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BarkBox To Go Public Via SPAC

BarkBox is the latest company to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

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The company agreed to merge with Northern Star Acquisition Corp. in a $1.6 billion deal that will take the company public, according to a regulatory filing and The Wall Street Journal. It will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BARK.

Here’s a few things we know about the deal, according to the SEC filing and WSJ reporting:

  • The acquisition is expected to raise $454 million.
  • BarkBox stockholders will receive an aggregate of 150 million shares of Northern Star Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share.
  • The people behind Northern Star include publishing executive Joanna Coles and Jon Ledecky, owner of the New York Islanders.
  • The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

BarkBox, headquartered in New York, is a monthly subscription-based e-commerce and content company for dog owners. It was co-founded by Matt Meeker, Carly Strife and Henrik Werdelin.

Meeker, formerly CEO, stepped down in September and remained executive director of the company’s board, making way for Manish Joneja, a former Amazon executive, to take his place.

With more than 1 million active monthly subscribers, the company expects to reach $369 million in revenue for fiscal year 2021. It also sells products through an e-commerce site and at retailers such as Target and Petco, according to the filing.

The company has raised $81.7 million in venture-backed funding since it was founded in 2011, with its most recent fundraise being a $60 million Series C round, led by August Capital according to Crunchbase data. Additional backers include Resolute Ventures and RRE Ventures, which together and individually led BarkBox’s earlier rounds.

BarkBox is joining a group of companies using SPACs to enter the public markets. Indeed, this has been a record year for SPACs, according to SPAC Insider.

SPACs are essentially blank-check companies. SPAC founders form the company and go out and raise a few hundred million dollars through an IPO with the intent of buying another company. There’s a two-year time period for a SPAC to make an acquisition.

BarkBox intends to use the funds raised in the IPO to expand overseas and add new product lines, WSJ reported.

In addition to being another SPAC, the deal follows the trend of more focus on pets as people stayed home during the global pandemic, with Petco confidentially filing to go public, according to a WSJ report in November, and Chewy, another online pet supply delivery company, going public back in 2019.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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