was founded in 2015, and HEMA opened its first store in January 2016, which is regarded as the new retail sample of Alibaba. At the end of 2019, HEMA fell from an independent business segment to a business group sub business segment. It was not until June 2021 that Alibaba announced the organizational upgrading and fully implemented the business responsibility system, while HEMA was upgraded to an independent business group and officially began to be responsible for its own profits and losses.
at that time, HEMA made it clear that it was necessary to tighten its belt and improve its profitability from a single store to a comprehensive one. On the first working day of 2022, Houyi, CEO of HEMA, once pointed out in an internal letter that the company’s goal this year is to improve its profitability from a single store to a comprehensive one, and emphasized the importance of offline business. During this period, many employees of HEMA revealed on social platforms that Hou Yi had repeatedly stressed internally that HEMA would enter the stage of “hard work”.
then, the news that HEMA started financing spread like wildfire. In fact, as early as mid January this year, Bloomberg quoted insiders to report that Alibaba group was considering seeking independent financing for HEMA fresh, with a proposed valuation of $10billion. However, at this time, Alibaba has not decided on the financing scale of HEMA, and $10billion is the provisional valuation.
at that time, some well-known vc/pe in China successively contacted and discussed financing matters. At the end of March this year, a well-known VC investor who did not want to be named disclosed the financing details to the investment community, and sighed that HEMA “the valuation is too harsh. Many peers have talked about it, and privately spit out that the valuation is too high.”
this is not a good window for primary market financing. As we can see, the recurrence of the COVID-19 in the first half of the year led most industries to press the pause button, which also seriously affected the fresh food business. At the same time, it is obvious that the primary market was deserted in the first half of the year, especially the consumer track. Vc/pe, which has bullets in its hands, has urgently slowed down its pace and cherished the mobile phone conference; Coupled with the correction of the market value of the secondary market, the contradiction of overvaluation of the primary market immediately emerged.
all vc/pe are waiting for the mid-term valuation to fall. Startups are often the first to compromise – the latest news is that HEMA plans to raise $400million to $500million from external investors at a valuation of about $6billion, but the amount is far from being finalized, and the financial terms may change. HEMA added that excellent investors are welcome to help its development, but it currently has healthy cash flow and there is no pressure to raise new funds immediately.
up to now, the main business types of HEMA include HEMA fresh, HEMA x club, HEMA neighborhood, fresh olai, etc. However, in 2022, HEMA fell into turmoil to varying degrees. For example, following the trend of opening stores last year, HEMA fresh launched store optimization and closed some stores this year; HEMA linli also withdrew from Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu and Wuhan in April this year, and there was a rampant wave of layoffs, accelerating the pace of “cost reduction and efficiency increase”.
according to the analysis of insiders, the fundamental reason why HEMA’s initial financing was not successful was that fresh e-commerce was cold, and it was not a high-quality investment target. This is a heavy asset track, and the supply chain needs to invest a lot of costs, so it has to struggle to find a balance between scale and profit. At present, the vast majority of fresh food companies cannot make profits in the short term. Whether it is the community group purchase mode, the front warehouse mode or the retail + takeout + catering mode, they are struggling.
hot money recedes, and even super head projects such as HEMA have to reduce the valuation, which is an alarm for all start-ups that are financing.
last month was the first anniversary of Youxian’s IPO on NASDAQ. A year ago, Youxian’s IPO price was $13 a day, and its market value on the first day reached $3.2 billion, or about 20billion yuan, creating “the first share of community retail digitalization”.
a year in a hurry, this is not what it used to be. Since late April, the daily Youxian share price has hit record lows, and the share price has always been below $1, only 1% of the peak period. At the beginning of June 2022, as the share price fell below $1 for 30 consecutive trading days, daily Youxian received a “delisting” notice from Nasdaq, requiring daily Youxian to meet the minimum share price requirements again within 180 days, that is, before November 29, 2022.
public opinion surged, and Youxian daily publicly responded that the notification letter of (NASDAQ) will not affect the company’s business operations and the trading of ads (American Depositary Receipts) listed on NASDAQ. The company will take measures to resume compliance within the specified grace period, and will disclose its annual report as soon as possible.
from a business point of view, daily Youxian is not easy. A few days ago, media reported that Youxian daily closed its business in 9 cities in a row within 3 days. Social platforms are also constantly emerging. Daily Youxian users, employees and other post discussion platforms such as “clearing the East China office”, “lying flat”, “layoffs”, “sex selling” and other rumors are also circulating, which is not very sad.
loss is the “sword of Damocles” hanging over the fresh e-commerce platform. Nowadays, a profitable fresh food e-commerce company has not yet been born in the industry, and their difficult situation has also been directly transmitted to the secondary market. For example, according to the latest display of Ding Dong shopping, the share price is $5.59, and the total market value is $1.319 billion, which has evaporated more than $4billion compared with the issuance market value.
the business of burning money endlessly is unsustainable. Recalling the hottest time of consumption and investment in the past two years, aunt Qian, meicai.com, duodian fresh food and other fresh food players lined up for IPO, but the day of IPO bell ringing is still far away. During this time, the community group buying outlet dominated by fresh food finally stalled, a group of Unicorns fell one after another, and the Internet manufacturers also began to transfer in a hurry.
once upon a time, the slogan of “those who get fresh get the world” rang through the vc/pe circle. Fresh is also regarded as the last depression of the mobile Internet by the venture capital circle. Investors are crazy about it, but there is endless reflection after the noise. Nowadays, no one is willing to mention the story of fresh e-commerce any more.
looking back on the first half of 2022, under the background of repeated epidemics, changes in the regulatory environment and geopolitical instability, the sentiment of the capital market fluctuated, and we can also get a glimpse from the data of Zero2IPO research center. The report shows that in the first half of the year, 192 Chinese enterprises were listed at home and abroad, with a total initial financing of about 315.784 billion yuan, down 39.6% and 28.6% year-on-year respectively.
among them, the number of IPO and financing amount supported by vc/pe have decreased. In the first half of the year, 133 listed Chinese enterprises received vc/pe support, a year-on-year decrease of 40.1%. At the same time, the total financing scale of IPO supported by vc/pe was about 180.032 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 45.5%. Vc/pe is reassessing its investment and exit strategies.
most vc/pe are firmly on the brake, and some have not even launched a project. “This year is very difficult. In the first half of the year, the KPI completion rate of our business department is 0%, the investment is 0%, the investment exit is 0%, and the collective refinement is rotten.” An investor friend reluctantly said, “in order to complete the task, the investment manager below is about to become a salesman.”
when vc/pe fund-raising was in a hurry, the number of investments fell precipitously, and the effect was slowly transmitted to start-ups. The scene of valuation reduction was spreading in various industries. Many investors and entrepreneurs have confided to the investment community about the investment and financing situation they are facing. For example,
, an AI unicorn in southern China, which has been established for only three years, came out with the news of layoffs; A domestic star GPU unicorn was in trouble in financing, and its valuation soared before; The founders of semiconductor companies began to put down their attitude and were willing to accept the valuation round; A big entertainment Unicorn repeatedly postponed its listing due to investors’ dissatisfaction with the valuation; The half year valuation of the new drink super unicorn is $5billion less, which is amazing.
the reality is more serious than expected. More than one entrepreneur once wrote that the objective factors of the current capital market have reached the worst time, and may be at a trough once in decades, with a very poor financing environment.
said at the 2022 Caixin summer summit that chenwenhui, vice chairman of the National Council of social security funds, revealed that he learned from some private equity fund managers that 20% of the projects on the market can accept lower price financing than the previous round. Even for star projects, the markup rate has decreased from 50% to 10%-20% compared with the previous round.
even the valuation of excellent companies in popular circuits such as semiconductors and new energy is about 30% lower than previously expected. In order to finance the waist project, this year’s valuation is the highest, which is half of the similar projects last year. “Projects below the waist are basically unable to finance”. The general environment of
is like this. “Don’t worry about valuation” is the advice given by many investors to entrepreneurs. A friend of an entrepreneur who is engaged in new consumption of catering admitted that he just started his business two years ago. At the time of the hottest investment in new consumption, the first round of financing of his project was vied for by a large number of first-line institutions, and the post investment valuation made his peers envy. “Some didn’t even do DD (due diligence). Now the situation is different. Although VC chased closely, it just didn’t do it.”
“let’s fight for a reasonable valuation first.” The picture of being looted by VC was fleeting. For him, the only goal of the company in the second half of the year was to live.
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