and bottom lines for last year trended in the right direction. In its IPO prospectus, Honest points to a year spurred by pandemic demand. After revenue dipped ever so slightly between 2018 to 2019, the figure jumped about 29% to about $301 million in 2020. And during 2020, losses narrowed by 53% to $14.5 million.

While the past year was undoubtedly one of growth for the company, the question remains: Will that 28% growth on revenue year over year be enough for investors? Pure-play technology companies also going public are posting greater gains in revenue.MICROSOFT’S NUANCE: Microsoft will acquire Nuance Communications, a speech recognition company focused on health care, in an all-cash deal valuing the latter at about $19.7 billion. The acquisition points to Microsoft’s strategy of focusing deeper on healthcare tech and cloud software. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


- Better, a New York-based mortgage lender, has been valued at $6 billion after SoftBank acquired about $500 million in shares from existing investors. Read more.

- The Zebra, an Austin-based maker of an insurance comparison site, raised $150 million in Series D funding, valuing it at over $1 billion. Investors included Weatherford Capital and Accel.

- Ramp, a New York-based corporate card startup, raised $115 million in funding. D1 Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Stripe, Goldman Sachs, Founders Fund, Coatue Management, Thrive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Box Group, Neo, and Contrary Capital.

- SKIMS, a Culver City, Calif.-based underwear, loungewear and shapewear maker, raised $154 million in Series A funding. Thrive Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Imaginary Ventures and Alliance Consumer Growth, valuing the company at $1.6 billion.

- Antios Therapeutics, a Mendham, N.J.-based company focused on chronic hepatitis, raised $96 million in Series B funding. Soleus Capital led the round and was joined by investors including RA Capital Management, Adage Capital Management, Pontifax, and Aisling Capital 

- Higher Ground Education, a Lake Forest, Calif.-based network of Montessori-focused schools, raised $30 million in Series D funding. Learn Capital led the round.

- Orum, a New York-based maker of financial infrastructure, raised a $21 million in Series A led by Bain Capital Ventures and was joined by investors including Inspired Capital, Homebrew, Acrew, Primary, Clocktower, and Box Group.

- Battery Resourcers, a Worcester, Mass.-based lithium-ion battery recycling and manufacturing company, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Orbia Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including At One Ventures, TDK Ventures, TRUMPF Venture, Doral Energy-Tech Venture, and InMotion Ventures.

- SHYFT Power Solutions, a Nigeria-based maker of software focused on optimizing energy resources in emerging markets, raised $3.1 million in additional seed funding. SoftBank Vision Fund’s Emerge Program and Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including Lofty, Samurai Ventures, and UrbanUS Ventures.

- Realworld, a New York-based platform focused on Gen-Zs, raised $3.4 million in seed funding. Fitz Gate Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Bezos Expeditions, Knightsgate Ventures, The Helm, Great Oaks VC, Copper Wire Ventures, AmplifyHer Ventures, Underdog Labs, Human Ventures, and Techstars.

- illumy, a San Ramon-based communications platform, raised $2.2 million. Chai Angels participated.

- Arli, an Australia-based maker of an addiction recovery platform, raised AU$2.5 million ($1.9 million). Folklore Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including AirTree.


- Platinum Equity will acquire Club Car, Ingersoll Rand’s (NYSE: IR) Augusta, Ga.-based golf cart business, for around $1.7 billion.

- KPS Capital will acquire 80% of  Crown HoldingsEuropean tinplate business for about 2.25 billion euros ($2.68 billion).

- ABC Fitness Solutions, backed by Thoma Bravo, acquired Fitness BI, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based provider business reporting solutions for gyms. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Dynamic Quest, backed by Spire Capital, acquired Integrated Solutions, a Birmingham, Ala.-based IT service provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- 3PL Central acquired Skubana, Nyack, N.Y.-based inventory management system, from investors including Defy Ventures. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TTEC Holdings (NASDAQ:TTEC) acquired Avtex Solutions, a Minneapolis-based customer experience solution provider, from investors including Norwest Equity Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Trilantic North America and Investcorp acquired RoadSafe Traffic Systems, a Chicago, Ill.-based provider of traffic control and pavement marking services to roadway, construction, state transportation, railroad and utility customers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), the Chinese tech company, has been fined $2.8 billion by Chinese regulators over monopolistic behavior. Read more.

- Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) and Marc Lore ( founder) are acquiring the Minnesota Timberwolves, a basketball team, for about $1.5 billion, per ESPN. Read more.

- DiaSorin SA will acquire Luminex (Nasdaq: LMNX), an Austin-based biological testing tech company, for $1.8 billion in an all-cash deal.


- Didi Chuxing, a Beijing-based ride hailing company, filed confidentially for an IPO in the U.S. A deal could value it between $70 billion to $80 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Vaccitech, the U.K.-based company behind the tech for Aztrazeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, filed for a U.S. IPO. Oxford University, Prudential, and Google Ventures back the firm.

- Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, Calif.-based maker of plant-based proteins, is planning for an IPO that could value it at $10 billion, per Reuters. Read more.


- Cellebrite, an Israel-based digital investigation company, will go public via merger with TWC Tech Holdings II, a SPAC. A deal will value it at $2.4 billion.

- Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based biotech, is in talks to go public via merger with Soaring Eagle Acquisition, a SPAC from former Hollywood executives Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, in a deal that could value the company at $20 billion, per Reuters. Read more.

- Grab, a Singaporean ride hailing company, is expected to reveal a deal to go public via merger with Altimeter Growth, a SPAC. A deal could value it at $34 billion. Read more.

- Traveloka, an Indonesian travel booking site, is expected to go public via merger with Bridgetown Holdings, a SPAC from Richard Li and Peter Thiel. A deal could value it at $5 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.


- Ardian, a Paris-based investment house, raised €6.5 billion ($7.8 billion). for its control buyout fund, Ardian Buyout Fund VII. It also raised €1 billion ($1.2 billion) via LP co-investments.

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