Fintech Unicorn Pine Labs To Defer IPO


Pine Labs is eyeing the Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Middle East markets for expansion

The unicorn may also sign acquisition deals with companies operating in the region

The decision to postpone IPO listing has reportedly been taken citing the prevailing weak market scenario

Noida-based merchant commerce platform Pine Labs looks to defer its initial public offer (IPO) plans in the US to next year. Initially, the fintech unicorn had plans to list in 2022

Pine Labs has postponed the process citing ‘weak market sentiments’, VCCircle reported. Reportedly, the fintech hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to formalise the Nasdaq listing completion process in January-February. 

However, instead of IPO listing, Pine Labs is focusing on global expansion through Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and the Middle East markets. The report suggested that the company may also go for acquisition in the target geographies to launch itself as a global brand. A significant chunk of Indian businesses uses fintech services offered by Pine Labs, including its digital payment channels. 

Pine Labs had raised $1.2 Bn in funding in 13 rounds, with the latest being a private equity round led by Vitruvian Partners. The unicorn is also backed by the State Bank of India, Mastercard, Alpha Wave Global, Paypal Ventures, and some others.

Founded in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, and Tarun Upadhyay, Pine Labs is on an expansion spree. Earlier this year, the fintech unicorn launched Dukaan Studio, to help Kirana business owners modernise their stores. Through this service, the kirana storekeepers can access several customised products for their businesses, such as shopping bags, visiting cards, danglers, tent cards, decor lights, stationery, and T-shirts.

Additionally, it acquired the enterprise platform of Bengaluru-based Saluto Wellness to boost its issuing business under the Qwikcilver brand for an undisclosed amount. Last year, in September, it also completed a merger with digital gift card startup Qwikcilver Solutions.

The deteriorating macroeconomic conditions have triggered fear among the startups and led to extra cautiousness. One of the biggest financial disasters of the year is the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank. The bank’s operation was primarily around VC-backed tech companies, and as of December 2022, it held total assets of $209 Bn and deposits to the tune of $175.4 Bn.

Reuters reported that this was the worst financial disaster since 2008, after two U.S. lenders collapsed, Credit Suisse sought a government lifeline, and some of America’s top banks agreed to offer a $30 Bn rescue deal in a short span of just ten days.

Though experts expected 2022 and 2023 to be bright for startups, the tables turned due to the worsening geopolitical conditions affecting the economy. While only three startups showed the courage to go for IPO listing, no startup seems to be nearing the same in 2023 so far.

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