Warburg Pincus takes stake in Swiss tech agency Scandit in unicorn hunt

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Euro, Hong Kong greenback, U.S. greenback, Japanese yen, pound and Chinese language 100 yuan banknotes are seen on this image illustration, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Illustration

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Warburg Pincus (WP.UL) has taken a stake in Swiss barcode scanning agency Scandit as a part of a $150 million capital increase wherein the U.S. buyout fund will spend money on a European tech unicorn amid bumper development within the area’s herd of billion-dollar tech start-ups.

Warburg Pincus has led a late-stage funding spherical that values Zurich-based Scandit at greater than $1 billion and helps the rollout of its good knowledge seize expertise which helps retailers scan barcodes to higher deal with booming e-commerce volumes triggered by COVID-19.

“We see an enormous quantity of long-term potential as the marketplace for good knowledge seize is in its infancy and Scandit is the market chief,” Flavio Porciani, a London-based managing director at Warburg Pincus, advised Reuters.

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“Scandit has benefited from all the principle traits we have seen speed up throughout the pandemic together with the necessity for digital transformation that almost all corporations, their staff and their clients are going through,” he added.

Funding to billion-dollar start-ups, historically generally known as “unicorns,” has proliferated throughout the pandemic as deep-pocketed buyers have paid hefty costs for shares in younger corporations.

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Europe has produced 84 new unicorns in 2021 – greater than thrice that of China – and has seen enterprise capital funding greater than doubling final yr, making it the fastest-growing area for this asset class globally, in line with Crunchbase knowledge.

Scandit – co-founded in 2009 by Chief Government Samuel Mueller – has up to now raised virtually $300 million from a variety of buyers together with Atomico, Forestay Capital and Schneider Electrical which invested alongside Warburg Pincus within the firm’s newest money name.

Scandit, whose consumer community consists of American Eagle Outfitters (AEO.N) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N), was chosen by Britain’s Nationwide Well being Service to digitize the COVID testing course of final yr.

Its income has greater than doubled since its earlier fundraising in Could as logistics corporations more and more depend on barcode expertise to work with the likes of Amazon.com Inc in dealing with last-mile supply between a distribution hub and customers’ doorsteps.

“It is not sufficient to coach new drivers and rent extra warehouse employees to deal with the report volumes of on-line orders that we’ve seen over the previous two years,” Mueller mentioned.

“Staff need to have the ability to use their smartphones and different good gadgets to function scanning, knowledge seize and choosing options unexpectedly for a extra acquainted and pleasurable consumer expertise.”

Mueller advised Reuters he plans to make use of the proceeds of the corporate’s fundraising to drive world development with a deal with Asia-Pacific. He additionally sees scope to faucet in to the robotics market as retailers are more and more turning to machines to inventory their cabinets.

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“The tip purpose is to deploy machine studying and laptop imaginative and prescient to automate processes and create real-time stock capabilities,” Mueller mentioned.

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Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London
Enhancing by Matthew Lewis

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