Life sciences software startup Benchling files for U.S. listing – sources

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(Businesshala) – Benchling, which develops software tools for scientists and drug research organizations, has confidentially submitted paperwork with regulators for a stock market listing in New York, according to people familiar with the matter.

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The San Francisco, California-based company, which was valued at $4 billion in a funding round earlier this year, aims to go public in early 2022 at a much higher valuation, sources said.

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Benchling is looking at going public through direct listing, though the company has not ruled out a traditional IPO (initial public offering), said sources. One of its major investors on the board, Benchmark Capital, has been a vocal proponent of direct listings.

Sources said the start-up had earlier this year hired investment banks and other financial advisors to advise them on their listing plans.

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Sources who requested anonymity because these discussions were confidential, cautioned that Benchling’s Go-Public plans were subject to market conditions and could change. Benchling declined to comment.

Founded in 2012 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology classmates Sajith Vikramasekhar and Ashu Singhal, Benchling has emerged as a major player in a niche and growing market for digitizing the R&D process.

Its valuation has increased since early 2020, when it was valued at less than $1 billion, as the company benefited from rapid R&D investments in pharma and biotech companies. Benchling has so far raised approximately $350 million from venture capital investors including Sequoia Capital and Menlo Ventures.

Benchling provides customers with a variety of software applications and technology platforms, including cloud-based tools and laboratory automation software. Its end-to-end workflow management system allows researchers to collaborate and track projects.

According to its website, more than 200,000 scientists currently use Benchling’s technical tools. It counts several big names in the pharma, life sciences and biotech sectors among its clients, including Gilead Sciences, Sanofi, Regeneron, Gingko Bioworks, ZymerGen, Lyell Immunopharma Inc. and BP’s Biosciences Center.

Earlier this year, Benchling appointed former LinkedIn executive Richard Wong as its chief financial officer as part of its plans to go public.

Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and Crystal Hu in New York; Editing by Richard Pullin

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