Mumbai-based Pep Technologies Pvt. Ltd., which owns mCaffeine (India’s largest caffeine-infused personal care brand), has raised Rs 240 crore in its series C financing round.
This new round of investment, which was led by Paragon Partners with participation from Singularity Growth Opportunities Fund, Sharrp Ventures, and existing investors Amicus Capital Partners and RPSG Capital Ventures, now values the start-up at Rs 1,000 crore - making mCaffeine the highest valued D2C single ingredient beauty brand in the world.
This marks a significant surge in valuation for mCaffeine from its previous round that took place in September 2020, where it had raised Rs 42 crore in series B led by Amicus Capital Partners. Mapping this valuation on an international scale, mCaffeine has cemented faster and more phenomenal growth metrics when compared to any other funded, single ingredient D2C beauty brand across the globe.
Building a new beauty market, mCaffeine has revolutionized the use of caffeine globally while enlightening its customers about its ethical environmental practices at every stage. Successfully reporting upon its consistent endeavors towards reducing plastic pollution in the country, it has also achieved 100 percent zero plastic footprints followed by recycling more plastic than the actual usage.
Having sold upwards of 10 million products to date, mCaffeine has already achieved cult status within the Indian D2C beauty industry. The brand is no newbie to ‘world’s first club’ either, having launched the world’s 1st coffee bean-shaped bathing bar (patent pending in India) in late 2020.
As the first homegrown start-up to create caffeine-infused (single ingredient) personal care products for a premium millennial audience, it is also respected as one of India’s fastest growing new-age FMCG brands, loved equally by its customers and investors for creating beauty products with a purpose. Armed with a curated range of select 55 caffeine-infused products (which include soaps, shampoos, scrubs, oils, etc). Only a few years in, mCaffeine’s portfolio continues to dominate sales (across multiple categories) on all major online marketplaces as best sellers year after year.
By establishing a majority market share in the Body Scrub category, mCaffeine has penetrated over 18000 pin codes nationally in just 5 years since inception and is now set to mark its presence in about 12 countries across the globe. The brand boasts of unmatched customer loyalty between the age groups of 18 to 30, which constitutes 86 percent of its product consumption. Of this, over 50 percent of these sales is attributed to repeat purchases by a loyal 2.5 million+ customer base - 4 times denser with respect to revenue per product - marking a millennial customer stickiness that other new-age FMCG brands can only be envious of.
Tarun Sharma, CEO, and Co-Founder, mCaffeine mentions, “The last 5 years are testament to mCaffeine’s growth and customer affinity - to think of it, we have sold coffee equivalent to 2 crore mid-size cups of Starbucks in just 5 years! We are deeply excited by this fundraise, as it will enable us to scale up our R&D capabilities while we strengthen our brand awareness nationally, and fortify our marketing and distribution efforts (both online and offline) across geographies."
“Putting an Indian-origin, caffeine-infused, 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free, and natural brand on a global map was always on the cards for us, as we are cognizant of how fast our global customer base is expanding. Anticipating the growing needs of a worldwide audience requires us to augment our innovation capacity and fasten new product development while ensuring environmental stewardship so that we can create offerings that are universal in appeal to ‘Bharat’ as much as ‘NYC’. To enable us to achieve this goal, we plan to absorb/acquire small brands from the beauty industry (across national and international markets) using mCaffeine framework to strengthen our efforts,” he added.
Sumeet Nindrajog, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Paragon Partners, further adds, “ We are excited to announce our investment in mCaffeine and partner with the company as it evolves from a leading Indian digital-first brand to a full-fledged global omnichannel brand. We have been tracking the Indian beauty and personal care industry for the last 24 months and found that mCaffeine clearly stands out from its peers in terms of new product development capabilities, product efficacy, Revenue density / SKU, customer retention, brand recall."
"This is Paragon’s first investment in the personal care sector and is in line with our investment strategy of partnering with high-caliber entrepreneurs with compelling business models and assisting them to scale up operations and expand into new markets,” he added.
Sunil Vasudevan, Co-Founder, and Partner, Amicus Capital, said “We partnered with mCaffeine in 2020 because of its sharp positioning and focus on research-led product development. Since then, the company has cemented its position as the #1 Caffeine Personal Care brand in India, consistently receiving high ratings from its customers across all major online platforms. In this round, we are happy to double down on our investment as the company enters an exciting phase of new product introductions and international expansion.”
To date, mCaffeine has raised a total of $40 million across three funding rounds and is profitable on every unit sold. Its portfolio is consistently rated as 4.5+ out of 5 across all the major e-commerce platforms since its products are Made Safe, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Peta Certified, SLS and Paraben free, FDA approved, and dermatologically tested. In order to fulfill its role as a responsible global corporate citizen, mCaffeine’s ESG initiative has achieved Zero Plastic Footprint this August 2021. It has also recently announced celebrity youth icon, Alia Bhatt, as its brand ambassador for its best-selling body scrubs and body wash range.
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