Audibene plans IPO on Nasdaq under hear.com brand
Berlin — With its planned IPO, hear.com, the online hearing aid provider known in Germany as audibene, has finally joined the top league of international TOP online startups. On April 19, the registration was submitted to the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). Hear.com’s “HCG” paper is thus to be traded on Nasdaq.
Audibene is taking a small detour, which is not unusual for German companies: The Dutch company and the simultaneous brand hear.com N.V. submitted the documents because of the more favorable conditions under stock exchange law for an IPO in the USA.
From startup to listed company
Berlin, Mainz, Miami, Denver, Toronto, Utrecht, Seoul, Guragon (India) and Kuala Lumpur: it is impressive what has become of the former startup founded in the capital in 2012 that wanted to “shake up the hearing aid market”.
Now, almost 10 years later, the success story is to be crowned by an IPO. Among the first investors are none other than Morgen Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. The former two are acting as Lead Book-Running Managers for the proposed offering and as representatives of all signatories to the proposed offering.
Hear.com facts and figures
Worldwide, hear.com had nearly 5,200 partner companies as of the reporting date of Sept. 30, 2020, including 1,000 in Germany. 106,000 hearing aids were sold worldwide and excluding returns at an average price of €1,426 per hearing aid. — This results in sales of 151 million euros (+26% compared to 2019 120 mill. euros). Overall, the company generated a loss of €23.1 million (2019: €17.34 million). More than 1,500 employees work for hear.com, including almost 200 techs.
Online hearing aid retailer Audibene was sold to hearing aid manufacturer Sivantos in 2015. The two founders Paul Crusius and Marco Vietor remained on board as managing directors. As part of the transaction, both founders, who previously held a majority stake in Audibene, will receive shares in Sivantos Group.
Venture capitalists Acton Capital Partners and Sunstone Capital, as well as an unknown number of business angels such as entrepreneur Stephan Schubert, had all sold their stakes in Sivantos. Berlin scene heads such as Project-A-Ventures CEO Florian Heinemann, Edarling founders Lukas Brosseder and David Khalil, as well as Zalando’s former head of marketing, Oliver Roskopf, were also invested in the startup.
Investments for more growth and independence
The company aims to raise $100 million through the IPO. Among other things, this will be used to repay shareholder loans to WS Audiology that fall due between 2021 and 2023. In addition, a planned restructuring is to be put on a stable footing, and the remainder is to be used for general corporate purposes, including financing further growth and implementing the business strategy. Further acquisitions are also being considered.
The specific areas in which further investments are to be made remain open. But this is of course where the months after the IPO will be particularly exciting. For investors, however, the success story of the model itself and the expected global increase in demand and the resulting growth forecasts in general should be reason enough for an investment. Whether they then jump into the topics of multichannel sales (online and traditional retail), technology (online hearing tests, consumer journey) or remote fitting will certainly be something to read about.