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Exclusive | Mindtickle eyes unicorn tag, $1.1 billion valuation in SoftBank-led round

SoftBank, the Japanese investment giant is continuing its dealmaking spree. Its latest is a $100 million top up in software firm Mindtickle, valuing it at a billion dollars. The deal will Mindtickle India's latest unicorn- the newest member in a record-breaking year for unicorns.

Mumbai / June 16, 2021 / 04:17 PM IST
Nishant Mungali, Krishna Depura and Deepak Diwakar, co-founders of Mindtickle

Nishant Mungali, Krishna Depura and Deepak Diwakar, co-founders of Mindtickle

Japanese investment giant SoftBank is in advanced talks to lead a $100 million round in software-as-a-service firm Mindtickle, doubling down on its investment from last year but at double the valuation- a billion dollars. The deal will make Mindtickle the latest member of the coveted unicorn club- of private companies with a valuation of over a billion dollars.

Pune and San Francisco-based Mindtickle, founded in 2011 by Krishna Depua, Mohit Garg, Deepak Diwakar and Nishant Mungali, helps companies build sales capabilities including training, onboarding, working on each aspect of sales, practising and improving it using technology.

Mindtickle helps sales executives practice their pitch before actually pitching, and collects data points such as common questions, feedback and how much time is spent on one topic to make the pitch more effective.

Mindtickle last raised $100 million led by SoftBank in November last year and was valued at $500 million. 

“They have delivered on what they promised SoftBank. They have grown well, executed well. SoftBank is doing this round because they know somebody else will do the round if they don’t. They want to double down on a plan that has worked so far,” said a person aware of the deal dynamics, requesting anonymity.

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SoftBank declined to comment while Mindtickle did not respond to an email seeking comment.

While Mindtickle had an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of about $25-30 million when SoftBank last invested, it currently has an ARR of $38 million, which will touch $40 million by the time the deal officially closes. The valuation is doubling while the revenue hasn’t doubled yet.

This is also because of the funding environment, where SaaS companies are raising funds at more aggressive valuation multiples than ever before- at 30-35 times ARR.

The current deal still puts Mindtickle’s valuation at about 25 times revenue- aggressive in usual times but expected during the current funding boom, said another person tracking the company, requesting anonymity.

Its other investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Accel, New Enterprise Associates, Qualcomm Ventures and Canaan Partners.

Mindtickle, with a number of technology-based clients and non-tech clients beginning to use tech, has benefitted from the pandemic, as sales onboarding remotely has become key. 

During the pandemic, “We saw our usage pick up. Because now people couldn’t do their sales kickoff anymore in person. You cannot onboard people by flying them into your headquarters. Remote communication was more important than ever. So traditional non-tech sectors actually became much more favourable to us. We have got multi-year renewals from some of these companies because they have realised that the pandemic will come and go but technology is part of our lives,” CEO Depura told Moneycontrol in an interview

“We saw a lot of good traction, and in new sectors...we are seeing a domino effect. There is enough product-market fit and validation. So we have to scale. Readiness is a much bigger category today,” he added.

Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank is on track to deploy $2 billion in Indian internet firms this year, including new and existing investments. These include software firms Whatfix, Zeta, Mindtickle, food delivery firm Swiggy, social commerce startup Meesho and online retailer Flipkart among others.

The unicorn club- once seen as exclusive and reserved for only a few companies with massive scale and traction- has exploded in 2021, with the pandemic-led internet and technology boom benefitting companies and investors. India has created 15 unicorns so far this year, compared to 11 in all of 2020.
M. Sriram
first published: Jun 16, 2021 04:17 pm

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