By Anirban Sen and Krystal Hu
-Benchling, which develops software tools for scientists and pharmaceutical research organizations, has confidentially submitted paperwork with regulators for a stock market listing in New York, according to people familiar with the matter.
The filing came as Benchling’s valuation has soared since the beginning of 2020, when it was valued at less than $1 billion. The company has benefited from booming R&D investments in pharma and biotech companies.
On Thursday, the San Francisco, California-based company announced a new funding round of $100 million led by new investor Franklin Templeton and existing investor Altimeter Capital at a valuation of $6.1 billion.
Benchling is considering going public through a direct listing in 2022, although the company has not ruled out a traditional initial public offering, sources said, adding the company is aiming to go public at a higher valuation. One of its major investors, Benchmark Capital, has advocated for direct listings.
The start-up hired banks to work on its listing plans, the sources said.
The sources, who requested anonymity as these discussions are 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 Wickramasekara and Ashu Singhal, Benchling has emerged as a prominent player in a niche and growing market for digitizing the R&D process.
Benchling offers cloud-based tools and laboratory automation software that allow researchers to collaborate and track projects. It has so far raised roughly $450 million from investors, including Sequoia Capital and Menlo Ventures.
According to the company website, its customers include over 200,000 scientists and big names from the pharma and biotech sectors, such as Gilead Sciences.
Earlier this year, Benchling hired former LinkedIn executive Richard Wong as its chief financial officer as part of its plans to go public.