Home » What’s Up: Week of February 15th

What’s Up: Week of February 15th

WingArc1st launches $172 million IPO

Japan’s software company WingArc1st, which is backed by U.S. buyout firm CarlyleGroup, launched an initial public offering (IPO) worth up to $171.8 million, reports Reuters.

The Tokyo-based WingArc1st, which develops and sells business software, will list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on March 16. That is the third attempt by Carlyle to float the company, and a successful listing would be the first time an IPO that had failed twice in Tokyo was eventually completed.

Carlyle owns 34.79% of WingArc1st, which has a market value of 46.5 billion yen, and the fund aims to sell all shares in the offering. Carlyle bought WingArc1st from Japan’s Orix Corp for an undisclosed sum in 2016. It shelved IPO plans in 2019 because of market conditions and again last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlyle now looks likely to take advantage of the Japanese stock market’s surge to its highest in 30 years. A successful IPO would be Carlyle’s eighth in Japan. While 18 Japanese companies including WingArc1st postponed their IPOs last year because of the coronavirus, 11 of them had successfully listed by the end of January.

Robinhood rival Public.com raises funds at $1.2 billion valuation

Online brokerage Public.com, which competes with Robinhood, had raised $220 million in fresh funds from new and existing investors, lifting its valuation to $1.2 billion, reports Reuters.

New York-based Public.com operates a zero-fee trading app & social community where its members can own fractional shares of stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Members can follow popular creators and share their own investing-related ideas like any other social media platform.

Including the latest round, Public.com has so far raised about $310 million. The startup currently has one million members on its platform. Investors including Tiger Global Management, Accel Partners and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC participated in the latest round.

The company plans to use the funds to add features such as crypto trading, pre- and post-market trading, while also setting up recurring investments for members.

Israeli chipmaker Tower to invest extra $150 million to boost capacity

Tower Semiconductor plans to invest an extra $150 million to boost production, reports Reuters. It forecasts record revenues this year amid growing demand.

Chipmakers are seeing a surge in demand as economies recover more quickly than expected from the pandemic, with some sectors, such as automaking, reporting shortages.

Tower, which specialises in analogue chips used in cars, medical sensors and power management, would invest in equipment at its manufacturing sites in Israel, Texas and Japan to boost capacity for 200 and 300 millimetre chips.

Cloud data analytics startup Matillion raises $100 million

Matillion, a startup that helps companies sort and clean up data before sending it to the cloud data center for analysis, had raised $100 million in its latest funding round, reports Reuters.

Venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, an early investor in messaging app Snapchat.com, was the lead investor in the funding round, according to Lightspeed and Matillion. The company’s platform is made for people with no coding skills to be able to pull various sources of data together and organize it, reducing the time it takes to prepare the data for analysis.

A shortage of coders at a time when business is quickly moving to a digital and cloud model is creating a need for more no-code technology, and venture capital funds are increasingly pouring money into those startups.

Battery recycler Li-Cycle nears SPAC deal to go public

Li-Cycle Corp, a recycler of lithium-ion batteries, is nearing a deal to go public through a merger with blank-check acquisition company Peridot Acquisition at a valuation of about $1.7 billion, reports Reuters.

The deal represents a bet on the growing market for recycling used batteries, as well on the rising demand for lithium-ion power sources for new technologies such as electric vehicles.

Founded in Toronto in 2016, Li-Cycle recycles end-of-life lithium-ion batteries that power products such as electric cars, medical equipment and smartphones.  

The volume of end-of-life batteries is expected to reach 1.2 million tons in 2025 and 3.5 million tons in 2030, according to market research firm IHS Markit.