Ex-Tesla CIO’s firm turns unicorn as Advent leads $150 mn round
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Tekion Corp., which operates a software-as-a-service firm focussed on building cloud-based business applications, has raised $150 million (Rs 1,104 crore) in a Series C funding round.

The round in California and Bengaluru-based Tekion – which values the firm at over $1 billion making it a unicorn – has been led by global private equity investor Advent International, the company said in a statement.

Other participants in this Series C exercise include Geneva-headquartered VC Index Ventures; Exor, the holding company of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari; Airbus Ventures; and FM Capital.

Tekion was set up in 2016 by Jay Vijayan, the former chief information officer for electric mobility company Tesla. Vijayan has also held positions at companies including Oracle and VMWare.

Initially focussing on the automotive industry, the company says its flagship platform – Automotive Retail Cloud – helps dealers to increase savings while maximising sale offers and customer loyalty. 

It provides open application programming interfaces (APIs) and provides enterprise solutions for larger dealer networks as well.

It will use the capital it has raised to scale itself and make additional investments in its own platform.

“The automotive retail and dealer technology ecosystem are ripe for disruption. It has operated for too long with outdated technology and patchwork systems that fail to meet the needs of modern dealers and their customers,” said Eric Wei, Advent managing director for technology investment.

As part of this Series C round, Wei will join Tekion’s board of directors. Former Tesla president Jon McNeill, who is an advisory partner with Advent, will also join the company’s board.

Other investors in Tekion include General Motors, BMW iVentures, and Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance Ventures.

Advent International

The PE firm was originally set up in 1984. It currently operates 15 offices in 12 countries and says it has made over 350 transactions in 41 countries. As of June this year, the firm says it had $58.4 billion in assets under management.

Its core focus sectors include business and financial services, healthcare, industrial, retail, consumer and leisure, and technology.

Advent International has a strong India presence in these sectors. According to VCCEdge, the data research arm of Mosaic Digital, the PE firm holds stakes in companies including Aditya Birla Capital, Bharat Serums and Vaccines, DFM Foods Ltd, and Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd.

At the end of July, it inked a deal to acquire a controlling stake in RA Chem Pharma Ltd from Bengaluru-based Micro Labs Ltd. The announcement came just days after VCCircle reported that Advent was poised to acquire RA Chem and that it had outbid rival Carlyle Group.

Also Read: Fund Scan: After hectic 2019, can Advent ride out the virus storm in India?

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