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Lenskart valued at $2.5 billion following $220 million investment from Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital – TechCrunch

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Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital have led a $220 million investment in Indian omni-channel eyewear retailer Lenskart, valuing the Bangalore-based startup at $2.5 billion.

The new investment, which includes primary and secondary transactions, is part of a new round Lenskart unveiled a month ago when it raised $95 million from global investment fund KKR. Bay Capital and Chiratae also participated in the new round.

Peyush Bansal, founder and chief executive of Lenskart, said the profitable startup — which sells eyeglasses and contact lenses online and through about 750 physical retail outlets across the country — has seen a surge in sales of eyewear products in the pandemic year.

The startup, which counts SoftBank among its investors, sold about 8 million pairs of eyewear last year.

Now the firm, which claims to lead the market in India, plans to scale its operations in Southeast Asia and Middle East. The combined market opportunity for eyewear in these regions will be about $15 billion by 2025, the startup said, citing its own projections.

“We’re already the largest eyewear player in India and in the top 3 in Singapore. Lenskart envisions to have 50% of India wearing its specs over the next 5 years and become the #1 eyewear platform in Southeast Asia and Middle East over the next 18 to 24 months through organic and inorganic expansion,” he said.

According to industry estimates, more than half a billion people in India are affected by poor vision and need eyeglasses, but only 170 million of them have opted to get their vision corrected.

The firm also plans to deploy some capital to broaden its technology stack to create a more personalized experience for its customers. The startup, which recently launched ‘Lenskart Vision Fund,’ said it is also looking to invest in other younger firms that are operating in eyewear, eyecare and omnichannel retail spaces.

“We are thrilled to join Peyush and his team in this journey and look forward to working closely with Lenskart’s team in helping them scale their business internationally, especially in the MENA region” said Navroz Udwadia, co-founder and partner at Falcon Edge Capital, in a statement.

The new investment comes at a time when Indian startups are raising record capital and a handful of mature firms are beginning to explore the public markets. Zomato raised $1.3 billion last week in the South Asian market’s first consumer tech IPO in a decade.

Paytm, the pioneer digital payments startup, as well as its rival Mobikwik also filed for IPOs last week.

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Montreal investment fund sued over use of founder's great-great-grandfather's name – Montreal Gazette

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The Holt Xchange, which invests in early stage financial technology startups, is being sued by Credit Suisse for trademark violation.

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Brendan Holt Dunn said he wanted to invoke the legacy of his great-great-grandfather, pioneering Quebec industrialist Sir Herbert Holt, in the name of his Montreal-based venture capital fund.

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Now, he may have to go to court to keep the name.

His fund, the Holt Xchange, which invests in early stage financial technology startups, is being sued by international bank Credit Suisse for trademark violation.

In a statement of claim filed last year with Federal Court in Edmonton, Credit Suisse subsidiary CSFB HOLT said it owns the right to use the brand “HOLT” when offering financial goods and services in Canada and that the branding and offerings of the Montreal venture capital fund — known as the Holt Accelerator when the lawsuit was filed — is too similar.

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The bank, which is seeking at least $100,000 in damages, argues that similarity “will cause confusion amongst Canadian consumers” and reduce the value and reputation of its trademark.

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Dunn said he doesn’t think there’s a risk of confusion.

“We’re in different areas, the financial sector as a whole is very broad,” he said, adding that he’d never heard of Credit Suisse’s HOLT brand before being sued.

“I think what they’re worried about is that our name, our family’s name is better known than them in Canada,” he said in an interview last week. “There is absolutely no overlap.”

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Elisabeth Laett, managing partner at the Holt Xchange, said the decision to use the Holt family name when the fund launched in 2018 was a reference to the history of Montreal’s financial sector and the fund’s ambitions to help make Quebec a hub for a new generation of financial technology companies.

“We were the financial hub of Canada, in Montreal, at one point,” she said.

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When Herbert Holt died in 1941, he was described as the richest man in Canada. A railway engineer who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway, he was knighted for his work planning railways in France during the First World War. He later consolidated several power companies in the Montreal area — which would eventually be expropriated to create Hydro-Québec — and was president of the Royal Bank of Canada from 1908 to 1934.

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Holt was also a controversial figure in Montreal at a time when many French-speaking Quebecers resented the city’s English-speaking business elite.

In court filings, the Holt Xchange maintains the Holt name has been used by generations of family members when offering financial goods and services in Canada. It has also filed a counter claim seeking to have Credit Suisse’s HOLT trademark struck down.

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Credit Suisse’s HOLT brand comes from the name of a United States-based financial consulting firm acquired by the bank in 2002 and is an acronym based on the letters of the last names of consulting company’s founders. The bank, which filed an application to register the “HOLT” trademark in Canada in 2006, sells software used to value companies, as well as offering consulting services and investment products, under the HOLT name.

Whether consumers would interpret “Holt” in the name of the Montreal venture capital fund as a reference to the Holt family is one of the issues being disputed in court filings.

Teresa Scassa, the Canada Research Chair in information law and policy at the University of Ottawa’s law faculty said the courts look at several factors when evaluating the possibility of confusion in trademark cases “including how long each name or mark has been in use, and how similar the goods and services are, and the way in which they’re marketed or sold.”

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While the Trademarks Act allows people to use their own names as trade names, she said that defence has “been interpreted fairly narrowly,”

“For example, someone named McDonald is not prevented from using their name in business and if they open a burger stand, they’re not prevented from using their name in their family business to sell burgers, but they can’t just call it McDonald’s,” she said. Instead they have to make it clear it’s a different business.

Credit Suisse spokesman Jonathan Schwarzberg declined to comment on the case, saying the bank can’t say anything publicly beyond what’s in court filings. No trial date has been set.

Dunn said the fund entered into negotiations with Credit Suisse after the lawsuit was filed and changed its name from Holt Fintech Accelerator to the Holt Xchange in the spring, a move he said he thought would satisfy the bank.

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He noted there are other companies using the name Holt.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “It’s insulting and we’re obviously feeling like we’re being bullied. We’re a very successful family, but no family in the world can go up against a financial institution.”

Laett said the Montreal fund has built an international brand around its name, attracting interest from startups from around the world. “We’ve received roughly 3,000 applications to be part of Holt,” she said. “There is a tremendous momentum.”

Dunn said he’s not open to dropping “Holt” from the company’s name.

“It is my personal name and my family’s name and our family’s history and reputation in Canada,” he said.

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Canada Sets Plan to Merge Investment Regulators Into One Agency – Bloomberg

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Canada’s securities regulators plan to merge two industry groups that oversee financial advisers into a single organization, a move intended to address years of complaints about the overlapping roles and higher costs of the groups.

Provincial regulators published Tuesday a framework for how to combine the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, which regulates investment advisory firms that sell a broad range of securities, with the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada, which oversees firms that sell funds.

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Carlyle to Invest in Abrigo at $1 Billion-Plus Valuation – Bloomberg

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Abrigo, an Accel-KKR-backed software provider for financial institutions, has secured an investment from private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc.

The Austin, Texas-based company is valued at more than $1 billion after the investment, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

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