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Is SHEIN really worth $100 billion in today’s market?

April 4, 2022, 4:41 PM UTC

You can call it the 12-figure club. That’s how many numbers you get once your valuation supersedes the $100 billion marker. 

And that—$100 billion—is the figure SHEIN is valued at after its new funding round, per Axios, citing a source familiar with the deal (Bloomberg first reported they were raising the round this weekend). That’s a whole lot of zero’s.

There only appear to be three companies that have achieved “hectocorn” status, per Pitchbook: Bytedance, which notched a titanic $360 billion valuation in February 2021; Stripe, a $152 billion valuation following a secondary transaction last year; and SpaceX, valued at $100.3 billion as of August. 

Now it looks as if SHEIN will rank among them. The fast fashion retailer, based in Shenzhen, China, has reportedly raised approximately $1 billion in funding from investors including General Atlantic (A General Atlantic spokesperson declined to comment). That’s following a Series E round in August 2020, which valued the company at around $15 billion, per Pitchbook.

It’s a rather surprising time for a company to get so aggressive with their terms. Public tech companies have been performing poorly, the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, and venture capitalists are sending letters to founders, warning they may need to buckle up and prepare for a few tough months. And in any environment, $100 billion is still a lofty number, particularly for a company that has suffered a slew of criticism over having low-quality items and for allegedly copying designs from independent designers repeatedly. (A SHEIN spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment on the matter)

Regardless, SHEIN appears to have found some success in convincing young shoppers on Instagram or TikTok to head to their site and press the “buy” button. Last year, more people downloaded the app in the U.S. than they did Amazon.com. In 2020, its sales tripled to $10 billion. The company partners with so-called “influencers” like Khloe Kardashian or Lil Nas X to advertise their brand. 

But will investors in SHEIN have a runway to an exit? China’s tech crackdown—which began when regulators pulled the plug on Ant Group’s big IPO plans, then banned ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing from the app store shortly after it went public—has stalled the region’s IPO pipeline. The route to going public in New York has become more challenging with both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Chinese regulators now disenchanted with the “variable interest entity” model Chinese companies had frequently deployed to go public in the U.S. 

As for SHEIN, its CEO has reportedly considered obtaining Singaporean citizenship to avoid issues with regulators (a SHEIN spokesperson previously told Fortune that its executives haven’t applied for citizenship in Singapore). Reuters reported that the company was weighing a public offering in the U.S. only a few months ago, but it has since put those plans on hold due to troublesome market volatility in recent weeks. 

A soft exit… Ron Fisher, head of SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund U.S. arm is stepping down as director and chairman later this month, per Bloomberg. He reportedly will continue on as a senior advisor to SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. Fisher had been slowly stepping away from his role at the company since last year, when he left SoftBank’s board.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- Collectors Holdings, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based collectibles authentication, management, and marketplace services provider, raised $100 million in funding led by D1 Capital Partners and was joined by investors including Turner, Cohen Private Ventures, and TCG Capital Management.

- Labster, a Copenhagen-based virtual labs and interactive science platform, raised $47 million in funding led by Sofina Group and Pirate Impact and was joined by investors including Owl Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, EduCapital, NPF Technologies, GGV Capital, Balderton Capital, Northzone, Swisscom Ventures, and founder of Unity Technologies David Helgason.

- Budget Insight, a Paris-based aggregator of banking and financial data, raised $35 million in funding from PSG Equity.

- Fractal, a marketplace for gaming NFTs, raised $35 million in seed funding led by Paradigm and Multicoin Capital and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Solana Labs, Animoca, Coinbase, Play Ventures, Position Ventures, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Crossover, Shrug Capital, TerraForm CEO Do Kwon, and Tim Ferriss.

- ARC Clean Energy Canada, a Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada-based advanced small modular reactor technology provider, raised $30 million CAD ($24 million) led by the Province of New Brunswick

- VivoSense, a Newport Coast, Calif.-based healthcare analytics software developer, raised $25 Million in Series A funding co-led by the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund and Debiopharm

- lemon.markets, a Berlin-based API provider for stock trading and market data, raised €15 million ($16.6 million) in seed funding co-led by Lakestar and Lightspeed and was joined by investors including Creandum, System.one, and others.

- PocketHealth, a Toronto-based medical image sharing platform for patients, raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Questa Capital and was joined by Radical Ventures

- Antimatter, an Oakland, Calif.-based data security company for SaaS applications, raised $12 million in Series A funding led by NEA and was joined by investors including General Catalyst, UNION Labs, and other angels.

- Token||Traxx, an NFT platform for the music industry, raised $5 million in funding from investors including New Zealand Funds and Syzygy Investment Advisory.

- IBEX Mercado, a Guatemala City, Guatemala-based company that connects banks, businesses, and the people to Bitcoin via Lightning Network, raised $4 million in seed funding led by Stillmark and was joined by investors including LUM Ventures, Fulgur Ventures, Hivemind Ventures, and Ten31

- Clockwork, a Chicago-based financial planning and analysis platform, raised $2 million in seed funding from Underscore VC

PRIVATE EQUITY

- The Jordan Company acquired a majority stake in Five Star Holding, a Houston-based flexible packaging company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

OTHER

- HDFC Bank agreed to acquire Housing Development Finance Corp, a Mumbai-based mortgage lender, for about $60 billion. 

- AMD acquired Pensando, a Milpitas, Calif.-based cloud services platform, for $1.9 billion.

- Nippon Steel Corp. acquired a majority stake in G Steel and G J Steel, Bangkok-based steelmakers, for about $477 million. 

- Elon Musk acquired a 9.2% stake in Twitter. He is the company’s largest shareholder.

IPOS 

- Luberef, a Petromin, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based oil refinery, is in talks to go public in the country. The company plans to raise over $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. 

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- Evok Innovations, a Vancouver-based venture capital firm, raised $300 million for a new fund focused on clean energy technology.

- Expa, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm and startup studio, raised $200 million for a third fund focused on early-stage startups and their founders. 

PEOPLE

- Accolade Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based fund of funds manager, hired Meera Patel as partner and Caitlin Mulligan as general counsel and chief compliance officer. Formerly, Patel was with Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Mulligan was with Ropes & Gray.

- Angelo Gordon, a New York-based alternative investment firm, hired Alan Isenberg as global head of client partnership group. Formerly, he was with Neuberger Berman.

- Atwater Capital, a Los Angeles-based alternative investment manager, hired Carol Lim as principal. Formerly, she was with Digital Alpha Advisors.

- Bessemer Venture Partners, a Redwood City, Calif.-based venture capital firm, promoted Morgan Cheatham to vice president.

- Palladium Equity Partners, a New York-based private equity buyout firm, hired Lamar Horne as a managing director. Formerly, he was with PNC Mezzanine Capital. 

- Praesidian Partners, a Larchmont, N.Y.-based private investment firm, hired Howard Dennis as operating director. Formerly, he was with BDO USA.

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