MapmyIndia—a digital mapping startup whose data powers some of the biggest companies in the world—started trading on India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday.
Shares of MapmyIndia—formally known as CE Info Systems Ltd.—listed at a 54% premium in its Tuesday initial public offering (IPO) owing to abundant investor demand, valuing the maps provider at approximately $1.12 billion, and extending India’s IPO bull run despite recent market volatility.
MapmyIndia stock was trading at $18.2 per share, down from its listing price of $20.67, as of Tuesday 12:55 p.m. Hong Kong time.
“We are grateful [for the]…retail investors, domestic institutional investors, including mutual funds and insurance companies, and marquee internationally renowned investors, [that] participated in our IPO,” Rohan Verma, CEO of MapmyIndia, whose parents, Rakesh and Rashmi Verma, founded the company 26 years ago, told Fortune.
The Tuesday offering attracted global investment banks and institutions such as Fidelity, Nomura, and Goldman Sachs, as well as India’s HDFC Bank, SBI Mutual Fund, and ICICI Prudential. MapmyIndia’s investors include U.S. mobile technology firm Qualcomm, Japanese mapmaker Zenrin, and Walmart-owned Indian payments startup PhonePe.
The nearly three-decades–old startup sells a wide range of digital mapping data and technology—including 3D and artificial intelligence–powered maps; and GPS navigation services and tracking devices—to some of the world’s largest companies. Its 500-plus clients include McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Avis, Apple, and Uber. The company has mapped nearly 6.3 million kilometers of road, 17.8 million places, and 14.5 million addresses, according to its official website.
India’s IPO frenzy
MapmyIndia’s stellar debut follows a recent rush of IPOs in the country.
Fueled by a stock market rally, India’s tech startups have raced to go public in the past six months. In July, food delivery app Zomato kicked off the trend when it raised $1.6 billion; shares of the platform surged over 70% on its first trading day. Three months later, online cosmetics retailer Nykaa saw its shares balloon over 80% on its Nov. 10 trading debut, while digital insurance aggregator Policybazaar recorded a 17% stock surge during its Nov. 15 debut.
Still, the most anticipated IPO in India this year—digital payments firm Paytm’s Nov. 18 offering, which was also India’s biggest IPO ever—became one of India’s worst market debuts and led investors to reevaluate India’s once-hot IPO market. Paytm stock sank 27% below its issue price on its first day of trading.
MapmyIndia’s IPO could “pave the way for more [niche] companies to enter the public market,” says Nikhil Kamath, cofounder of asset management firm True Beacon and Indian stock brokerage Zerodha.
But India’s IPO bull run in the past half year has propelled share valuations to unsustainable highs, says Arun Kejriwal, founder of Mumbai-based private equity advisory firm Kejriwal Research and Investment Services. MapmyIndia’s public offering has come during a volatile time in India’s equity market—the benchmark BSE Sensex has plunged 10.6% from its record high on Oct. 19 as investors weigh the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and inflation concerns—and it’s a “good thing” for the market if there’s a correction and share valuations are priced more conservatively, says Kejriwal.
Unlike its peers, MapmyIndia is already profitable. The digital mapmaker increased its revenue by nearly 20% to $25.3 million in its financial year ended March 2021; while its net profit grew 158% to $7.9 million during the same period. MapmyIndia’s current valuation may be overpriced, says Kamath, but he adds that the company holds enormous opportunity to scale up, especially if it can adopt user-based technology for plotting routes instead of relying solely on satellite maps.
The firm is an “economic moat…with a 98.5% coverage of India’s road network [and] has managed to consistently book in profits. While [MapmyIndia] does come in at a premium to its international peers, [Indian] investors seem to be willing to stomach much higher valuations for faster growing firms,” wrote Clarence Chu, equity analyst at Aequitas Research in a Monday note, who publishes on the Smartkarma platform.
Post-IPO, the firm plans to expand in India and internationally, and to build up its offerings in South Asian markets like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan, alongside Myanmar, Egypt, and the UAE. It has already integrated maps from 200 countries onto its software platform, CEO Verma told Fortune.
MapmyIndia benefited this year from a “paradigm shift” in India’s mapping policies, wrote Probir Roy Chowdhury, partner at Mumbai- and Delhi-based JSA Advocates and Solicitors, in an April note. That month, the Indian government liberalized its mapping rules, which gave the digital mapmaker a distinct advantage in a country that’s notoriously difficult to map.
The government’s April guidelines stipulated that only Indian companies are now allowed to “acquire, collect, generate, prepare, digitize, and create geospatial data of any spatial accuracy within India” using mapping technology like drones, street-view maps, satellite-based remote sensing, and underwater mapping, wrote Chowdhury. Foreign firms are barred from doing the same.
The new rules provide homegrown companies like MapmyIndia with a competitive advantage as its international competitors are obliged to acquire such domestic map data from Indian companies. MapmyIndia competes with global firms like Google Maps, says Kamath, as it doesn’t have any domestic rivals.
Still, the digital mapmaker is highly dependent on a key group of customers in its core Indian market, and diversification and international expansion will be key to sustaining its growth, analysts say. In the first half of the company’s 2022 fiscal year, 80% of MapmyIndia’s revenue came from 18 customers; and over half its revenue comes from the automotive and mobility segment.
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