Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) has introduced a premium roasted and ground coffee under the Sonnets brand targeting urban and increasingly discerning coffee drinkers in India. With this launch, the company is eyeing the Rs 100 crore artisanal coffee market.
The TCPL’s move marks its maiden foray into the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) market. It will let the company tap a growing number of buyers shopping online, especially during the pandemic when most are cooped indoors and unable to visit cafes and coffee shops.
Puneet Das, President, Packaged Beverages, India & South Asia, Tata Consumer Products Limited, said, “The user can choose the roasting level, grounding and flavors of the coffee which gets delivered to the doorstep of the customer via our delivery channels. We are leveraging both premiumization and home delivery trends through this launch.”
The coffee is produced in Tata Coffee-owned estates. The consumer can choose his preferred roast type from between a light, medium, and a dark roast option, and could also suit his brewing preference and opt for either a filter coffee or a French press grind.
Tata Consumer Products will be expanding the offering to gourmet stores in metro cities as it scales up in the segment.
“Our ambition is to be seen as a serious coffee player just like we have equity in the market with Tata Tea. We aim to have a sizable share in the market as we grow,” Das added.
As the coffee culture evolves, the company will also evaluate new coffee variants like green coffee in India.
Heads Up for Tails, a leading pet lifestyle brand in India, has recently launched Dash Dog, an advanced engineered line of products designed to aid pets and pet parents in living active lives. Based on extensive consumer insights and research, Dash Dog offers a range of innovative products that cater to the needs of pets who lead active lifestyles.
For over 15 years, Heads Up For Tails has been dedicated to analyzing consumer trends and identifying gaps in the market. Using rich data science, the brand discovered a significant emerging market in the active-lifestyle segment for pets, which was being served by imported brands with a limited range of products at premium prices. Recognizing the opportunity to add value to consumers, the brand has developed Dash Dog, a line of products that support both indoor and outdoor activities for dogs, while ensuring their safety, comfort, and engagement. With Dash Dog, Heads Up for Tails aims to provide pet parents with a comprehensive solution to meet the evolving needs of their furry companions.
"We believe that dogs are meant to lead lives that include sufficient exercise and playtime and our products reflect that philosophy. Supported by deep data insights, consumer trend analyses, and usage feedback, Dash Dog has been engineered to aid and encourage an active lifestyle for pets. As an unparalleled selection of athleisure gear for dogs, the brand is also modern and designed for being on-trend," said Rashi Narang, Founder of Heads Up For Tails.
This multi-category pet-care lifestyle brand has made violet its signature color and launched a diverse range of products that cater to pet parents. The brand offers a wide range of high-quality pet products such as Easy Walk Harnesses, 6 Way Leashes, On-The-Go Reversible Mats, Chew Toys, Comfort Toys, Floatable Fetch Toys, Rope Toys, Eclipse Bowls, and more.
The brand prides itself on using only the best materials in its products. Its range of products is made of top-quality materials, such as ripstop, air mesh fabric, natural biodegradable rubber, and recycled polyester fibre, to ensure the perfect balance of strength, comfort, and durability. With its emphasis on quality, this brand is committed to providing pet parents with products that are both practical and stylish, giving them peace of mind while catering to their pets' needs.
The below products have been specifically crafted to ensure the safety and comfort of both pets and their owners:
Extra padded and lightweight collars are neck friendly for dogs; the double-handle leashes are equipped with a short handle to ensure control and safety in crowded areas; harnesses are made using breathable air mesh fabric, and have reflective strips for night safety. The hardware with rainbow chrome plating across all of the walking gear is super strong and of premium quality.
The toys under the brand are strong, tough, and designed for extra fun. Whether it’s the construction of the 3D Floatable Fetch Toys or the unique braiding technique used in Rope Toys, the entire range is made with attention to detail keeping in mind the end-user.
Sturdy Bowls in stunning violet and On-The-Go Reversible Mats that are water-resistant and easy to clean complete the range to cover all the activities essential to support a dog’s happy and active life.
Dash Dog aims to be the go-to brand for a younger audience that is actively engaged in spending quality time with their dogs and includes them in their travels, and in all their life’s adventures.
The Sleep Company, a D2C retailer of mattresses, has raised Rs 177 crore in a Series B funding round from investors including Premji Invest Opportunity Fund and Fireside Ventures. The round further witnessed the participation of venture debt fund Alteria Capital.
Fireside Ventures increased its stake to over 20 percent.
Founded by Priyanka Salot and Harshil Salot, The Sleep Company is owned by Comfort Grid Technologies Pvt. Ltd. To date, the company has raised Rs 190.4 crore in funds, raising Rs 13.4 crore in a pre-Series A round led by Fireside Ventures in July last year.
Starting as a D2C mattress brand, the company recently forayed into offline retail with an exclusive store in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It plans to open more than 25 stores by March 2023 across top metro cities including Kerala, Chennai, Maharashtra, and Gurgaon. The brand sells a range of products, including mattresses, pillows, cushions, as well as beds, and chairs.
Through its patented SmartGRID design and tech it aims to transform the way people sleep and sit, unlike memory foam, it provides support without using springs or latex.
“Our investment is part of our broader thesis of India getting more online, premiumization, and increasing aspirational demand from tier-one cities. As per capita income increases, we see higher demand across consumption categories, including comfort," commented a spokesperson for Premji Invest.
Dipanjan Basu, a partner at Fireside Ventures said, “Sleep is emerging as an important category in the space of overall wellness. We are now seeing sleep tech emerge as a fast-growing ecosystem both in India as well as globally. We have seen their business grow rapidly over the last year. They have an omnichannel market strategy, and we are excited to double down on our investment and participate in the current round."
Harshil Salot, Co-Founder, The Sleep Company further added that the company would deploy the funds to add 22 offline stores to the existing three by March while expanding the employee base. Moreover, the brand is also selling in Japan, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates.
Mattress startup The Sleep Company has set a capex of Rs 40-50 crore over the next two years to open its flagship stores, Harshil Salot, Co-Founder of the company said.
Started as a D2C mattress brand, the company recently forayed into offline retail with an exclusive store in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It plans to open more than 25 stores by March 2023 across top metro cities including Kerala, Chennai, Maharashtra, and Gurgaon, shared Salot.
Though currently dominated by online, Salot expects offline to contribute to one-third of the business in the next three years. “In the longer run, we expect our offline stores to be a large contributor to our overall business,” he noted
Commenting on its market share in the competitive sleep mattress market, he said that the company enjoys a sizable chunk of the mattress space and expects it to increase to 20 to 25 percent of the total market in the next five years.
Founded in 2019 by Harshil Salot and Priyanka Salot, The Sleep Company sells mattresses, sleep accessories such as pillows, bed sheets, protectors, and comforters, and furniture products like recliner beds and office chairs. Going forward, the company plans to expand its product portfolio with a focus on workplace seating.
The startup recorded a revenue of Rs 58 crore in FY 21-22 and is eyeing to cross Rs 175 crore revenue mark in the current fiscal. Salot highlighted the increase in e-commerce and the evolving consumer behavior as the key growth drivers for the company.
Honasa Consumer Pvt. Ltd. (HCPL), the parent company of Mamaearth, The Derma Co., Ayuga, and Aqualogica, and the fastest growing House of Brands for personal care, appointed Pratik Mukherjee as Vice President, Brand Factory where he will be responsible for crafting, launching, and building new brands business for Honasa.
With over a decade of experience, he has been a part of prestigious brands like P&G, Gillette, and Urban Company. He began his professional career with Tata Consultancy Group before moving on to IIM- Ahmedabad to complete his master's degree. After which he joined Procter and Gamble, where he worked on the Gillette brand and oversaw some of the most successful brand launches and campaigns, earning him numerous awards. He served as the head of Procter and Gamble's DTC business for India and South Asia. Later he joined Urban Company as the marketing head for Beauty, Grooming, and Cleaning verticals. Then moving on to becoming the Head of Marketing at Infra. Market (construction unicorn).
Being a Cannes awardee and visionary business leader, his innovation-first approach has been critical in driving transformation across sectors and geographies delivering unprecedented growth and record market share across his assignments. He has created successful marketing campaigns by combining robust consumer research with result-oriented programs. He has been acknowledged with various awards like Asia President’s Award and Global President Awards, among others.
Pratik Mukherjee said, “I am honored and excited to join Honasa and contribute towards the journey to build a house of consumer-loved brands leveraging the digital-first D2C playbook. Honasa Consumer’s brands have created tremendous displacement capturing sizable market share and garnering consumer trust in a very short period. I look forward to joining this trailblazing team and contributing to the next wave of growth for the company.”
Varun Alagh, Co-Founder and CEO, Honasa Consumer Pvt. Ltd. said, “Honasa has emerged as the fastest growing D2C brand, and being a digital-first brand, it is critical to constantly innovate and stay ahead of the competition in this extremely dynamic digital ecosystem. Pratik has extensive experience in building millennial brands, and he will elevate and support us as we plan to implement efficient strategies to launch new brands and take the businesses to the next level with his knowledge and expertise. We are thrilled to have him on board as we expand the company."
Pratik Mukherjee will be based out of the Honasa Consumer head office in Gurgaon.
Zashed Fashionverse has reportedly established as a major “D2C brand architech’ that is creating turn turn-key D2C brands within a short span of time. It is said to be an expert in helping garment exporters, textile and processing houses, entrepreneurs set-up their own D2C tech businesses and become global icons and also picking up equity at the pre-seed stage itself.
The brand is said to be a relying upon an modified thrasio model. Wherein the Thrasio based model has been a success mantra in this space of D2C in recent times, Zashed has put a twist to this model by being the D2C brand creators from scratch with equity in the brands from the initial stage thriving to build a D2C brand community.
In fact, D2C is a 100 Billion dollar addressable market by 2025. With the digital transformation and COVID-19 pandemic which restricted people movement, the traditional retail market has seen a dramatic shift towards a digital, Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) model with consumers opting to buy directly from brand websites.
Mithun Bhardwaj, Founder, Zashed Fashionverse, “Zashed is empowering the people from the backend supply chain to evolve from plinth to paramount with forward integration. Its focus is to create concept-driven scalable brands that provide more scope for related business. The D2C model has helped in social drives, specifically for labourers in manufacturing. When International businesses were pulling off contracts due to the pandemic, Zashed Fashionverse helped numerous D2C brands to establish themselves in the market.”
Zashed Fashionverse is said to be the only company to collaborate in fashion events with Myntra and Amazon to launch new and unique D2C brands. It has an in-house content creation lab. Soon, it will be including 25 new-age D2C brands under its banner. With its strong supply chain network, Zashed Fashionverse is also building an AR infused platform, which will solely promote and sell product lines by homegrown D2C brands which will be on a Y2P concept (Yarn to platform).
Zashed Fashionverse foresees foray into tech based product lines with a zero-inventory model. Besides its innovative app, it has plans of a breakthrough Phygital store in the pipeline, which will redefine the online shopping experience. It will soon contribute to 1.5 – 2 percent growth of the $100 bn D2C market(in India). Fashion has the highest potential of $ 43.2 Bn by 2025 among the D2C market sub-segments.
Homegrown electronics brand Mivi is planning to expand into offline retail by bringing its products to select physical stores.
It is a one-of-a-kind company specializing in the audio gadgets category, with its products ranging from TWS (True Wireless Stereo) to wired earphones, the company stated.
The Hyderabad-based company has built a mighty brand name over the years and is one of the leading brands on the e-commerce platform. In a major development, to further expand its reach, Mivi is set to embark on an offline journey by introducing its products in select physical stores.
Mivi believes that nothing surpasses a satisfied customer. The make in India brand is on a quest to redefine the Indian electronics market and establish itself as the “go-to” brand for tech-savvy, music-loving Indian youths looking for the latest technology while maintaining style and affordability. Eyeing an extensive presence via the modern trade model, the brand will be available across front-running stores, including Chroma, Reliance Digital, Universal Stores, among others.
Mivi will initially focus its offline efforts on large distributors and retailers in Tier I and Tier II cities throughout India. Mivi’s entire made-in-India collection of consumer electronics will be available at these stores with an aim to bolster the brand’s omnichannel presence. This will help the brand to build connections with customers drawing in more customers by allowing them to see and experience the brand.
Midhula Devabhaktuni, Co-Founder, CMO Mivi, said, “The Indian electronics market is evolving at a breakneck pace and witnessing several brands adopting an omnichannel model to capture a larger share of the market. As Mivi’s Made-in-India range of audio gadgets with best-in-class features continue to become popular among Indian consumers, developing offline sales channels was the next natural progression for us. The increased offline presence will enable us to get closer to our customers, recognize their needs, and offer them a seamless customer experience.” Mivi is looking for offline to contribute 20-25 percent of their revenues in the next year.
Anveya Living Private Limited, the company behind premium beauty and personal care brands Anveya and ThriveCo, has raised Rs 8 crore from Rukam Capital in its seed round.
The company plans to use the capital to further continue research and development, enter new categories and markets, and build the team to power further expansion.
Founded by Vivek Singh (ex-SVP Marketing at FirstCry) and Saurav Patnaik (ex-co-founder at Kenscio) in 2018, the company aims to close the large gap between much-coveted international beauty brands and beauty offerings in the Indian market.
Vivek Singh, Co-founder, and CEO of Anveya Living said, “The D2C movement was a disruption for the consumer industry. We're taking it to another level by working to disrupt the D2C segment itself, by breaking some of the long-standing assumptions in the traditional FMCG and D2C industry. And in the process, customers are loving our honest, uncompromising, and straight-talking brands.”
Archana Jahagirdar, Managing Partner, Rukam Capital shared, “Customers are far more aware, conscious, and demanding today than they have ever been. This is fuelling the high demand for quality beauty and wellness products. We are very excited to partner with Anveya. The team's obsession with customer experience - both on the product and e-commerce front - has resulted in impressive love from the discerning customers of today. Their upcoming launches will continue to excite customers, and we're thrilled to be a part of the journey.”
Now a buzzword in the industry, Anveya Living ventured into the multi-brand strategy very early on. Its first brand, Anveya, launched in early 2019 is a premium beauty brand delivering hair and skincare solutions through natural active ingredients. Its second brand, ThriveCo, launched in 2020 focuses on providing solutions for deep skin and hair-related causes.
Both brands are clean labels and do not use parabens or sulfates and are 100 percent transparent about their ingredients. The company also boasts of launching Anveya Curls, one of the first ranges exclusively dedicated for curly hair - a customer segment overlooked by the traditional market.
Saurav, Co-Founder and COO Anveya said, “Our brands are pushing the frontiers of the beauty and personal care space in India with our no-compromise formulations. We want to see Indian beauty brands become the most cutting-edge and respected brands both domestically and internationally.”
While Anveya and ThriveCo are present on major marketplace platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, and others, the company generates the majority of its sales from its own e-commerce stores. On its own stores, Anveya Living maintains an ingredient directory where customers can read all about the ingredients used in their products. Going forward, the company will continue to bet on creating a direct channel with customers.
Meesho, India’s fastest-growing internet commerce company, announced a first-of-its-kind boundaryless workplace model.
By decentralizing the workplace, Meesho is giving its employees the power to choose to work from home, office, or any location of their choice. Based on employee demand, the company will also set up satellite offices at locations with higher talent density.
Meesho has been at the forefront of introducing progressive employee-friendly practices like the 30-week gender-neutral parental leave policy, gender reassignment leave, and the 10-day reset and recharge policy. The latest initiative furthers the company’s efforts to reimagine conventional workplace dynamics.
With a focus on seamless employee experience, Meesho will enable its workforce with real-time and virtual collaboration tools. Providing ample opportunities for teams to even meet and collaborate in person, the company is introducing initiatives like trips to attend quarterly summits and an annual workation in locations like Goa.
To support working parents, Meesho will sponsor daycare facilities for employees with children below 6 years of age. This can also be availed during official travels to Meesho’s head office in Bangalore.
Ashish Kumar Singh, Chief Human Resources Officer, Meesho said, “Driven by our mantra to build a people-centric workplace, Meesho has always ensured employees are at the core of everything we do. We have been championing many industry-first initiatives that have redefined conventional workplace norms and this new policy is a step in that direction. We have studied multiple future of work models to arrive at this novel boundaryless approach. In the future, this will also give talent across the globe an opportunity to build for Bharat with Meesho.”
Zymrat, an innovation-led performance wear brand announced raising $500,000 in seed funding.
The investment was led by Dominor Investment Holding LLP. The funds will be used for category extension, accelerating product innovation, hiring talent, and building awareness and visibility through brand building.
Anicut Angel Fund, angel investors such as Aditya Somani, Rashmi Daga, Founders - Fresh Menu, Mahesh Agrawal, Mridumesh Rai, Business Director - Alshaya Group), Ankit Somani and Sunil Goyal, Founders - Ladderup Finance, also participated in the round.
Founded in 2018 by Ujjawal Asthana and Ankita, Zymrat is an innovation-led performance wear brand with technology at its core. The company offers a wide range of products such as training and running t-shirts, shorts, joggers, and outerwear for men. Zymrat, through its extensive focus on raw materials, has created world-class products and IPs that are an industry first. SuperSilva, Zero Odour T-Shirts with sustainable silver ions, and The Ball Cooling shorts are some of the recent innovations by the company.
Ujjawal Asthana, Co-Founder, and CEO, Zymrat said, “We are extremely pleased with the trust our investors have placed on us. The activewear and athleisure market has been growing exponentially in India. We are witnessing 5x more demand for our products in the space we operate in. Repeat rate of 40 percent has been our biggest product market validator that we are moving in the right direction. We are gearing up to launch 30 new SKUs across categories in the next few months. This capital infusion will help us in using revolutionary technologies to design and develop high performance, durable and unique products.”
Tushar Singh, Managing Partner, Dominor Investments Holding LLP said, “Providing customers world-class athletic wear, based on cutting edge fabric technology and inspiring designs are the core drivers of Zymrat. Having led two rounds of funding at Zymrat, we at Dominar are very excited at supporting the company in solving a major market gap in India. As the fitness market grows in India, so does the need for an indigenous brand from India that allows every man to feel excited, proud, and exceedingly comfortable in what he is wearing, when breaking a sweat.”
Ashvin Chadha, Co-founder, Anicut Angel Fund said, “Innovation through technology is the next step in fashion and we have immense belief in Zymrat and their founders in ensuring high-quality activewear for the customers. We are thrilled to support their endeavors and mission of supporting the commitment of every individual towards self-care, personal health, and athletics through one-of-its-kind engineered products. My best wishes to team Zymrat.”
The company raised $250K in December 2020 from Dominor Investment Holding LLP as lead, LetsVenture Angel Fund, and other prominent angel investors.
The Delhi-based social commerce startup, Stage3 has raised Rs 20 crore in a Pre-Series A round co-led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP along with Let’s Venture and Stanford Angels. Blume Ventures and Stage3 are existing investors, who participated in the round. Other angel investors include Ananth Narayanan, founder, Mensa Brands, Dinesh Aggarwal, CEO of India Mart, and Sashwat Nakhrani, Co-founder of Bharat Pe.
“Stage3 demonstrated to our network that how merging the best of both worlds – marrying e-commerce to influencer-driven social interactions can become a thriving business idea and this got us interested in their business. Indian consumers are already moving to online shopping in an accelerated manner and as technology helps e-commerce companies to extend offline experience elements, the next big disruption in the e-commerce value chain will be driven by social commerce and user-generated recommendations,” Ankur Mittal, Co-Founder of IPV, said.
The funds raised will be utilized in improving technology infrastructure, hiring talent, and building data science capabilities. Stage 3 is powering the creator economy in fashion and lifestyle while providing a personalized engaging social shopping experience for India’s GenZs and millennials.
"Our Vision at Stage3 is to build the next generation of fashion commerce for young India that is social, personalized and influencer led. Our AI-powered app will dramatically change how consumers shop by building a hyper-personalized feed reflecting their interests, personal style, size, and brand preferences In addition they will be able to share their wishlist, group shop with friends and directly connect with sellers,” Sabena Puri, Co-Founder and CEO of Stage3, said.
Stage3 has registered a year-on-year growth of 200 percent with current annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $3 million and a high gross margin of 70 percent across the platform. The company has also clocked a 30 percent increase in its follower base across its social media platforms in the last 12 months, achieving the current follower base of 5,00,000.
Stage3 expects to achieve an ARR of $6-7 million by March 2022
"We at Stage3 are very excited to be at the forefront of building the first-of-its-kind social marketplace in India and tap into the $100 billion market opportunity for fashion growing to be $185 billion in 5 years. The two key trends driving this growth are a shift to online and shift to social, where we leverage a daily active user base of a billion users across various social platforms in the country to enable more than 3 million influencers, small brands and Instagram boutiques to build their social storefront and monetize their brand like never before," Sanchit Baweja, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of Stage3, said.
Investments into Stage3 are warehoused in the name of LC Nueva AIF, a Category II Alternative Investment Fund, where LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP is the Investment Manager. LC Investment Partners LLP is being rebranded to LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP. The rebranded entity and the Fund are awaiting approval from SEBI. The fund will be launched once necessary regulatory approvals are obtained.
Duroflex, which is a sleep solutions brand, has strategically expanded its portfolio into home comfort solutions with a basic range of furniture. The essential furniture has contemporary beds, sofas, recliners, and adaptive work-from-home furniture.
The furniture range is available at select retail stores and e-commerce channels with delivery available across India. The company reportedly plans to expand into other categories of furniture in the coming months with more store openings lined up for December as well.
With this expansion, the newly opened experience centers in Indiranagar and Banaswadi, Bangalore, have a special furniture section showcasing all the offerings. The company has 33 experience centres across India to date, all of which are company-owned.
“Duroflex has helped India reimagine how they sleep. Now, with our furniture collection, we want our customers to reimagine how they approach to comfort. We have started with an essential range and the portfolio will soon expand,” Mohanraj J, President and Business Unit Head, Duroflex said.
The Indiranagar and Banaswadi centres are spread over an area of 3258 sqft and 4000 sqft respectively and are among the largest Duroflex experience centres in India.
Besides being the sleep solutions brand, Duroflex is a supplier to major players in the industry. With this expertise, the brand is entering the home solutions category through furniture.
“Our new retail launches in Bengaluru will be the first few Duroflex Experience Centres that will showcase the new furniture range. The experience centres will now offer a whole gamut of home solutions,” Mohanraj added.
Duroflex will be launching three more experience centres in Bengaluru. The brand has plans to expand further and launch its first experience centres in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan in Ahmedabad, Indore, and Jaipur respectively.
Metro Brands Ltd, which is backed by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, will open for public subscription on December 10. The initial public offering (IPO) will conclude on December 14, according to the red herring prospectus.
The initial share sale includes fresh issuance of equity shares worth Rs 295 crore and an offer for sale of Rs 2.14 crore equity shares by promoters and other shareholders.
With this IPO, the company's promoters will reportedly offload a nearly 10 percent stake. Following the IPO, the promoter and promoter group holding in the firm will come down to 75 percent from the current level of around 85 percent.
According to the company’s official statement, proceeds of the fresh issue will be used towards expenditure for opening new stores of the company, under the 'Metro', 'Mochi', 'Walkway' and 'Crocs' brands and for general corporate purposes.
At present, the company claims to have 586 stores in 134 cities spread across India. Of these, 211 stores were opened in the last three years. The company is an Indian footwear retailer targeting the economy, mid and premium segments in the footwear market.
Axis Capital, Ambit, DAM Capital Advisors, Equirus Capital, ICICI Securities and Motilal Oswal Investment Advisors are the book running lead managers to the IPO.
10club, which is an e-commerce aggregator, has rolled up Aurion, a sports and fitness equipment business. Founded by Harkirat Singh and Satvinder Singh, Aurion offers customers high-quality ankle weights, gym belts, medicine balls, dumbbells, skipping ropes and other such training and fitness equipment. This is 10club’s third acquisition in the sports and fitness category after Skudgear and Rapidotzz.
“Sports and fitness are one of the fastest-growing categories in our country. With its in-house product development capabilities and intrinsic understanding of the sports goods market, Aurion is well-positioned to achieve further scale in this category. We, at 10club, are very excited to partner with Satvinder and Harkirat in realizing their dream of building a large ‘Made in India’ sports brand,” Deepak Nair, Co-founder and COO, 10club, said.
While Aurion was initially an offline play, the founders understood the importance of going digital early on when they listed their ankle weights on Amazon in 2013. Since then, they have expanded their product portfolio based on customer feedback and returns.
“We started by selling one product on Amazon years ago and today we have built an enterprise that develops some of the highest quality products in the Sports category in India. We have always dreamt of growing Aurion to an INR 200-300 Cr brand and we are excited to embark on that journey with 10club,” Harkirat Singh and Satvinder Singh, Founders at Aurion, said.
10club will work with the founders to explore and develop various avenues for exponential growth. Hrishikesh Thite, Partner Growth, 10club, believes there is tremendous potential in expanding the portfolio further into sporting equipment and eventually, even foraying into smart tech sport equipment.
“Aurion is among the category-leaders, driven by the entrepreneurial DNA of the Singh brothers coupled with a unique focus on customer delight and manufacturing locally in India. We at 10club are very excited to enable the growth journey further, leveraging our extensive expertise in sourcing, category management, product and channel expansion, and branding and marketing. In the future, we foresee Aurion to be the brand-of-choice for both professional and casual sports enthusiasts,” Thite said.
10club, earlier this year had raised $40 million in its seed round and has already acquired six brands across the sport, home (including lawn and gardening) and baby categories. The company partners with entrepreneurs to grow and scale the businesses by using a centralized platform model which has best-in-class-talent, processes and practices in the form of playbooks.
Licious has lately introduced its industry-first initiative furthering its commitment towards offering a differentiated people experience. Starting 1st Jan 2022, all eligible Licians (employees at Licious) will have their ESOPs vested daily.
According to the company’s official statement, the employees will also have the option of anytime liquidation of ESOPs; no terms and conditions being associated with the liquidation. This opportunity can be availed once in the one year, as mandated by company law, is over. The company will set aside a pool of secondary funds every year, to enable the anytime liquidation.
Licious’ ESOP Plan
The ‘Everyday Vesting, Anytime Liquidation’ ESOP plan will benefit over 1000 Licians who currently own ESOPs and are well appreciated for their contribution as well as faith demonstrated in the company. Furthermore, all new Licians who receive ESOPs will be added to the pool. All employees will be actively guided about this opportunity so that they can take complete advantage of this novel initiative.
“At Licious, we have been recording unprecedented growth and that too in a highly unorganized market. Our employees’ contribution in this growth trajectory has been enormous and incentivizing them well is among our priorities. We are conscious of helping Licians meet their personal and financial goals through wealth creation as we organize the market, and making vesting and buying ESOPs daily, signifies the same,” Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, Co-Founders at Licious, stated.
Rendering Opportunities to Employees
Licious claims to have the most inclusive ESOPs programme in India that benefits employees across functions including processing center staff, delivery boys, and corporate employees. Earlier this year, the company also extended a buyback option worth INR 30 crore which provided meaningful and real-time wealth creation opportunities for the employees.
“This new initiative will not only build complete transparency but give Licians 100 percent control over their vested ESOPs. It is an unprecedented initiative – the kind of wealth creation opportunity for employees that India has not seen before. The value that Licious creates for the employees and customers will be reflected in our valuation. We are dedicated to seeing both those things grow!” Gupta and Hanjura added.
The brand stated that its USP has been a superior quality product, which has ensured a consistent repeat order rate of 90 percent. To ensure a coherent product standard and uncompromised customer service, the company asserts to own and control the entire supply chain of its 300 plus SKUs.
Beauty brand MyGlamm’s parent company, The Good Glamm Group has acquired cosmetics ventures St.Botanica and Oriental Botanics business.
“Glad to announce the acquisition of St.Botanica and Oriental Botanics business by The Good Glamm Group in the month of August as one of India’s biggest D2C acquisitions of the year against full payment deal,” said Sahil Mehta, Founder of St.Botanica and Oriental Botanics, and 4 other popular brands Arden, MuscleXP, NourishVitals, Mom & World (in a LinkedIn post).
“The pain and efforts involved to run 6 brands parallelly from beauty to health and to establish every brand in India without any funding is altogether a different effort level that cannot be compared,” Mehta further added.
Haryana-based, St.Botanica offers various range of products for facial care, hair care, bath & body care, health care and many more. The startup is having a market presence in the USA, Australia, Singapore, India, and the United Kingdom.
Oriental Botanics, a member of PETA’s ‘Beauty without Bunnies program’, has been verified as 100 percent cruelty-free and vegan. Over the years, the brand has formed a community of millions of loyal customers across the country, with substantial sales coming from Tier II and III cities as well.
Recently, Good Glamm had announced a Series D funding round of $150 million which saw participation from Prosus Ventures (Naspers), Warburg Pincus, Alteria Capital and existing investors. The valuation of the platform went to $1.2 billion, making it the 35th startup this year to join the club of unicorns.
“We wish Darpan S (Founder and CEO, Good Glamm Group) and Team all the best and we are very confident we have given the brand in the right hands who can scale this to the nest level and position it as a global skin and hair leader in luxury cosmetics,” Mehta said.
Troo Good, a Hyderabad-based millets snacks startup has raised Rs 55 crore in Series-A funding from OAKS Asset Management for business expansion purposes.
The startup plans to expand its product portfolio by introducing new millet-based products and is aiming to clock a turnover of Rs 300 crore in the next three years. Currently, the company offers 14 products.
Troo Good has created a proprietary production methodology incorporating many types of millets as well as peanuts and has grown to a size that gives it significant economies of scale in procurement, production, distribution, and marketing.
The company is further creating a range of other millet-based products that will take advantage of the existing distribution channel.
The company manufactures millet chikkis, its flagship product, at its three factories in Telangana & Andhra Pradesh, two of which are in Hyderabad and one is at Rajahmundry. It is planning to open five new factories in AP, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana in the near term.
Troo Good originally started operations by making millet-based chapatis and parathas for schools, IT companies, and sky kitchens. The company earlier raised $1 million from AppLabs founder Sashi Reddi and his family in the seed round.
More than 2 crore ODOP products worth Rs 1,000 crore have been sold in 2020-2021 on the Flipkart portal which has helped artisans of Uttar Pradesh in a big way.
Flipkart, India's homegrown e-commerce marketplace, in partnership with the UP Government's ODOP project, has promoted indigenous and specialized products and crafts in UP on its marketplace.
"The Uttar Pradesh government has been working relentlessly to encourage more and more local businesses to see their national market grow. As part of our initiatives, it is heartening to see that our ODOP campaign has led to boosting revenue for these crafts online and allowed them to witness consumer demand from across the country," Navneet Sehgal, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), MSME, Export Promotion, Khadi and Village Industry, said.
According to a government spokesman, leather products from Agra, sports goods from Meerut, and locks from Aligarh have been the top trending ODOP products on the platform.
Flipkart’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer met Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath, and shared how Flipkart has significantly contributed to the sale of ODOP products.
“ODOP had become a potent tool to encourage the local artisans, helping them in the production of traditional handicrafts and providing them a market as well,” Adityanath said.
The partnership with e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart will further help in strengthening our aim to provide much-needed visibility to these specialized products.
"The ODOP scheme has brought about a significant economic change for the good by promoting the local and traditional talent," Adityanath added.
Flipkart and the UP government joined hands last year to bring district-specific products, unique to those regions, onto the Flipkart marketplace.
"We are delighted to see the growth that local businesses from UP have witnessed on our marketplace platform. As a homegrown company, it has been our constant endeavor to bring increased market opportunities to MSMEs and small businesses, and under UP government's ODOP program promote specialized products that are unique to these districts," Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group said.
These products range from leather products from Agra, aluminum utensils from Kanpur, chikankari and zari-zardozi work from Lucknow, wooden lacquerware, and toys from Varanasi, wheat stalk craft from Bahraich, terracotta pottery from Gorakhpur, and wood-carved crafts from Saharanpur, among many others.
Homegrown wooden toy brand, Shumee brought Bollywood actress, Dia Mirza onboard as an investor and brand ambassador. The company was founded by Meeta Sharma Gupta. It designs development-friendly child-safe toys for children up to the age of 8.
Its toys are designed in-house by the startup’s designers and handcrafted by local artisans using wood, cotton and other child-safe materials. It has sold more than 200,000 toys in six countries since its launch in 2016. It sells directly through its website and marketplaces like Amazon.
“As a mom, I am constantly looking for products that ensure safety, are environmentally conscious, free from plastic and are made from a mother’s perspective,” Dia Mirza said.
This adds to the growing list of Bollywood celebrities backing Indian D2C brands. A few months back, women wellness brand Nua had raised funding from Deepika Padukone. Padukone reportedly works closely with the brand to ideate and create new products.
“Children learn through play: learning should not be forced on them. We have over 100 toys and games at Shumee and none of them are ‘educational’ in the typical sense. They encourage open-ended play, led by the child’s own imagination and will,” said Meeta Sharma Gupta, Founder, Shumee.
In the previous year, Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt had launched a startup called Ed-a-mamma, which makes kidswear for children between the ages of 2 and 16. Bhatt has also infused in Phool.co, StyleCracker and Nykaa.
Clean beauty marketplace, Vanity Wagon raised Rs 5.5 crore in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures. Other investors that participated in the round are Venture Catalysts, Lotus Herbals while existing investors, Agility Ventures, and a consortium of HNIs infused in the round.
“The beauty segment has been taken by a storm of clean beauty. This is driven by consumers’ demand to consume non-toxic beauty and personal care products. As brands in this segment continue to show robust growth, we see Vanity Wagon becoming a dominant marketplace in the clean beauty market in the next 2-3 years,” Prateek Ruhail, Co-founder and CEO at Vanity Wagon, said.
The fresh capital will be used for strengthening the tech platform, marketing, brand building, team expansion, and private label acquisitions. It will further be used for expansion in the international market.
Vanity Wagon’s Growth Rate
Vanity Wagon is a homegrown clean beauty marketplace with a focus on non-toxic products. It aims to provide a one-stop solution to all beauty needs. It claims to have completed over 50,000 orders since its inception. It is currently serving 1.3 lakh visitors on the website monthly, thereby creating a robust base in the clean beauty space in India with a high-power team.
As per the company’s official statement, it has recorded 4.5X growth in GMV and a 100 percent growth in partner brands since its seed round was raised in September last year.
"India's cosmetics market is likely to reach $28.9 billion by 2026. With this, the clean beauty market will also see double the growth. Growing disposable income will lead to the increasing purchasing power of women who are more conscious now and would prefer only non-toxic products which would not harm their skin. As Vanity Wagon is the market leader in organic products, we foresee its growth as a robust marketplace of natural beauty products," Dhianu Das, Founder at Agility Ventures, said.
Thriving in Clean Beauty Space
The company now caters to a global market with the total addressable market globally expected to be $11 billion by 2027. The Indian market is pegged to be $2 billion by 2025, thereby, creating the necessity for a large e-retailer in the space.
The information-oriented organic beauty marketplace is already associated with leading brands like Juicy Chemistry, Wow Skin Science, mCaffeine, Mama Earth, Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic, and Minimalist, and continues to grow its portfolio. It has a wide range of value offerings for customers including a digital magazine, products in Clean Beauty, subscription model, online consultation, and full-stack loyalty program.
“Modern age definition of beauty has moved far beyond fair skin. New-age brands are constantly challenging this norm and we have seen that many made-in-India beauty brands have proven that new-age women are looking for high efficacy products which are cruelty-free. Vanity Wagon’s growth has been exponential and the boom in D2C and online commerce in the beauty sector is going to empower the next level of growth for the company,” Mitesh Shah, Co-founder at Inflection Point Ventures, said.
The firm began its journey in 2018 with 10 brands and today, it has 151 brands in its portfolio, exhibiting exponential growth. Its motto is ‘Clean Beauty Delivered’ and with that aim, it continues to build its capabilities in an industry that has taken the consumer products space by storm in the past four years. Building this e-commerce business has been backed by a robust founding team – Prateek Ruhail, Naina Ruhail, and Sahil Shrestha.
ASICS SportStyle is celebrating the 35th birthday of the GT-II™ with a reintroduction of the model’s original colorway in ‘White/Monaco Blue’, as well as an additional anniversary colorway in ‘Glacier Gray/ASICS Blue’. The 2021 version also features several sections of the upper being composed of recycled materials, which include mesh and synthetic suede.
“In 1986, the GT-II™ was the first ASICS footwear model to bring GEL™ technology to the world,” Kazuki Toba, Footwear Developer at ASICS, said.
GEL™ technology also appeared in a Japanese-exclusive model, the Freaks α. The GT-II™ was introduced as the first globally available model to feature ASICS GEL™ cushioning technology.
A landmark in ASICS innovation and GEL™ technology, the 1986 ASICS GT-II™ returns for 2021 as a faithful recreation of the original model.
The 2021 GT-II™ is an homage to the original performance runner from 1986. The first globally available ASICS model to feature GEL™ technology, the GT-II™ takes its name from the grand tourer sports cars.
ASICS was founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka. The company designs and manufactures running shoes, as well as, athletic and SportStyle inspired footwear, apparel, and accessories. ASICS India claims to have 60 stores in 30 key metro cities, Tier-I and Tier-II cities.
R for Rabbit, which deals in baby products brands, raised Rs 400 million from private equity firm, Xponentia Capital Partners. The fresh capital will primarily be directed towards strengthening the brand, scaling distribution and operations in the domestic market. It will also help enhance the existing product portfolio and introduce new categories of products.
“In the last seven years, we have successfully managed to create a strong base of 1.5 million loyal customers. We have also developed a deep understanding of the baby products market and have been consistently delivering safe and innovative baby products resulting in trust among the new generation of ‘smart’ parents. Now, we endeavor to accelerate our growth with the support from Xponentia,” Kunal Popat, Founder of R for Rabbit said.
The company was founded by Kunal Popat and Kinjal Popat. It focuses on developing safe baby products that meet international quality guidelines at accessible price points. It has a presence across India and offers a diverse range of baby products.
“With this funding, we aim to strengthen our brand, increase our consumer reach and enter into newer product categories. We also aim to continue providing the best quality products to our customers and meeting their expectations by keeping our design and quality in sync with the International standards,” Kunal Popat said.
The brand believes in making the parenting experience fun, safe and simple while delivering a comfortable lifestyle for the healthy development of babies and children. It has developed innovative products suited to Indian tastes and requirements, embedded with world-class safety standards and technology.
“We are delighted to partner with the husband-wife team of Kunal and Kinja lPopat to build R for Rabbit into a loved and trusted baby products company. Xponentia looks forward to associating with them to build a top-class management team, build further consumer awareness, improve reach and access, and add to their product portfolio as they continue to deliver on their promise to consumers,” Devinjit Singh, Founder and Managing Partner, Xponentia Capital Partners said.
Men’s lifestyle brand, Beardo has revealed their new hemp personal care range. This latest offering from the personal care brand rings in the future of personal care for men.
In tune with the times, the ever-increasing demand for sustainable, earth-friendly products, and building on the wave of popularity hemp enjoys in the international personal care market; Beardo took the ‘Go Green’ route and added their own ‘magic’ to it. Created using hemp seed oil; Beardo’s one-of-a-kind hemp range was designed keeping Indian men’s skincare needs in mind.
Tagged 'Keep Calm & Slay On', the comprehensive range includes Hemp Foam Facewash, Hemp Facewash Scrub, Hemp Soap Bar, Beard Oil, Hair Oil, and Lip Balm.
Sujot Malhotra, CEO, Beardo says, “Beardo prides itself on being a cutting-edge brand that’s been at the forefront of innovation in men’s personal care. A rage internationally, it is surprising that Hemp isn’t as big in India given that it has always had its roots in local culture, religion, and folklore. Beardo is proud to lead the Hemp wave in India.”
Having dominated men’s online grooming and styling for over 5 years, Beardo has become a force to reckon with. Beardo’s curated product offerings across grooming, styling, and now lifestyle and fashion categories for men are unique, exclusive, and aspirational.
Leading influencers and celebrities like Suneil Shetty, BeYouNick, Bhuvan Bam, Ashish Chanchlani have been associated with the brand in the past, along with many well-known influencers. In fact, Beardo 2020 has onboarded dapper men as brand ambassadors: Hrithik Roshan and Yash (KGF Fame).
Ravi Kallayil, Sara Kilgore, and Pavan Kareti have a collective experience of three decades, working with global footwear brands such as Nike and Adidas. In 2020, the trio quit their dream jobs to build an innovative made-in-India footwear brand, designed specifically for Indian children, at an accessible price. Since then, they have been doing extensive market research, R&D, and building cutting-edge capabilities for product innovation.
The founders today officially announced the launch of Plaeto, India’s first D2C foot-health-focused brand to design and deliver ‘shoes for growing feet’ of Indian children, aged 3 to 18. Based on deep insights from Plaeto’s Foot Morphology Research covering 1,000’s of hours of research on Indian kids’ feet, the science-based shoes have been developed by an ace team of footwear designers and engineers from the US, Italy, and India.
Funded by marquee Angel investors, Plaeto was born with a purpose to give Indian kids world-class shoes that care for their feet and help them grow strong, active, and healthy. The first-of-its-kind shoes are crafted with durable, tough, yet highly supportive materials, making them ideal partners for adventurous, active, busy, and mischievous feet, or just letting kids be kids.
Introducing the innovation to the market, Ravi Kallayil, CEO &Co-founder, Plaeto, said, “In 2011, a 10-year-old child from Bangalore sent me a handwritten letter requesting a discount on a Nike shoe and that sparked off a long quest to figure out the answer to a simple question, ‘How can we make a great shoe for Indian kids at an accessible price?’ After nearly a decade of development work, I realized that the only way to make it happen was to go ahead and build it. In 2020, in the middle of the worldwide upheaval caused by the pandemic, I gave up my ‘best job in the world’ with Nike Innovation in the US and relocated to India to become an entrepreneur.”
“We saw an opportunity to bring innovative thinking to make the best-performing shoes designed for the Indian child. Additionally, as we built the shoe, we felt that it was our responsibility to do it in a way that leaves Planet Earth a better place for the kids to inherit,” he added.
Sara Kilgore, Co-founder and Chief Design Officer, Plaeto (who heads the company’s product design center at Portland, USA), said, “Kids not having access to quality/comfortable footwear prevents them from playing altogether, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental health. With Plaeto, our mission is to bring the joy of play to every Indian child, through quality and sustainable footwear.”
Studies show that poorly designed footwear can lead to structural foot and body development issues for children. In addition to this, Plaeto’s research found that 30% of Indian children are wearing the wrong shoe size. “Given my background in psychology, and my knowledge of footwear design, manufacturing, and engineering, starting Plaeto was the obvious next step. The health of the planet and the health of individuals are both paramount. People everywhere deserve quality products so that they can live a good life. For Plaeto, this starts with footwear,” stated Sara.
“To move the needle on planet impact, sustainable products have to be made more accessible to consumers. Plaeto is a demonstration of that idea,” said Bruce Kilgore, Plaeto’s Mentor. Bruce, the Ex-Head of Innovation for Nike and the designer of AirForce1, the largest selling franchise footwear in the world, has designed and developed footwear for the World’s best athletes including Michael Jordan in his 35year footwear design and innovation life.
The Bengaluru-based brand aims to impact at least 30% of the 300 million children in India through their product and programs. In terms of global expansion, the plan is to look at markets, such as Africa, where accessibility to good footwear is a challenge. The long-term strategy also includes propagating the idea of accessible sustainability to developed markets, such as Europe and the US.
OZiva, a plant-based nutrition and wellness brand, recently announced its entry into the kid's nutrition segment with the launch of OZiva Kids.
Research states that kids’ growth and brain development are the topmost concerns of parents today. Due to the changing lifestyles and increased consumption of unhealthy foods, kids are lacking essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, and more.
Most kids are also fussy eaters, which in turn leads to them facing nutrition deficiencies, and is the cause of major concern amongst parents. The company aims to bridge this gap in kids’ nutrition with its new sub-brand.
“For parents, there is nothing more important than their kids’ health and wellbeing. In the past few years, many mothers who have been consuming OZiva have reached out to us as they were looking for healthier nutrition options for their kids. After speaking to them, we realized that there is a dearth of clean nutrition products that are free of harmful ingredients like maltodextrin, heavy metals, etc. in the kid's category. With OZiva Kids, we hope to provide safe and effective solutions for these parents and kids. The initial trials with kids have been promising with both the kids and parents giving us a thumb up,” Aarti Gill, Co-founder of OZiva, said.
Under OZiva Kids, the company is offering a range of superfoods, fortified with essential nutrients and blended with powerful ayurvedic herbs, to cater to the varied needs of growing children. Taste is another factor that has been kept in mind while developing these products.
The company aims to empower people to be healthier and better. It is India’s first certified Clean Label Brand that offers an inspirational range of holistic plant-based nutrition, beauty, and health products.
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) healthy kitchenware start-up The Indus Valley has raised US$ 1.1 million from Rukam Capital, DSG Consumer Partners (DSGCP), and The Chennai Angels. The round also saw participation from Lead Angels Network and Calega Family Office Investors Group.
The company intends to utilize the infused capital to expand its product portfolio, strengthen its team and geographical reach across the country. The company has clocked an annualized run rate of Rs 210 million.
Jagadeesh Kumar, Co-Founder, and CEO, The Indus Valley, said, “We disrupted the segment by being the first mover in the industry, and ever since then, it has been a high-growth niche in the overall cookware industry. We realized that customers have become more health-conscious than ever before and are looking for non-chemical products to ensure their safety. Keeping in mind these growing demands, our products are carefully engineered to provide the most healthy cookware without any usage of chemicals.”
Since its inception, The Indus Valley has served more than two lakh orders and has a strong digital retail presence on marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart, besides retailing on its own website. With a current portfolio of more than 230 SKUs in its offerings, The Indus Valley is continuously expanding its product range with the aim of increasing to 1,000 SKUs in the next 24 months.
The Indus Valley claims to provide 100 percent natural, toxin-free kitchenware, providing alternatives to chemically coated products. Previously, The Indus Valley raised seed funding from The Chennai Angels.
Inox Leisure, which operates a multiplex chain, has reported a widening of consolidated net loss at INR 87.66 crore for September quarter 2021-22. The company’s film exhibition business suffered owing to the restrictions laid after the second wave of COVID-19.
As per BSE filing, the firm reported a net loss of INR 67.83 crore for the July-September period a year ago. In the previous year, the company’s revenue from operations soared to INR 47.44 crore from INR 36 lakh in the same period when its screening business was totally shut.
"All states with INOX's presence have allowed cinemas to operate as per Unlock directives," Inox Leisure said.
As per the company, it has begun opening cinemas in a staggered manner from July 2021 after receiving nods from several state governments to function according to the prescribed Standard Operating Procedures.
"With 18 lakh guests visiting INOX cinemas across the country, the early signs of revival were evident in the quarter with a 10 per cent occupancy rate, ATP (Average Ticket Price) of INR 178 and spend per head (SPH) of INR 92, which is identical to the pre-COVID times," Inox said.
In the quarter, the company received an "encouraging response" for various movies such as Bell Bottom, Shangchi the Legend Of Ten Rings, No Time to Die, F9 The Fast Saga, and Mortal Kombat
"Our performance in this quarter signifies the beginning of the revival journey, which has come after numerous quarters of uncertainty," Siddharth Jain, Director at Inox Group, commented.
Yu, a consumer brand that is re-imagining consumer packaged foods with their 100 percent natural Instant Meal Bowls, has secured US$ 1 million in its pre-Series A round.
The round saw participation from Manish Choksi and Varun Vakil, part of the Asian Paints promoter group, Lalvani family, UK-based food & hospitality group; Nikhil Srivastava, Head of India at PAG private equity; Vishal Sampat, Founder, Convonix, among others.
Founded by Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur, Yu has crafted a range of delicious Instant Meal Bowls that contain ZERO preservatives, additives, artificial flavorings, or colors. Yu’s meal bowls retain their original taste and aroma while enjoying a non-refrigerated shelf life of 12 months. Inspired by the 2020 Nasa SpaceX mission, Yu uses advanced biochemistry processes that avoid denaturation caused by conventional dehydration and allow foods to retain their original taste, aroma, and texture upon rehydration.
Bharat Bhalla, Founder & Executive Director, Yu Foodlabs said “We have combined the most advanced food science technology with culinary arts to re-imagine the future of packaged foods. Our Instant Meal Bowls are packed with gourmet flavors and nutrients while using ZERO preservatives or artificial ingredients! The use of proprietary processes has enabled us to launch our products at an attractive price point of Rs 75-100 per bowl. We are adopting an omnichannel sales strategy and in due course will be present in offline and online stores pan-India.”
Varun Kapur, Founder & Executive Director, Yu Foodlabs shared his excitement on securing the seed funding, “It has been heartening to receive a very tangible vote of confidence from an eminent set of investors in our pre-launch stage. We have partnered with high pedigree investors with backgrounds in consumer brands, private equity, hospitality, technology, and digital marketing. We will use the funds to increase our production capacity to over 5 lac meal bowls per month while expanding our distribution network to key markets across India.”
Yu has introduced 6 SKUs across 2 unique product categories, to begin with that are Wholesome Pasta Bowls – Chunky Tomato, Three Cheese, Peri Peri, and Wholegrain Oat Bowls – Berry Apple Cinnamon, Banana Caramel, Peanut Butter Berry
The product portfolio will soon see multiple additions with the introduction of Dessert Bowls, Veg / Non-Veg Asian Noodle Bowls, and Superfood Breakfast Bowls.
Yu’s products are available at 100+ retail outlets across Delhi NCR including Reliance, Spencers, SPAR, Modern Bazar, Needs Supermarket along with an online presence on Big Basket and Swiggy. Yu’s products can also be purchased by customers pan-India through Amazon, Flipkart, Cora Health as well as the brand's website.
The brand aims to establish an offline presence in Mumbai MMR, East/ North East by Jan 2022 followed by all other metro cities in 9-12 months.
Proving indispensable in the expeditiously evolving Indian Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market, WiZ, the personal care and hygiene brand, is all set to end the year 2021 on an all-time high.
The brand had registered 50 percent growth revenue during the pandemic and is still going strong in the post-COVID market scenario. This number is especially remarkable since WiZ registered a 25 percent revenue growth in the pre-pandemic world.
Continuing its ambitious development and vision, the brand aspires to reach up to Rs 45 crore growth revenue by 2023-24 rising significantly above its current Rs 15 crore revenue. Already catering to the rapidly changing consumer demands within the personal care and hygiene domain, WiZ has recently launched a bonafide set of avant-garde deodorants and added foam handwash to its product portfolio.
In fact, keeping the post-pandemic consumer demands in mind, the brand is laying the foundation for introducing a bouquet of color cosmetics and various hygiene products in 2022. In addition, WiZ is also in the process of onboarding automation to elevate customer engagement and satisfaction.
The brand has created a detailed outline for encouraging unique brand-building processes for the next three to five years. This includes establishing a brand-new factory of about 20,000 sq feet outlet and one 15,000 sq feet fulfillment center. Furthermore, the brand plans to ramp up its hiring process via online and offline channels. At present, WiZ plans to onboard at least 100 women to address the needs of logistics fulfillment, social media presence, online and offline sales, and overall marketing.
Reetesh Dhingra, Co-Founder, WiZ Care said, “On the back of extremely resilient, strong, and fruitful performance by the entire WiZ family, we were able to emerge like a Phoenix even during the horrendous COVID peak. We continued to evolve as per the changing consumer behavior and market dynamics, which played a pivotal role in our overall success. Needless to say, the post-pandemic world continues to throw challenges on our road to success, but we are ready to fight it back. For the next couple of years, we have set some super ambitious goals, and we hope to achieve them with all our might.”
Apart from the aforementioned incredible growth instances, WiZ already has a significant presence in the online D2C market nationally. It has also created a dent in the tier-I personal care and hygiene market. Now, the brand plans to invest a large chunk of the marketing budget by focusing on tier-II and tier-III cities.
Vedix, the world’s first and largest customized Ayurvedic beauty brand, which is known to design personalized hair and skincare products, has brought on board Balika Vadhu Avika Gor to launch a digital campaign for promoting its haircare range.
Avika, much like Vedix, stepped into the industry at the young age of 7 years and won a billion hearts in India, with the way she said Jagya and Dadi Sa. She has wowed her fans and audience with her acting chops in Sasural Simar Ka.
The hard work that the film and television industry demand, long hours, non-stop shooting schedules, ultimately impacted her hair growth. She noticed her hair turning rough with the use of harsh chemicals that led to hair fall problems.
Enter Vedix, which designed a customized hair care regime for Avika, who had to answer a few simple questions. Vedix uses AI and data science to provide real-time analysis of an individual's dosha profile and inform them about the Vikruti or imbalances in the body which need fine-tuning.
Vedix offers 100 percent Ayurvedic herbal natural products made using no harmful chemicals, or SLA or parabens. They don’t test on any animals. Its use of Ayurvedic herbs such as Bhringaraja, Brahmi, Amlaki, Yashtimadhu, Datura, and many others play an important role in arresting hair fall and dandruff and promoting healthy hair growth. The brand also has a market-dominating presence in the skincare segment with customization of products forming Vedix’s DNA. Vedix uses a 7-10 days feedback loop over email and WhatsApp to further finetune the customized regime.
It has recently launched a series of specialized SKUs of Ayurvedic toners, face masks and face oil on marketplaces like Amazon, Myntra, Purplle, Flipkart, and Tata Cliq. It is currently celebrating a month-long one of its kind Vedix Ayurvedic Soundarya Festival with deep discounts, new launches, festive gift packs, and flash sales.
Jatin Gujrati, Business Head Vedix, says, “Work stress, long working hours leave all of us with almost no time to care for our hair and skin. Vedix was born to help our upwardly mobile customers to arrest their hair and skin concerns without worrying about side effects which are often caused by the repeated use of chemical-based cosmetics. With Vedix, we are bringing, trueness of 5,000 years old Ayurveda in a contemporary form. Ayurveda teaches us to customize as per individual needs. We have successfully helped lakhs of customers to break the constant trial and error cycle by providing them high efficacy products that work.”
Vedix recently launched Gandusha/ Kavala oil pulling oil oral detox and an all-new men’s skincare range further deepening its focus across 3 major categories - hair, face, and oral market segment. The brand has emerged as the largest Ayurveda beauty brand in India with an ARR of Rs 160 crore. The company aims to touch Rs 500 crore in revenues in the next 2 years.
Heads Up For Tails (HUFT), India’s largest D2C pet care company, announced the appointment of Samriddh Dasgupta as Chief Marketing Officer.
Dasgupta brings with him over 19 years of diverse leadership experience across sales, marketing, and advertising and has worked on growing traditional and digital-first businesses across categories.
At Heads Up For Tails, a pioneering pet care brand in India since 2008, he will be responsible for scaling growth across the levers of brand and marketing, partnerships, community culture and engagement, and product innovation.
Rashi Sanon, Founder, Heads Up For Tails said, “We at HUFT have always focused on building teams that are able to bring in perspectives that help us push the envelope of how we think about our business today. We are very excited to have Samriddh join us in our growth journey. In his past roles across D2C, FMCG, Content, and Media, he has a proven track record of building strong brands in large categories. Samriddh will be helping us expand our omnichannel brand presence and help take our purpose forward across various consumer touchpoints.”
Samriddh Dasgupta said, “Heads Up for Tails is a formidable category creator brand in the pet care industry and I am excited to be part of their vision of becoming a trustable go-to-destination for all pet parents. Rashi and her team have built a purpose-driven and innovation-led business bringing products and services to help pets and pet parents live their best lives, together.”
“As a part of the marketing and communications mandate, we will be focussing on combining the richness of consumer insights and data intelligence in the system. We aspire to build content and experience bridge across the consumer journey, helping pet parents make more informed choices,” he added.
A multi-dimensional marketer and storyteller with strong business acumen, Dasgupta has a deep understanding of D2C businesses and a proven track record of building strong and engaging brands that resonate well with the consumer and evolve organizations into revenue generators.
Prior to this appointment, Dasgupta led marketing and communications for Bombay Shaving Company as their Vice President - Marketing & New Brands, taking the brand from a stage of mid-scale growth to being recognized as a robust FMCG 2.0 player along with building multiple cross-category brands and consumer services in his tenure.
Prior to that, he was Head of Marketing at Akiva Superfoods, Aakash Digital, Xynteo, a Norwegian sustainability firm, and Dineout. The first decade of his career was spent as an entrepreneur in advertising, where he supported the growth of emerging businesses across India, from sectors as diverse as education, healthcare, diagnostics, FMCG, NBFCs, pharma, footwear, and infrastructure.
Plum, a homegrown, 100 percent vegan, PETA-certified, clean beauty brand, has announced the opening of its first-ever exclusive store at R-City Mall in Mumbai, with the goal of catering to a diverse customer base through online and offline retail touchpoints.
The opening of exclusive stores reflects the company's strategy to develop 'phygital' channels to serve its customers and building a truly omnichannel approach to deliver customer delight and propel growth.
Plum aims to open more than 50 offline stores across India by 2023 as part of its strategy. The company has a 3 million-strong customer base and serves 3 lakh customers on a monthly basis. Starting online-only in 2014, the brand has since built its distribution presence over the last 4 years and now reaches over 225 towns and cities in India, through 750+ assisted retail outlets, and over 10,000 unassisted retail outlets, all growing month on month.
The addition of exclusive stores to this portfolio is expected to significantly increase Plum’s reach to its target customer segments. On a path of rapid, sustainable, fundamentals-driven growth with a blend of the right product and strong brand identity, Plum finds itself in a leadership position with strong financials, experiencing a 2.5X growth Y-O-Y, with an annualized run rate of Rs. 200 crores offering over 150+ SKU’s.
Shankar Prasad, CEO & Founder, Plum said, “In today’s world, an average consumer has to go through several touchpoints of inquisitiveness, awareness, consideration, and trials while making a purchase. While online medium offers excellent options at many of these touchpoints but is not always complete. Keeping these parameters in mind, we wanted to provide our customers an opportunity that serves as an all-in-one experience across all these touchpoints.”
“With the opening of our first exclusive store in India, we are looking to bring back the richness of human face-to-face interactions, thereby, adding to the joy of consuming the product. As next steps in the same direction, we have charted out a roadmap for the next two years wherein we will be opening over 50 stores across the country,” he added.
A pioneer in the clean beauty space, a thought leader, and an expert in products, Plum is a digital-first, now omnichannel, beauty brand with a strong portfolio in skincare, haircare, personal care, and makeup. The brand is driven by a strong leadership and investor team focused on building value for People, the Planet, and Profit-sharing participants.
With a path to profitability, Plum closed its last round of funding to raise Rs 110 crore in November 2020. Plum is also among the fastest-growing BPC brands on key marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, and Myntra. The brand’s retail presence covers both general trades as well as key accounts such as Health & Glow, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, and other department store chains.
In September 2021, the brand strengthened its leadership by adding a new CMO and CFO to the team.
Despite Covid-19 restrictions easing somewhat in parts of Southeast Asia, the pace of growth for social commerce shows few signs of slowing. If anything, more people are spending more of their time discovering, considering, and purchasing products within the social media ecosystem.
In the first half of 2021, orders and Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) jumped 102 percent and 91 percent, respectively over the same period last year, iKala’s annual study titled ‘Riding the Pandemic Wave & Beyond’ stated.
While e-commerce (91 percent) remains the preferred channel for shoppers in Southeast Asia, social commerce (78 percent) is emerging hot on its heels, surpassing even traditional retail (35 percent). In fact, as many as 42 percent of total shoppers said they use social media to make purchases 1-2 times per month, and 35 percent use it shop more than three times a month.
Social commerce’s success goes beyond frequency, too, with revenue per order up 88 percent during the period. This means consumers aren’t just shopping more, they are also spending more on each order.
“Southeast Asia already had some of the most avid social media users in the world, and spurred by the pandemic, they’ve taken to social platforms for their shopping needs at an exhilarating pace,” said Sega Cheng, Co-Founder, and CEO, iKala. “Even as brick-and-mortar reopens, it’s become clear that social commerce is not a phase — the ease, convenience, and accessibility of this format have earned it a permanent place in the way this region shops.”
Transteel, one of India's leading D2C brands for office furniture targeted at SMEs and middle-market companies, has received growth capital of Rs 4 crore from marquee investors including India’s leading revenue-based financing player, Klub.
Transteel offers purposeful, premium office furniture built for start-ups, small and medium-sized business owners. Transteel launched its D2C vertical in May 2020 as its pivot in response to Covid and makes furnishing office spaces easy and affordable for start-ups and small and medium businesses owners.
With pan India delivery, the company has shown remarkable growth during the pandemic. Their approach of engaging directly with the consumers and the SME/ MSME vertical has helped them achieve remarkable numbers of 40,000 online orders since May 2020.
Shiraz Ibrahim, Managing Director, Transteel said, “It gives us great confidence that our investors are in line with our vision of promoting the Consumer / MSME / SME verticals of Transteel. This funding will definitely help us in developing our business and will boost our mission of providing affordable furniture directly to the end consumer that is delivered and installed in as little as a week, with a 'buy now, work now' approach to suit the fast-paced nature of start-up and small business culture”
Transparent pricing and automatically applied volume discounts are a few among the other benefits that Transteel offers to its customers to easily purchase furniture online and let Transteel take care of delivery, assembly, and after-sales support. The company further aims to utilize the amount in improving customer service, logistics, manufacturing, and customer acquisition.
Customized Ayurveda beauty brand Vedix announced the launch of an all-encompassing men’s skincare line that is backed by the deep science of Ayurveda.
What comes to our mind when we think of men and skincare? There is a good chance, many men may shrug a skincare ritual thinking they don’t need it. Social biases are also responsible for this conditioning.
Men’s skincare routines generally comprise bathing daily and sometimes tinkering with their wives’ skincare products. Ayurveda scriptures tell us that self-care is essential for all, irrespective of someone’s gender, social status, or type of work. A proper self-care routine ensures good physical and mental health. Ayurveda believes a healthy body with positive mental health is always handsome.
Jatin Gujrati, Business Head, Vedix, says, “Men’s skin is perhaps tougher, but produces more oil and sweat. Working out and being outdoors can worsen this. Most men have a nonexisting skincare routine. We already have a line of customized products for men and in the last 3 years, we have seen the highest growth in this segment. Our data tells us that there is a demand in the customer segment for customized daily skincare as legacy brands have remained restricted when addressing the men’s beauty segment. Vedix was born to challenge the norms. Staying true to our purpose, we have deep-dived into the men’s skincare ritual segment and are confident that our newly launched products will usher many men into self-care for their skin concerns.”
With this thesis, Vedix has rolled out a complete range of men’s skincare which is inspired by the age-old secrets of Dinacharya (daily routine) and customizes precisely what your body needs. The result: high efficacy products that are suited for modern fast life replete with the benefits of the ancient doctrine of routine.
Vedix Skincare routine for men comprising a face wash is customized based on doshas that define the type of your skin, a moisturizer steeped in herbal actives like Brahmi, Manjishtha, The moisturizer is tailor-made for your skin needs, as all other Vedix products are. The third product is an active serum, to be used overnight.
The entire range is available on top marketplaces like Amazon, Purplle, Myntra, Flipkart, and Tata Cliq. With the festive season in full swing, Vedix recently launched the Soundarya beauty festival. The newly launched range will see heavy discounts on purchases.
Natural beauty and skincare brand, Bella Vita Organic has appointed Puneet Dhiman as Director - Marketing and Growth. Prior to Bella Vita Organic, he was working with Google US. He joined Bella Vita Organic to nurture his love for entrepreneurship, which brought him back to India.
Having over 11 years of experience in the field of marketing, growth, and strategy, he specializes in building digital identities for e-commerce brands that want to separate themselves from the rest. He took on several leadership roles and responsibilities in many renowned companies like Jabong, FashionAndYou, and Directi across the B2B, B2C, and C2C industries. He is extremely passionate about working in start-ups, building cohesive teams from scratch, and scaling brands to new heights.
At Bella Vita Organic, Dhiman’s primary responsibilities revolve around leading the marketing endeavors and revenue growth by strategizing, planning, and executing different marketing initiatives.
Aakash Anand, Founder & CEO, Bella Vita Organic said, “Apart from his extraordinary dedication and work ethic, he is a perfect blend of diverse skills and data-driven approach to marketing that will help our brand reach new heights. I love the fact that he shares the same vision as us, to achieve exponential growth while maintaining profitability.”
“Everything that I have learned through data over the past 11 years, has stayed with me, which I have nurtured as my approach towards any and all genres of marketing. Working with Bella Vita Organic, my core vision is to create a brand that stays true to its values and becomes the go-to brand for all things Natural. And with the collective efforts of our amazing team members, I am confident that we will have a Global recognition soon,” Dhiman adds.
A new and exciting D2C sustainable hygiene brand, The Woman’s Company has raised $1.4 million in a Pre-series A round led by Pradip Burman, Chairman of Mobius Foundation and senior member of the Dabur family.
The round was also participated in by Anuradha Gupta - angel investor and an influential HNI, and a few other prominent global HNI’s who are based in the US. The latter, along with Donna George (USA) and Surya Bhatia, will also soon be joining as board members at The Woman’s Company. DPNC Advisors, the transaction advisory arm of Dewan P N Chopra & Co., was the exclusive financial advisor to The Woman’s Company in the transaction.
The Woman’s Company was launched in March 2020 by Founder & CEO Anika Parashar and Co-Founder & COO Roopam Gupta with the goal of addressing serious gaps in the feminine hygiene industry in India, which was estimated at Rs 33 billion in 2020 and is expected to double by 2025. With one woman contributing an average of 125kg of plastic waste over her menstruating years, this industry has seen a huge shift in consumer mindset towards sustainable living. In line with the shift in demand, the brand has innovated products that are fully biodegradable, eco-friendly, and dioxin-free.
Since its inception, the D2C brand has seen 40 percent growth month-on-month which is largely driven by its e-commerce website contributing to the majority of its overall sales. The brand has also established a strong presence on leading e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Nykaa, and Zivame.
The Woman’s Company plans to deploy capital to deepen penetration into Tier l, ll, and lll cities in India and also position it’s ‘Made in India’ products in North America under the D2C model supported by an on-ground team. The brand's vision is to be the leading player in the women's hygiene industry with an omnichannel presence and an outreach of over 100 million women across the globe over the next 5 years.
Sharing her thoughts on the funding, Anika Parashar Founder & CEO of The Woman’s Company commented, “This new infusion of funds will be used to build a safe community for women to engage, access information, and sustainable essential products catering to their health, whilst preserving the environment. In addition to increasing our Indian market share, we will be establishing a significant presence in the US where our vision is to create impact across every household with our quality eco-friendly products as well as our healthcare platform.”
“The Woman’s Company is a wonderful initiative, started by Women entrepreneurs to produce Indian made biodegradable hygiene products for the health and wellness of females which are easily available and affordable. I am happy to support The Woman’s Company and to help make it a success,”said Pradip Burman, Chairman - Mobius Foundation.
Angel investor Anuradha Gupta, added “I am delighted to be associated with The Woman’s Company, an inspiring organization that puts women firmly at the center of its ethos while remaining mindful of the environment. I look forward to seeing what comes next for The Woman’s Company and am excited to be a part of the ongoing journey.”
Good Glamm Group - South Asia's largest content-to commerce group has acquired The Moms Co., India's leading Mom & Baby D2C brand to further strengthen its growth across South Asia.
With this acquisition, The Moms Co. aims to grow to Rs 500 crore revenue run rate in the next two years. This acquisition also marks India's largest D2C transaction to ever take place in the beauty and personal care segment.
Based out of New Delhi, The Moms Co. will continue to work as an independent entity. Over the last 4 years, the brand has catered to over two million customers across 20,000 pin codes in India. The founders Malika Sadani and Mohit Sadaani will work closely with Naiyya Saggi and Priyanka Gill, Co-Founders, Good Glamm Group to accelerate The Moms Co.'s presence not just in India, but across the world.
The partnership of Good Glamm Group and The Moms Co. developed between the founders on a shared vision of leveraging content-to-commerce as a growth engine. Under the group, the brand will be able to leverage a large digital audience of over 100 million users across POPxo and BabyChakra, over 2,20,000 Plixxo influencers, and BabyChakra's 10,000 doctors network. The brand will ramp up its retail presence from its 1,500 retail touchpoints today to over 20,000 from the group to drive adoption of its personal care and baby care ranges.
The personal care market is an $18 billion market, and The Moms Co. with its focus on creating the safest natural formulations that are certified toxin-free has rapidly become one of the most trusted brands in the personal space in India with over 45 SKUs in its portfolio across categories. With the commerce stack that Good Glamm Group has built out and scaled, The Moms Co. will further leapfrog its D2C capabilities and will launch products online and offline across the country, thus ensuring every mother and family have the best care for themselves.
Adding to this, Malika Sadani, Founder & CEO, The Moms Co. says "This partnership marks a milestone in our vision of creating one of the leading mom and baby care brands around the world. We've always been on a mission to help moms make safe, natural, effective choices and with the capabilities of the Good Glamm Group, we will be able to have an impact on the lives of millions of moms around the world through our products, and now through meaningful content and a strong community as well.”
Darpan Sanghvi, Group Founder & CEO, Good Glamm Group said, "As a group, we were inspired by the brand love and loyalty from moms and women for The Moms Co. across our BabyChakra and POPxo platforms. We are very excited about the possibilities with this partnership, and look forward to working closely with the team to take the brand to millions of women across the country through our online and offline presence.”
This acquisition is the first by the company after MyGlamm announced the formation of Good Glamm Group that consolidated its position as a 'Digital House of Brands' powered by a content-to-commerce strategy and where it has earmarked a Rs 750 crore war-chest to make strategic investments in innovative beauty and personal care brands within the next 3 to 6 months. The Moms Co being its largest such investment.
The Indian connected lifestyle brand Noise, has launched its latest campaign #ListenToTheNoiseWithin starring actor Tapsee Pannu. The actor was recently signed as Noise’s brand ambassador for the smart wearable category. With this, the brand endeavors to inspire Noisemakers to never give up and face the challenges as they come by listening to their inner voice and instincts.
The brand has released an aspirational video that is live across Noise’s social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The narrative of the newly launched campaign is pivoted on Noise’s core belief in listening to the noise within and believe in oneself – dil ka shor which completely resonates with Taapsee Pannu’s professional journey.
In the video, Tapsee Pannu is seen following an indomitable spirit for fitness which led to her new transformational avatar and wearing Noise’s smartwatch. Her voiceover narrates the antagonistic opinions of people who were directed to discourage her but, she suppressed these notions/voices to #ListenToTheNoiseWithin.
Amit Khatri, Co-Founder, Noise, said, “We are immensely elated to launch our first campaign with Ms. Taapsee Pannu. She has a one of its kind, high-spirited and fierce persona, which resonates with the core beliefs of Noise. Our synergies are harmonized when it comes to stifling the clouding voices and taking over the challenges to be better than ever. With our campaign featuring Taapsee, our core motive is to inspire Noisemakers that obstructions can never stop you if you listen to your instincts and follow your heart even if you are surrounded by several repulsive voices. We have always advocated the importance of listening to your ‘dil ka shor’ and to do so Taapsee.”
Sharing the experience, Taapsee Pannu said, “Time and again, people tried dragging me down or diminishing me with their criticism, but I made sure I neglected the dispiriting comments. The biggest learning of my journey has been to believe in myself and never lose touch with the inner Noise. Our instinct is the greatest driving force when we come across any challenge, and Noise echoes the power of listening to the inner Noise for a better version of yourself. Both of us are Ziddi and that is why the connection fits. I am glad to be a part of the campaign. The video is a brief glimpse of my journey.”
As a part of the campaign, Noise will be also be releasing series of videos with Taapsee Pannu featuring different products from Noise’s wearable portfolio. The brand is geared up with exciting campaigns and launches in the next few months.
India’s first-ever caffeinated personal care brand - mCaffeine has launched India’s first coffee body wash in a coffee cup that is infused with coffee grounds.
Diversifying its skincare product domain as it explores a new category, the brand has created caffeinated body wash in five unique variants that will suit and soothe all types of skin by providing a non-drying sulfate-free cleaning solution.
A mighty step for the brand this year, the launch of the new product category came with the idea that a refreshing range of body wash is the perfect 'cup of coffee' for your skin. In order to recreate the look and feel of this revitalizing cup of morning coffee, the product is packaged in the shape of a coffee cup made by reusing coffee waste.
Furthermore, in a bid to honor patrons and create an extraordinary experience for them alongside offering an incredible product, the brand reached out to customers asking them for their honest opinions about the brand and the reasons that keep them coming back. These testimonials and photos have been printed on the product packaging - featuring customers who are 'addicted to good' that caffeine does - of the brand's most iconic product of the year.
Tarun Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO, said, “Over the last five years, mCaffeine has become synonymous with coffee skincare - a result of continuous, perseverant efforts by the brand to realize this aspiration. It certainly is a mammoth achievement for the brand and we are thrilled to launch this range of caffeinated body wash for our customers."
"We want to bring the best of what coffee can do for the skin by deep-diving into its wholesome goodness. The new range, which currently includes five variants, brings the signature aroma and rich texture of coffee in a cup for the skin to wake up to every morning. We conceptualized the unique packaging design involving reused old coffee grounds to reinforce our core vision of being natural and environmentally sustainable while staying ‘Addicted to Good'," he further added.
The body care combos includes Deep Body Cleaning - Coffee Trio with Naked & Raw Coffee Body Wash, Naked & Raw Coffee Body Scrub, and Naked & Raw Coffee Body Lotion. Cleanse & Moisturize Daily Body Care Kit with Naked & Raw Coffee Body Wash and Naked & Raw Coffee Body Lotion. Signature Body Washes - assorted set of 3 with Naked and Raw Espresso Coffee Body Wash, Latte Coffee Body Wash, and Cappuccino Body Wash.
mCaffeine’s Naked & Raw range is vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA certified. They are free from SLS and paraben, FDA-approved, and dermatologically tested.
Following a round of fresh fundraise, Licious, has shifted the paradigm yet again by emerging as India’s first D2C Unicorn.
The tech-powered, D2C fresh animal protein brand in the country, achieved a billion dollars valuation post receipt of funding worth $52million led by IIFLAMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund.
Avendus FLF (Future Leaders Fund) has also invested in this round. Avendus Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Licious for the transaction.
The D2C market in India is at an inflection point and is expected to attain a size of 100 billion+ by 2025.
The pandemic has played a major role in accelerating growth for the sector. Despite this, the sector failed to produce a Unicorn until Licious.D2C has the obvious advantage of direct consumer connect that helps them identify gaps and position their products accordingly. However, they also must go through the rigor of building a robust infrastructure that can sustain growth and enable quick scale-up. This needs a bottom-up approach and discipline from Day 0- a rare accomplishment that Licious was able to unlock.
The achievement of Licious Unicorn status is expected to not only further the journey of the brand but unlock the next level of opportunities for the animal protein sector through an inflow of investment, talent, and the emergence of more start-ups that will help raise the bar in all aspects.
Vivek Gupta & Abhay Hanjura, Co-Founders, Licious state, "Even though the funding for D2C sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category. We expect that Licious' Unicorn status will change that. The fresh meats & seafood sector is still largely underserved and unorganized that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion. As the category leader, we aim at paving the way for the second wave of young start-ups that can join hands in fully harnessing the potential that the industry has to offer. We will continue to build the category through investments in technology for supply chain excellence, product innovation, talent, and vendor partner upgrades.”
“In the coming years, you will see Licious work towards building a sustainable, responsible business that will reimagine the animal protein category in India through an optimal mix of global influence and products curated for the Indian palate. But most of all, you will see us championing the cause of the fresh meats and seafood sector as we continue to put it in the front row of consumer businesses in India," they add.
Chetan Naik of IIFL AMC says, “Licious has disrupted the meat and seafood category, which has largely been unorganized and underserved. Vivek and Abhay have demonstrated high levels of customer-centricity and an unparalleled focus on the supply chain necessary for a perishable product. Licious’ focus on product quality, freshness, and innovation has created a strong brand making them the undisputed category leader. Today, Licious is amongst the fastest-growing D2C brands and is one of the few consumer businesses in India with very strong revenue retention metrics. We are excited to partner with them in this journey of creating India’s most-loved meat and seafood brand."
Known for its category-first initiatives, Licious, has been responsible for disrupting the sector over the last 6 years. Earlier this year, Licious allocated ESOPs to over 1,000 employees including the blue-collared workforce. This was followed by a buyback worth Rs 30 crore in August. The company also recently announced its pledge to comply with the lofty global ESG standards, setting new benchmarks for sustainability and governance.
Spread across 14 Indian cities, the company has experienced an unprecedented growth of over 500 percent that company saw during the last year followed by the continuing momentum of the same. Licious has successfully delivered to more than 2 million unique customers to date.
In July 2021, Licious raised $192 million in their Series F funding round, led by Temasek and Multiples, making it the highest-funded company in the fresh animal protein business category. Brunei Investment Agency also participated in the round along with existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India.
D2C beauty and personal care brand, Pilgrim has strengthened its vision of sustainability and being nature-friendly.
The innovative brand, known for its non-toxic and effective product formulations, is now certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for being cruelty-free and vegan. To add to their mission of being a ‘Clean Beauty’ brand in every way, they have also pledged to be Plastic Positive by October 1.
According to the brand, these initiatives are a part of their continual efforts to minimize their environmental impact and make meaningful contributions to SDG 12 of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
The PETA certification is granted to the company which pledges that they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products nor would they do so in the future. This pledge has been a part of the core values at Pilgrim, which has been a 100 percent animal cruelty-free and vegan brand since its inception.
Gagandeep Makker, Co-founder, Pilgrim said, “At Pilgrim, our goal is to meaningfully contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda. We believe in 'clean beauty' and hence offer a product range that is 100 percent vegan, free of harmful toxins, and not tested on animals. In our initiative to reduce our net plastic consumption, we have decided to minimize plastic use and contribute to recycling. We aim to take more such initiatives in the future to contribute towards sustainable development.”
All of Pilgrim’s products are packaged in recycled plastic bolstering the brand’s commitment towards minimizing carbon footprint and being 'Plastic Positive’. To fulfill this commitment towards nature, Pilgrim has tied up with a plastic neutrality facilitator - The Disposal Company that helps brands in ethical collection and recycling of their plastic waste. This helps in neutralizing the net impact on the environment and helps the brand contribute towards sustainability.
Home-grown, 100% vegan, PETA certified, D2C clean beauty brand Plum is strengthening its leadership team as it looks to deepen its omnichannel network across geographies, expand its product offering across newer segments and drive business transformation
Plum has announced the appointment of Shivani Behl as Chief Marketing Officer and Gaurav Sarda as Chief Financial Officer, who will work closely with Shankar Prasad, Founder & CEO, to further accelerate the growth of brand.
With over 150 SKUs, Plum caters to its customer base on both online and offline platforms. In addition to being among the top new-age beauty brands online, the brand also has presence in over 225 towns and cities in India, through 750+ assisted outlets, and over 10,000 unassisted outlets - growing month-on-month.
With her 15+ years of diverse experience across sales and marketing and has worked on building iconic brands across retail, FMCG, and beauty sectors, Shivani Behl will be responsible for scaling growth across the levers of brand and marketing, partnerships, community culture and engagement, and product innovation.
She said, “It is an interesting juncture for D2C Beauty brands and Plum in particular. I am excited to take this opportunity to architect a brand-first approach to drive exponential growth at Plum. I believe Plum’s potential is unlimited, and look forward to working with the entire Plum team to build and accelerate the brand’s momentum in the months and years to come.”
Further, the finance division of the company gets strengthened with the joining of Gaurav Sarda, who has a rich experience of more than 14 years and he will work closely with the rest of the senior leadership team to drive and grow the company’s financial and development strategy.
Gaurav Sarda commented, “The path ahead is an exciting one. As the company continues to scale, I look forward to leveraging my background to implement the next phase of operational excellence and further strengthen the strong financial foundation, aligning it to the rapid growth and enabling overall business excellence.”
D2C feminine hygiene and intimate skincare brand Sanfe has raised a fresh Series A funding of US$ 1 million. This fresh infusion comes from the likes of LetsVenture, Ajay Garg, Tarun Sharma, Arjun Vaidya, Dhimant Parekh among other D2C founders.
Sanfe’s online business has grown by 55 percent in the current quarter and the brand has achieved over 210 percent growth annually. With impressive growth in the last 2 years, Sanfe is geared up for a higher momentum over the next few years and is planning to expand to new markets while also introducing new product lines.
Last year, Sanfe had raised US$ 1 million in pre-Series A round from Shankar Naryanan, Rohit Chanana, and Titan Capital, among others.
Harry Sehrawat, Co-Founder, Sanfe, said, “Our investors have helped us immensely to make our vision a reality with their guidance and deep involvement. It has helped us ensure that we stay true to our mission of being a voice and choice for women’s intimate wellness and hygiene. This year, we are going to scale up the business, build up a strong portfolio of products with new categories, to focus on customer experience, and problem-solving. Thus, it will create a better world for women.”
Founded by IIT-Delhi graduates Archit Aggarwal and Harry Sehrawat, Sanfe plans to utilize the capital in marketing and customer-centricity. The D2C brand is also looking at associations and collaborations in order to increase the brand presence and recall among the target audience. It had recently onboarded Radhika Apte as its brand ambassador.
Sanfe’s portfolio has a wide range of products which includes categories like intimate skincare, body grooming, and period care.
The products are available online, on Sanfe’s website and leading e-commerce platforms including Nykaa, Amazon, Myntra, Snapdeal, Flipkart, and others.
Ayurveda beauty tech brand Vedix announced its entry into oral hygiene with the launch of oil pulling oils. The range which consists of 3 SKUs is customized for Vedix customers depending on age and dosha profile.
Kapha is dominant in the young age, Pitta in the middle, and Vata is dominant in old age. Teeth health thus requires different dosha balancing herbs for the maintenance of good health.
Oil pulling has been practiced in India for ages. Charak Samhita mentions “brushing twice daily with a twig is as important as mouth rinsing.” Different formulations, oils, herbs, and decoctions have been enlisted in Ayurvedic texts for achieving your ultimate oral care health goals. Current research on oil pulling confirms the therapeutic effect of this practice.
Oil pulling is a part of Ayurvedic Dinacharya - a daily routine. Ayurveda recommends doing Gandusha/ Kavala (oil pulling) daily before or after brushing. Oil pulling dissolves plaque more effectively than water-based mouthwash.
Jatin Gujrati, Business Head, Vedix, says, “Vedix is taking bold steps by launching this new category which is currently dominated by legacy brands. Our offering comes with a customized layer as Ayurveda teaches us. We have perfected blends of herbal extracts, essential oils, and cold-pressed base oils to deliver maximum efficacy in maintaining optimum oral health. We are on a mission to bring 5,000 years old Ayurveda benefits to the masses.”
Oils nurture a healthy biome. On regular use, it strikes a healthy balance of good vs. bad bacteria in the mouth. It detoxifies the saliva and maintains a healthy oral pH. Gum health improves, as reduced plaque results in lesser tartar (solidified plaque). Increased oral pH protects the enamel and reduces sensitivity. A healthier oral cavity also means lesser throat and nasal infections.
These oils incorporate bark extracts to yield the benefit of using herbal twigs. Sesame oil has teeth strengthening effect, according to Ayurveda. Vedix oil pulling oils have a combination of sesame and coconut oil, which makes them palatable and very effective. The range of oil pulling oils is available on leading marketplaces Amazon, Flipkart, Purplle. Priced at Rs 799 for a 30-day regimen. A mix of essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, tulsi, clove, cinnamon, etc. are chosen, each for its specific oral benefit.
As per the Ministry of Ayush, “Oil pulling (gandusha) has been used to prevent decay, oral odor, gum bleeding, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening the teeth, gums and the jaw. It is a simple daily regimen, which when done routinely, enhances the senses, brings about a feeling of freshness, and maintains clarity in the voice.”
Gandusha can help in dealing with migraines, inflammation of the throat along with impure skin, fatigue, and dullness.
Leading B2B Healthtech platform Medikabazaar announced that it has successfully raised US $75 million Series C investment led by CREAEGIS, along with CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution and existing investors.
Existing investors who participated in Series C round include Belgium-based Ackermans & van Haaren (AvH), HealthQuad Advisors Private Limited, Japan-based Rebright Partners, Continental Europe-based Kois Holdings, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.
The current investment is the highest ever funding in the B2B Healthtech space, and the funds will be utilized to strengthen Medikabazaar’s digital capabilities, deepen the supply ecosystem & technology-driven distribution channels, and bolster capacity to provide a wider range of leading-edge quality medical supplies across diverse geographical regions. This will also help Medikabazaar to augment its international operations especially across MENA and South East Asia markets.
In India’s extremely fragmented healthcare sector - supply chain, capacity constraints, and absence of transparent pricing act as chronic stress factors for the more than 100,000 healthcare service providers. These challenges impact small and medium hospitals and nursing homes that lack access to the required catalogue and timely availability of quality healthcare supplies.
The investment will enable Medikabazaar to further streamline the entire medical supply chain in India, resulting in improved availability of a wide assortment of medical supplies, transparent pricing, and ensure lower procurement costs for small healthcare providers serving local communities. Currently, about 50% of Medikabazaar’s sales are to smaller hospitals and nursing homes, and around 60% of its customers live outside large metro cities.
Vivek Tiwari, Founder & CEO, Medikabazaar, said, "We are delighted to welcome CREAEGIS and the CDC Group on board as investors. We are impressed by the digital transformation track record of Creaegis and look forward to creating a technology-driven platform serving the healthcare ecosystem. The Series C funding has also seen our existing investors extending their trust in us as we continue on our rapid growth path in transforming the state of the Health-Infra industry in India. The funds raised will enable us to enhance our international operations and deepen our presence in the Indian B2B health tech industry."
"Ever since the pandemic, the need for healthcare infrastructure services has grown exponentially. The last fiscal has seen a remarkable rise in our operations. With over 100,000 medical establishments, over 150,000 independent medical professionals, and more than 15,000 seller partners already on board, we are aiming for a 300% growth through FY22,” he added.
Kapiva, a homegrown D2C brand empowering Indian consumers with modern, accessible, and everyday Ayurveda has onboarded Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija along with 30+ millennial influencers for the #StrengthenFromWithin campaign.
The digital campaign that focuses on everyday Ayurvedic juices is a step forward in Kapiva’s mission to free Ayurveda of its complexities and enable millenials to make it a part of their everyday life, live a holistic lifestyle.
The campaign comes at a time when consumers are pro-actively seeking wellness-based products and working towards improving holistic health. More and more consumers are looking for holistic and sustainable solutions and are adopting a wellness-based lifestyle. Highlighting the paramount importance of #StrengthenFromWithin, the campaign tapped into urban millennials. The campaign resonated with the audience and garnered over 20 million impressions.
Spread across 5 weeks, it roped in niche nano and micro-influencers from the health and wellness category. The campaign through multiple digital films created awareness amongst the new-age Indians on how to conveniently build wellness from within.
On the collaboration, Shrey Badhani, Co-Founder, Kapiva, said, “Ayurveda has always been an integral part of the Indian lifestyle. Our ancestors integrated Ayurveda into their day-to-day lives to live holistic and sustainable life. However, over time we witnessed that we’ve lost that touch with Ayurveda.
“So, to reinstate that and the significance of Ayurveda in our daily lives and create awareness among modern India on how it can be incorporated into fast-paced lives without drastic changes, we at Kapiva decided to bring accessible and convenient solutions for our consumers, and this campaign is an extension of that. Therefore, we collaborated with practitioners who share the same philosophy as us such as Pooja Makhija,” Shrey Badhani added.
Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija, said, “Most of the health problems concerning today’s youth can be prevented by following a balanced ayurvedic diet and lifestyle. In my practice as a certified nutritionist and a health and fitness practitioner, I like to strike a balance between traditional wisdom and modern science. Therefore, I am glad to join hands with Kapiva, a modern and accessible Ayurvedic brand that goes above and beyond to create products that can fit the lifestyle of young Indians, for my well-being and yours. I completely vouch for 5 Kapiva juices each of which has varied lifestyle benefits and can easily be included in your diet.”
EV Plugs, India's first EV Charging Station aggregator platform covering EV charging stations from brands like EESL, Tata Power, Statiq, Magenta, Ather, and many more, raised US $ 150,000 in a round led by family and friends.
EV Plugs will utilize the funds to expand EV charging network coverage in 150+ cities. In the next 2 years, the company is planning to expand its charging network to over 50,000 chargers in 200+ cities across India and other emerging markets and to power several million two and three-wheeler EVs.
Commenting on the funding, Manish Narang, Co-Founder, EV Plugs, said, “The goal we have set upon ourselves to become the largest aggregator in the EV charging infrastructure space in India. We have observed that the EV adoption in metros is catching up at a much faster rate and the demand for charging infrastructure is wide. The money raised will allow us to continue our aggressive geographical expansion besides investment in innovation to keep us ahead of the curve.”
Commenting on his investment, Manas Gupta, Independent Angel Investor, said, “Being an avid EV enthusiast myself, knows in the EV sector, more focus has begun on installing charging infrastructure. This will be the single most important factor, which drives the adoption of electric vehicles and a considerable shift towards green technology solutions.”
“The transition towards sustainable mobility is an unstoppable global trend and companies which can provide reliable, fast and cost-efficient electric charging infrastructure for all types of vehicles will make a huge impact. Independent studies have projected the demand for public EV charging stations at 2.9 million by 2030,” he added.
Leading app-based door-to-door fuel delivery start-up, The Fuel Delivery has launched its brand mascot. The mascot, named Diesel Dude, represents an expert, who is friendly, knowledgeable, supportive, and engaging. It is the go-to person for 24x7 doorstep delivery of fuel.
Diesel Dude will debut as a chatbot and call-support on the company website as well as in the ‘FAQ’ section, along with ‘Did you Know’ and ‘Facts & Myths’ series on social media. It will reply to customers' queries on fuel procurement and resolve their challenges related to fuel procurement, highlighted through social media and blogs, in real-time.
Rakshit Mathur, Founder & CEO, The Fuel Delivery, said, "We are thrilled to launch our uber-cool mascot, Diesel Dude. As the name suggests, Diesel Dude is a go-getter, friendly, lively, and entertaining solution that resonates with our brand philosophy of delivering quality products anytime, anywhere with utmost ease and safety. Diesel Dude is our endeavour to move a step ahead in customer service and stay connected with them in real-time as we try to scale up our presence across India."
The development comes amid The Fuel Delivery expanding its presence across India. The start-up is targeting to expand in key cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jammu, Lucknow, Pune, Chandigarh, etc., within the next 12 months.
Founded in 2020, The Fuel Delivery is presently operational in Delhi NCR and launched in Mumbai as well in 2021. The company had also announced the signing of an 'All India Business Agreement' with state-owned oil major Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL). The service level agreement allows The Fuel Delivery to offer doorstep delivery of diesel anywhere in India.
Customer places an order through the mobile or web app, while the fuel is delivered with customer details like name, mobile number, quantity, address and location, and time of delivery. All the company's browsers, compliant with the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) standards, will bring it to the set destination. The company leverages IoT (Internet of Things) for developing and deploying the mobile app. All the delivery vehicles are enabled with an IoT solution that allows real-time monitoring and tracking, seamless logistics management, and reduced order fulfillment time.
Home grown food brand Veeba has launched a new health food drink (HFD) brand for kids – Provee. Built on the feedback from young Indian mothers and with 21 essential nutrients at its core, Provee aims to offer wholesome nutrition to kids that support an active mind, better immunity and complete growth for growing children.
Provee’s formula includes plant-based protein and is made with jaggery and has no added maltodextrin, artificial flavours, and colours which are common ingredients in several available options in the market. With Provee, Veeba aims to bring the Indian superfoods to mainstream.
As per a market research report, the demand for high-protein, high-fibre, all-natural kids HFD is soaring since young mothers are concerned about adulterants and want wholesome and best nutrition for their children.
“Parents, especially mothers, today are uncompromising when it comes to the nutrition of their kids and rightly so. Our endeavour is to deliver the best nutrition product to the children of India. Provee is a step forward in that direction that empowers Indian mothers with an innovative solution. I feel blessed to be born in a country that has an abundance of natural superfoods to offer. As proud Indians, we felt it was necessary to bring our rich heritage to the fore, we have built the product bringing the goodness of Indian superfoods to the mainstream, with feedback from mothers and backed by science,” said Viraj Bahl, Founder, Veeba.
With starting price of Rs 109, Provee is available in 2 variants – Choco Malt (200g & 500g), Ragi Badam (200g) and is available across Delhi/NCR, Kolkata and Karnataka.
Veeba has earlier made a lot of strides in the ‘better-for-you’ market with its latest product offerings and innovations like ‘Earthmade Organix’. It is one of the very few brands to offer a ‘certified’ range of organic hummus.
Bengaluru-based digital pet care start-up Supertails has raised Rs 5.75 crore in venture debt funding from Alteria Capital.
Started by former Licious executives Vineet Khanna, Varun Sadana, and Aman Tekriwal this year, Supertails is a first-of-its-kind platform that supports the ever-increasing pet parent community by providing trustworthy veterinary care and a one-stop solution for pet food and supplies. It is a fully digital tele-health consultation service made available by a team of highly experienced in-house veterinarians, and also offers doorstep delivery of pet supplies across the country.
Supertails launched its platform in June this year and raised US $ 2.6 million in pre-Series A round led by Saama Capital and DSG Consumer Partners. Other investors included global Indian icon Deepika Padukone, Titan Capital, Sauce VC, and Whiteboard Capital. It is also backed by high-profile individual investors including Tej Kapoor, Pankaj Naik (Executive Director, Avendus Capital), Abhay Hanjura, and Vivek Gupta (Founders, Licious). They are also gearing up to launch behavior training for dogs. This will be the first-ever digital behavior counseling and training for pets in India, said the company in a statement.
Varun Sadana, Co-founder, Supertails, said, “The response we have received over the last few months has been very encouraging. The pet parent community in India is enthusiastic and keenly available, which motivates us every day to work on services that support them through the beautiful journey of raising pets. Within a month’s time, the brand has seen tremendous growth and we have completed over 2,000 vet consultations and product orders. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by young parents who want to learn and grow with their pets. We’re looking forward to doing much more for them."
The company said that as it grows, Supertails plans to support pet parents as they navigate all aspects of pet parenthood, including the decision of bringing home a pet, training and hygiene consultation, raising a healthy and fit companion, and fulfilling all primary needs for the pet.
Ankit Agarwal, Partner, Alteria Capital, said, “We’ve been following how Vineet, Varun, and Aman are building Supertails and have a strong belief in their vision. The pet care sector is on the cusp of a big breakthrough and we are excited to be part of this journey. We’re confident that the digital vet consultation platform of Supertails is going to revolutionize how medical care is given to pets along with much needed digital distribution of high-quality pet products."
Alt Co., a sustainable plant-based alternative brand, is all set to introduce a new nutriment in its portfolio of healthy meals, and include plant-based oat milk that will revolutionize patrons' diets for good.
The oat milk will be available across all online and offline mediums like Amazon, FoodHall, Nature’s Basket, etc. Prepared under high levels of hygiene without any compromises with the quality, this plant-based oat milk will aid in resolving the meal interruptions due to COVID and smoothen the creases on the diet front for people who aspire to eat healthy without causing any deliberate harm to the environment or animals.
Alt Co. has been considerate towards taking care of customers' nourishing meals and helping them live sustainably with zero trips to guilt-land. Founded in 2021 by Basan Patil, Rithwik Ramesh, Sumair Sachdev, and Rohit Kalro, the company is a result of their passion to offer cruelty-free meals and satiate the consumers' temptations the greenway. Alt Co. intends to cater to diverse palates without compromising their lifestyle and principles.
With an all-new category of oat milk and affordable pricing at Rs 299, the brand is enabling the foodies to savor healthy delights anytime at home. Alt Co. is also planning to launch new plant-based products like ice creams, yogurts, and others in the coming months.
Basan Patil, Co-founder, Alt Co., said, “Oat Milk has been growing at a much faster pace than other plant-based milks, and is soon to overtake Almond/Soy. Oat Milk is the fastest growing plant milk category, currently the 2nd most consumed plant-based milk in the US. We foresee the same trend in India.”
The soaring demand has led the plant-based healthy food sector to be one of the industries getting high traction while guaranteeing a long shelf life of milk. The brand is working relentlessly to serve its patrons with an extensive array of plant-based alternatives and further looks forward to satiating their temptations the greenway.
Rithwik Ramesh, Co-founder, Alt Co., maintained, “Oat has become a huge trend with millennials consuming oats for breakfast and a lot of people are switching to Coffee with Oat Milk, we also foresee that people will switch to using Oat Milk with their breakfast Oats."
India’s largest online marketplace for used automobiles, Cars24 Services has closed a US $ 450 million round of funding that has almost doubled its valuation to US $ 1.84 billion. The funding round includes a US $ 340 million Series F equity round, coupled with US $ 110 million debt from multiple financial institutions, the company confirmed.
The Series F equity round was led by DST Global, Falcon Edge, and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, along with participation from Tencent and existing investors Moore Strategic Ventures and Exor Seeds.
Cars24 aims to expand its global presence as well as further build its cars, bikes, and financing business in India, while continuing to invest in technology that delivers the best customer experience possible.
Vikram Chopra, Co-founder and CEO, CARS24, said, “Just last month, we celebrated our six successful years of operations and we are incredibly excited to share that CARS24 has officially closed its largest round of funding to date. Traditionally, car selling or buying have been a tiresome process, and only 2 of 100 people own cars in India. However, over the last six years, we have been working continuously towards fulfilling the dreams of many Indians to own a car by transforming the customer's journey- 'the CARS24 way' that is hassle-free, safe and transparent. With this investment, we will continue to penetrate into existing car, bikes and financing business in India while venturing into new overseas geographies this year.”
The online marketplace for used automobiles has already sold over 1000 cars in the UAE since the launch of its operations in April this year. CARS24 also officially announced its launch in Australia with a new campaign last week.
Rahul Mehta, Managing Partner, DST Global, said, “CARS24 is at the forefront of transforming the way consumers buy and sell cars by providing a unique end-to-end digital shopping and transaction experience. They have emerged as the undisputed leader in the used car space in India and early traction in international markets is exceeding expectations. We love backing founders who are bold and ambitious thinkers and couldn’t be more excited to enter the second innings of our long-lasting partnership with CARS24.”
Founded in 2015, CARS24 aims to transform the way consumers buy and sell cars by leveraging technology at every leg of the consumer journey to solve genuine pain points and deliver a seamless experience.
Cars24 has been built around a “buying-in, fixing up, and then reselling”. This model gives Cars24 an edge over some of the shortcomings that exist with traditional players.
The brand claims to have close to 90 percent of the online used car segment and has registered more than 13 million monthly traffic and over 4 lakh transactions until now.
US-based social shopping marketplace Poshmark has announced the launch of its social commerce marketplace in the Indian market. The brand specializes in second-hand clothing for women, men, kids, pets, and homes, among others, and aims to capitalize on Indian consumers’ growing acceptance of online and social commerce.
The Nasdaq-listed company has a community of more than 80 million registered users across the US, Canada, and Australia.
“India is our first market in Asia and we are excited about multiple reasons...India is culturally vibrant and I really believe that what Poshmark brings in terms of a social shopping experience and as a marketplace, it's the perfect match...the experience is extremely transparent," Anuradha Balasubramanian, India General Manager, Poshmark said.
Sellers can list products priced at Rs 500 and above, and the platform charges a commission from the seller on the sale transaction. Balasubramanian also highlighted that Indian community members will benefit from Poshmark's buyer protection and authentication services and PoshPost, Poshmark's simple and easy shipping service.
"We're here for the long haul. We've been in India, we have an office, which is based out of India for about 10 years now (in Chennai), which takes care of other markets with services, it's an R&D center," she added.
Manish Chandra, Founder, and CEO, Poshmark, said, “We go through different phases as we are entering geo, the first phase for us right now is very much building out our community, create that foundation...so we expect as we go forward, it starts to really scale and add, over time, meaningful contribution both to growth and then after that to the profitability of the business. So, the focus right now is on investing, getting the community built, and getting that core seller and shopper community that will help drive growth for years to come.”
Poshmark has 80 million users worldwide and the company did a volume of transactions of US$ 1.8 billion run rate at the end of Q2 in the business.
Earth Rhythm – a smart, conscience and clinically effective skincare and wellness brand has appointed Arun Kumar as Co-founder.
Till recently, he was the Country Manager of Dynata – a US-based global online market research firm where he spearheaded the India operations and was instrumental in developing the business and team.
Since joining and taking over the team in 2013, Dynata’s revenues more than tripled, and as did his team size. He was also a part of the APAC management team and was involved in contributing to the regional initiatives that needed his expertise.
At Earth Rhythm, he will be closely working with Harini (Founder & CEO) to drive the vision and accelerate the overall growth, focussing mainly on the D2C business. His responsibilities will involve strategic planning, GTM strategy, budgeting, marketing, and sales along with leading and mentoring teams.
Arun Kumar, Co-Founder, said, “I’m excited to join Earth Rhythm, a new age digital brand that stands for inclusion, efficacy, and sustainability. Thankfully, I have seen the seeds for this brand sown right from my home, and having seen this brand evolve over the years, It’s a very exciting time to join ER and contribute towards the next phase of its journey.”
He has almost two decades of corporate experience in ensuring business success through the application of strategic initiatives with a fortified track record of building high-energy teams. His experience spans business development, P&L management, strategy, and client engagement in the realms of research and consulting.
Welcoming Arun to the team, Harini Sivakumar, Founder & CEO, Earth Rhythm said, “We are excited to have Arun as part of our growth journey. He is a thought-leader and specialist in business administration and has a proven track record in growing organizations, improving operations, and delivering stellar returns to stakeholders. We will benefit from his experience, insights, and knowledge as we look forward to the next phase of growth.”
Onesto Labs, the parent company of Bare Anatomy and Chemist at Play, has raised $2.5 million in a Pre Series A funding led by 72 Ventures along with Sanjay Nayar’s family trust.
Sanjay Nayar is the husband of Falguni Nayar, Founder, Nykaa, and is also the present Chairman of KKR India.
Existing investors Sauce VC and Arihant Patni of Patni Family Office also participated in the fundraising, as did angel investors Ramakant Sharma (Livspace founder), Suhail Sameer (BharatPe CEO), and Rajeev Chitrabhanu (Magnetic founder).
“This investment will help us double down on R&D activities and expand our manufacturing and distribution capabilities,” said Rohit Chawla, Chief Executive Officer, Onesto Labs.
Founded in 2018 by Rohit Chawla, Sifat Khurana, and Vimal Bhola, Onesto’s brands Bare Anatomy and Chemist at Play sell personal care products on their own websites and e-tail platforms like Amazon India and Nykaa.
The company’s business has quintupled since the beginning of the pandemic and it is now targeting annual recurring revenue of Rs 60 crore in the next 18 months from 12 crore at present.
Gobbly, pioneers of automated retail in apartments through self-checkout stores, has raised Pre Series A funding worth Rs 7.2 crore, led by Anicut Angel Fund and Sauce.VC.
Agility Ventures and other notable angels like Kunal Shah (Cred), Anupam Mittal (People Group), Jitendra Bhandari (Nic Naturals), Sameer Chugh (Mosambee), and Mihir Agarwal (Ex PE professional and Entrepreneur) also participated in the round.
The firm will use the funds to give a fillip to its vision of making buying a safer experience for people in a post-Covid world.
The fresh funds will be focused on strengthening the company’s position as one of the fastest-growing retail tech start-ups in India. It will further allow the company to use the capital for technology, business development, product innovation and development, and expansion.
Founded by Amit Ahuja and Ankur Aggarwal, who are veterans in the on-site, on-demand retail space, Gobbly is a contactless retail store filled with farm-fresh fruits and veggies, and dairy products placed in societies. The duo realized that a 24x7, unmanned, and completely digital form of retail is the way to scale, powered by captive spaces such as residential and gated communities.
Leveraging data to optimize the supply chain, Gobbly has built-in features for easy scaling, as well as a legacy of multiple tech innovations that have led to huge cost reduction.
Amit Ahuja, Co-founder, Gobbly, said, “We are combining the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of real-world retail. Marry that to our strategy of maximizing captive spaces on the back of our indigenously developed tech stack and we get an unfair edge over our competition while catering to a huge commerce opportunity in apartments.”
Ankur Agarwal, Co-founder, Gobbly, added, “With this funding, we are now excited to tap the retail opportunity present inside residential apartments. These places are a hub of tech-savvy millennials with high purchasing power creating social communities in their own right, providing a perfect platform for Gobbly.”
With a rapidly-growing urban audience looking at newer and easier ways to buy what they need, without intrusions into their fast life, Gobbly has entered the market at the right time, doing the right thing and now, backed by the right set of partners.
Setu, a nutrition company that uses industry-leading science to solve real-life problems, is establishing a long-term relationship with Velocity, beginning with a credit line to build its inventory and ramp up digital marketing efforts. Velocity offers non-dilutive, collateral-free growth capital of up to Rs 2 crore.
“We are committed to building the rapidly growing dietary supplements and plant-based nutrition space in India through our cutting edge, R&D backed formulations and round-the-clock personalized coaching support. Through unique formats such as oral dissolve strips, gummies, powders, and liquid capsules, Setu is able to offer high bioavailability products that are fun to use! It is our aspiration to become the brand of choice for young Indians looking for help in their wellness journey. To work with Velocity on this journey is a pleasure. It is exciting for startups such as ours with strong unit economics to be able to work with non-dilutive funding options,” said Nihaal Mariwala, Founder & CEO, Setu India.
Speaking about the round of financing, Abhiroop Medhekar, Co-founder & CEO of Velocity, says, "Setu.in is a digitally native brand with impressive RoAS and strong unit economics. The pandemic stirred a sense of health consciousness among people which increased the demand for nutritional supplements like Setu. We are excited to see the growth they plan to achieve with this round of financing."
Velocity.in, a Bengaluru-based fintech, is India’s largest revenue-based financier. The company commenced operations in early 2020 and has since worked with over 500 e-commerce businesses.
Founded in September 2017, Setu is a direct-to-consumer brand that combines science-backed plant-based nutrition with personalization and coaching support to shape lifestyle choices optimized for the digital age.
GoKwik, an e-commerce enablement company on a mission to democratize the shopping experience and increase GMV realization for e-commerce businesses, raised Rs 40 crore ($5.5 million) in Pre Series A round led by Matrix Partners India. This round also saw the participation of global investor RTP Global.
Marquee Angel investors and serial entrepreneurs like Jitendra Gupta - Founder & CEO of Jupiter, Nitin Gupta – Co-founder of Uni, Utsav Somani - Partner at AngelList India, Amit Lakhotia - Founder at Park+, Pradeep Parameswaran - President, Mobility, the Asia Pacific at Uber, Manish Vij - Co-Founder of Smile Group, Asish Mohapatra - Co-Founder & CEO of OfBusiness, Arjun Vaidya - Ventures Lead, India at Verlinvest, Ramakant Sharma - Founder, LivSpace, Siddharth Puri - Co-Founder & CEO, Tyroo, Umang Kumar - Co-Founder, CarDekho, Anupam Mittal - Founder & CEO, Shaadi.com and other leading industry figures have also participated in the round.
GoKwik believes in a ‘merchant-first’ philosophy and uses AI/ ML technologies to solve hard-hitting problems like Return to Origin (RTO) to solve and better cash on delivery (CoD) conversion rates for e-commerce players including D2C brands. GoKwik's checkout and UPI solutions help improve checkout conversion rates ensuring higher GMV realization, increased profitability, reduced customer acquisition cost (CAC), and increased delivery rates.
On the fundraising, Chirag Taneja, Co-founder & CEO, GoKwik said, “E-commerce enablement players will play a pivotal role in fuelling the burgeoning Indian e-retail market which is projected to touch $120 billion in next 4-5 years. GoKwik is poised to redraft the traditional playbook by offering personalized solutions to improve overall conversion rates, help register higher GMV with increased RoI and provide protection against risks such as RTO to e-commerce and D2C brands. We are very delighted to partner with all our new investors as they bring in a wealth of experience that will help us create a robust enablement ecosystem.”
75+ brands including digitally native brands, traditional players and marketplaces have put their trust in GoKwik leading to a million-plus monthly transactions, almost doubling every month. Many leading D2C brands like boAt, Mamaearth, The Man Company, Heads Up For Tails, The Moms Co., OZiva, TCNS Clothing Co. (W, Aurelia and Wishful), LimeRoad, ManMatters, Neemans, The Whole Truth, The Souled Store, EyeMyEye and more are already leveraging GoKwik’s solutions to empower their online businesses to deliver a best-in-class experience to their customers.
On leveraging the platform, Varun Alagh, Co-founder of MamaEarth, said, “Conversion rates across the funnel and RTO are major pain points for any e-commerce business in India, and GoKwik is focusing on solving exactly these problems. With a razor-sharp focus on propelling D2C businesses, the GoKwik team shows a lot of promise with its advanced AI capability and a deep understanding of the e-commerce space.”
The new investment will primarily be used for scaling up and establishing a footprint in MENA and SEA regions and hiring talent across tech, data, and product engineering. Also, the platform is going to invest heavily in building many industry-first tech and data solutions to optimize the conversion funnel for online brands.
“India is seeing a surge of direct-to-customer brands and the share of non-marketplace, digital transactions for traditional as well as new-age brands is increasing rapidly. Some of this is driven by Covid-19 but the trend is secular. This will create opportunities for companies such as GoKwik, to offer unique to India solutions that help merchants to sell more effectively online. Globally the e-commerce enablement and especially the one-click checkout space is seeing significant interest with multiple large companies emerging over the last 18 months. We believe that the same will be true in India as well and we’re thrilled to be partnering with GoKwik on this journey of democratizing the e-commerce shopping experience,” commented Rajat Agarwal, Managing Director, Matrix India.
Galina Chifina, Partner at RTP Global, added: “The e-commerce industry is rapidly expanding across the globe and enablement tools such as those provided by GoKwik must grow and thrive at the same pace. Given the recent spate of funding announcements in D2C brands, GoGwik will prove pivotal in the Indian growth story - but also for e-commerce clients of its own across the globe, as it expands internationally. We are delighted to be on board and supporting the team with their growth.”
Founded in the post-pandemic era, GoKwik is the brainchild of Chirag Taneja (CEO) and includes Vivek Bajpai (CTO), and Ankush Talwar (Chief Data Scientist) as part of the founding team.
Pharma company Brinton launched the wellness and personal care brand Höhner Health.
Höhner Health offers a wide range of products in nutritional supplements, baby skincare, and personal care category. Brinton plans to make Höhner a global brand, where India's launch will be followed by the USA, UK, Europe, and south-east Asian Market along with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and more. Höhner being a D2C brand, will give direct access to its range to the new age consumer all across.
Höhner, which means balance, aims to bring in the perfect balance of nature and science to its consumers. Made with care all products are of the finest quality natural extracts, vitamins, minerals and are manufactured in world-class production facilities certified with US FDA, UKMHRA, WHO-GMP, and others, thereby delivering pure and premium quality products that are natural and chemical-free.
Rahul Darda, CMD, Brinton Pharmaceuticals shares, “The new age individual has lost the balance between work and recreation which has taken a huge toll on their health and immunity. We want to aid them to take care of their health while still being able to cope up with the demands of a hectic lifestyle. With Höhner, they will be able to bring back the lost balance of health and feel revitalized in all forms. We aspire to be their constant companion by providing a one-stop solution to maintain a healthy lifestyle. All Höhner products are carefully formulated with a perfect balance of nature and science, and goes through stringent quality processes and checks, guaranteeing safety, purity, and efficacy.”
The company also plans to keep high-quality products accessible and affordable to many. In all, Höhner aims to meet the needs of the modern lifestyle of its new-age consumers.
Expanding its retail presence in tier-II cities, WoodenStreet announced the launch of its first store in Sector-17, the shopping hub of Chandigarh. The brand had recently opened its first store in Lucknow.
WoodenStreet aims to invest Rs 2-3 crore in the newly opened experience store, with an aim to create the most influential omnichannel network.
The D2C furniture start-up initiated its journey in the tier-II and tier-III cities with a vision to explore the potential of the markets, and so far, the results have been remarkable. All the 20+ cities it has covered till now, including Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Indore, etc. are performing greatly while offering the luxurious and cutting edge range of furniture to consumers in these cities, and the same is anticipated from the Chandigarh store.
The brand has planned to inaugurate a tech-enabled, one-of-a-kind experience center, spread across 3,000 sq.ft., which will enable customers to experience a delicately crafted range of solid wood products and a mesmerizing upholstery area, all under one roof.
Lokendra Ranawat, CEO, WoodenStreet, said, “WoodenStreet has always thrived to bring quality goods to the reach of a common man, and with this aggressive expansion, we will surely reach homes of all those who look for smooth finishes and elegance in their furniture. Looking at the high demand in online orders, we have extended our products to the city at offline level, and I am sure that this experience store will strengthen the brand value to its core in the region.”
With 35+ stores spread across the country, an astounding online product portfolio, and over 10,00,000+ happy consumers, WoodenStreet is on its way to becoming the largest omnichannel network, marking its presence all over the map.
D2C Alcoholic beverages start-up or rather urban lifestyle brand Salud Beverages has raised funding worth US$ 1.1 million, as of March 2021. The VC fund, comprising actors and HNIs includes serial entrepreneur and leading actor Rana Daggubati, and former managing director of Microsoft India, Srinivas Koppolu, among others backed by Prasad Vanga’s Anthill Ventures.
The fund was primarily used to establish a formidable retail presence with flagship brand Salud G&T 2.0, a bottled gin and tonic cocktail, as well as to build a diverse product portfolio. This resulted in G&T 2.0 being available in over 500 retail outlets, with 2,50,000 bottles sold and a consumer base that is growing every passing day.
After successfully launching the brand in Karnataka, bringing out the country's first RTD gin and tonic in a bottle, Salud followed it up by introducing Salud Merch and Salud Sessions. Salud Merch offers an exclusive range of fashion and lifestyle merchandise and accessories. Salud Sessions, the music label, collaborates with leading DJs from around the country creating compilation volumes of electronic beats, accompanied by music videos.
Sharing his views on Salud’s journey so far, Ajay Shetty, Founder & Director, Salud Beverages, said, "We are a focussed brand striving to put India on the global map, alongside the best countries in the world, with some of the finest spirits including bottled cocktails, craft spirits, non-alcoholic beverages and more. And not to stop there, but continue to innovate with products and experiences that will lead to a loyal consumer base, on the way to our big-picture goal of becoming an aspirational global lifestyle brand."
Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails are fast becoming the drink of choice – from millennials to connoisseurs alike.
Salud G&T 2.0 is currently available in three refreshing flavors - Original, Cucumber, and Lavender, all of which are distilled in Goa. These bottled cocktails are made of English Juniper, botanicals sourced from Europe, and the finest Indian tonic, giving consumers a premium quality experience with affordable pricing.
Going forward, the D2C brand will expand its footprint into other markets such as Goa and Odisha and additional domestic markets. It will also be adding new flavors to the G&T 2.0 range, as well as expanding with new offerings in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage segments. It expects to triple its current sales by the end of FY 2021-22. Entering international markets in the Middle East and Europe is also a part of the long-term strategic plan that the brand is planning to materialize by the end of the year.
Leading homegrown personal hygiene company Soothe Healthcare completed an investment round worth Rs 100 crore in an extended Series C round led by Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), Northern Arc & KKR backed Incred.
With this additional round, the company’s total funding stands at a rewarding Rs 230 crore, including a recent Rs 130 crore Series-C funding from leading PE fund A91 Partners. The latest transaction includes a secondary with Sixth Sense Ventures selling a partial stake to GII.
Soothe Healthcare will utilize the funds to aggressively fuel its growth plans including expansion of manufacturing capabilities, investment in best-in-class machinery to accelerate contribution to the Make in India initiative, as well as investments in marketing and distribution.
Soothe Healthcare’s portfolio of innovative and disruptive feminine hygiene products - including its flagship brand Paree sanitary pads and recently launched baby diapers Super Cute’s - has grown over 2X in the last 12 months despite the current pandemic. It has established itself as an omnichannel company leveraging both offline and D2C, modern trade, hypermarket stores, and an online presence.
Mohammed Alhassan and Pankaj Gupta, Co-CEOs, GII, jointly commented, “We are excited to invest in a homegrown champion and category leader such as Soothe and work alongside Sahil Dharia and his team to increase the accessibility of feminine and disposable hygiene products across India. As a socially conscious investor, GII recognizes the underpenetrated personal hygiene market in India; a country with one of the world’s highest women and infant populations in the world, many of whom lag behind their global peers in the usage and adoption of personal and disposable hygiene products. Through the ‘Made in India’ initiative, Soothe has achieved advantageous brand positioning of its flagship feminine hygiene offering ‘Paree’ which is set to score multi-fold growth in the coming years.”
Sahil Dharia, Founder & CEO, Soothe Healthcare, said, “We are focussed, aggressive and passionate in becoming a trusted personal hygiene brand and a leading player in the hygiene industry. The series of back-to-back funding will fuel our vision to bring research-based, quality personal hygiene products that positively impact the lives of our community. We are looking at expanding our in-house manufacturing facilities using the best-in-class machines. We will also use the funds for marketing and distribution purposes, scaling production, and launching innovative new products.”
The brand positions itself as a homegrown domestic leader in the feminine care category, using advanced technology and in-depth research to develop products that cater to its consumer’s needs.
Homegrown femtech start-up Elda Health, a one-stop holistic health platform for the mid-age urban woman, announced that it has raised US$ 1.5 million in a seed round from Avaana Capital, Orios Ventures, and Ananth Narayanan Family office. This amount will enable the Bengaluru-based brand to scale up its offerings, operations, hire new talent, onboard health & wellness professionals and doctors to expand its circle of expertise.
The founders, Swathi Kulkarni, Sindhuri Ananth, and Shubham Sharma, share a collective passion to scale healthcare access.
Elda serves as an everyday companion for midlife women on their healthcare journey, empowering them with measurable health outcomes. Through a dynamic dashboard, Elda helps users track the entire spectrum from symptoms to activities, and via a comprehensive reporting mechanism map progress made on health goals. Leveraging its panel of experts, Elda offers customized health pathways that include personalized consultations with medical experts, and curated information to help build awareness around critical physical and mental health concerns.
Swathi Kulkarni, Co-Founder & CEO, Elda Health, said, “Women's health has been underserved for generations. While puberty and pregnancy are celebrated and tended to, pivotal phases of women's lives such as Menopause (that last 10 - 30 years) are completely ignored. With Elda we strive to change that. Elda's community of 35+ y/o women is a safe space for their wellness conversations, counseling, and curated health programs. We’re thrilled to have found a set of partners whose ideals align with ours. Their backing and experience will accelerate our efforts to ensure the prioritization of women’s health.”
“Women's health is fragmented. At Elda, we aim to bridge this gap in healthcare access & awareness by creating a holistic health platform bringing in multi-specialty medical specialists and coaches to understand and cure women's health issues intimately. We are starting with midlife women’s healthcare, as that remains the most unpenetrated, and plan to expand from there. With our investing partners on board, our conviction towards this mission is stronger than ever,” added Sindhuri Ananth, Co-Founder, Elda Health.
Elda’s mission finds its roots in the fact that for far too long, women’s health and their specific healthcare needs have been stigmatized. While some incredible strides have been made in normalizing conversations around puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy, menopause remains a systemically ignored conversation even in 2021.
Bengaluru-based advanced battery-tech and deep-tech start-up Log 9 Materials has announced an equity partnership and collaboration with Amara Raja Batteries (ARBL) which is a battery technology leader and one of India’s largest manufacturers of industrial and automotive batteries.
The funding is a part of the bold 'Energy & Mobility' strategy announced by the ARBL in June this year, in order to focus on entering into new green technologies and solutions. These initiatives will include expansion and investments that will help the company maintain technological and business leadership in the 'Energy & Mobility' space, apart from creating new growth avenues.
It will also boost the development of indigenous technologies in India’s nascent advanced battery sector for fast-emerging storage and mobility solutions.
With this investment that will further push the research and development work at ongoing projects of Log 9, ARBL is expected to be the primary partner for scaling up the manufacturing operations of Log 9's battery and fuel cell technologies
Log 9’s newly-developed rapid charging Battery Packs solve multiple challenges to expedite 2/3 wheeler EV adoption in India, whereas Log 9’s flagship Aluminum Fuel Cell technology is targeted towards long-haul electric mobility and as a zero-emission alternative to diesel generators.
“We are delighted to have ARBL as one of the anchor investors in the Series A+ funding round of Log 9. The partnership with ARBL will enable us to propel commercialization at the scale of our Rapid Charging Batteries, which in turn shall play a major role in the future in Log 9 eventually becoming the frontrunner and one of the largest Indian players in advanced cell chemistries. In the upcoming months of 2021, we at Log 9 are looking to take our breakthrough rapid charging battery-tech to end-users at scale; on the other hand, the development and advancements of our Aluminum Fuel Cells will also continue to happen in parallel -- including pilots and OEM-level vehicular integrations,” said Akshay Singhal, Founder & CEO, Log 9 Materials.
Vikramadithya Gourineni, Executive Director at ARBL, maintained, “This will mark the first in a series of interesting developments that we plan to execute in the future. In this fast-changing technology landscape, we do not believe in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and we are convinced that there will be the scope for the interplay of multiple technology solutions for various applications. We believe that Log 9 has made great progress in developing a range of technologies that will prove very promising in emerging mobility applications. I am confident that both entities can derive significant synergies resulting in mutual long-term benefits. This investment is in line with our Core purpose and our Values, The Amara Raja Way.”
Log 9 has also announced that it has secured funding from existing investors including Exfinity Ventures and Sequoia Capital India's Surge Programme, alongside a clutch of new investors, as a part of its Series A+ funding round.
The new investors have, along with the existing investors, invested around US$ 8.5 Million in the ongoing US $ 10-12 Million Series A+ round.
Soothe Healthcare, one of the leading homegrown personal hygiene products companies, has raised a Series-C round of funding of Rs 130 crore from A91 Partner Partners.
Soothe’s fast-growing feminine hygiene brand Paree has quickly established itself as a homegrown domestic leader in the feminine care category.
Soothe will direct the new capital raised towards marketing activities and deepening distribution channels to achieve its goal of establishing Paree as a household brand in India. By leveraging on its core competence in feminine hygiene with Paree and its extensive distribution network, Soothe also launched its baby diaper brand Super Cute’s which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from consumers.
Commenting on the funding, Sahil Dharia, Founder & CEO, Soothe Healthcare, said, "Paree is among a select few offline brands to achieve Rs 100 crore top line in 4 years since launch. We have stayed focused on offering a great product with a good value proposition to become a trusted personal hygiene brand across the country. With this investment from A91 we’re on a solid track to achieve our goal of a significant market share in the next few years.”
Soothe is a uniquely positioned omnichannel company leveraging both offline and D2C capability - deep distribution channels throughout India, modern trade, hypermarket stores, and an online presence.
According to Abhay Pandey, General Partner, A91 Partners, "Sahil has built Paree on a solid foundation of product and distribution focus. We believe that Paree will be among a few significant Indian brands in this underpenetrated segment. With complimentary products like diapers, we see Soothe becoming a major player in the personal hygiene business in the next 5 years.”
The brand Paree was launched in 2018 through offline FMCG distribution channels. The young company has raised several rounds of investments from leading foreign institutional and domestic investors including London-listed investment company, Symphony International Holdings Ltd. and Mumbai-based consumer fund, Sixth Sense Ventures amongst other backers.
The investment by A91 Partners included a secondary transaction with Sixth Sense Ventures. The secondary sale allowed for a successful exit for Sixth Sense Ventures’ first fund that had invested in Soothe. Sixth Sense continues to hold its investments from its second fund.
Regarding the transaction, Nikhil Vora, Founder, and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures said, “The journey of Soothe for Sixth Sense and me, personally, has been extremely gratifying. We were Soothe’s first investor and our belief in backing Sahil, the feminine hygiene space and the way the market has been addressed, has paid us rich dividends. In a category that is one of the most underpenetrated and yet completely duopolised, Paree has created its strong salience and indeed distribution. It’s rare to get into a category that has almost a 40-year lien on a consumer life cycle. We, at Sixth Sense continue to remain bullish on the absorbency category in India and Soothe in particular.”
Sunil Chandiramani, CEO of the Symphony Group said, “We congratulate Sahil and the Soothe team on this milestone and welcome A91 as a new partner. The fresh capital, together with the high quality of Soothe’s management, will ensure the continued successful growth of the business to make it a leading domestic champion.”
Mother Sparsh, which is amongst India’s fastest growing baby and mother care brands and en route to enter the Rs 100 crore club by FY '23, has appointed marketing stalwart Himanshu Chandel in its leadership fold.
In his new role as the Head of Marketing & Growth at Mother Sparsh, Chandel would spearhead the brand’s overall marketing and growth strategy along with analytics to focus on product innovation.
The announcement assumes significance as it comes amid the premium D2C baby and mother care brand registering a three times spike in its website sales in the past three months. The on-boarding of Chandel is aligned with the vision of the brand’s founders to achieve a landmark feat in the D2C space by clocking 10 times growth in the website sales.
“We intend to scale Mother Sparsh to be Rs 100 crore brand by FY '23, and alongside other prerequisites, we are committed to enhancing brand loyalty among the consumers. The key growth lever for us would be placing end consumers at the center of the overall strategy while we would strongly leverage retention marketing strategies along with an advanced mar-tech stack. The brand would continue to scale acquisitions with the right set of the marketing mix,” said Chandel.
Welcoming him to the brand fold, Himanshu Gandhi, Co-Founder, and CEO, Mother Sparsh asserted that the appointment of the marketing genius is also “in sync with the brand’s next growth chapter that majorly around building the world-class brand that thrives in a digital-first world.”
“Speed, precision, and timing will play a major role in our next phase of growth journey, as winning customer loyalty and improving customer lifetime value are sacrosanct for us,” he added.
Taking a step towards digitalization, Gaia, one of the leading health and wellness brands, has entered the direct-to-consumer (D2C) club in the consumer goods space and launched its e-commerce website.
The platform is offering customers a seamless user experience with features such as curated search, easy returns, shipment tracking, and hassle-free transaction with multiple payment options for all Gaia products.
Further, the company will provide free shipping across India and has tied up with third-party logistics providers for swift delivery. It has also promised delivery within 24 hours in some cities.
Through the website, the customers can shop all the goods in the company’s portfolio of 81+ products ranging between nutritional supplements and health food products, including the latest products such as Quinoa, Gaia A2 cow ghee, etc. The early birds on the website can avail themselves of value-adding discounts, membership discounts, and coupon codes.
Talking about the development, Dolly Kumar, Founder & Director at Cosmic Nutracos Solutions Pvt. Ltd., the parent company to Gaia said, “The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic followed by restrictions, lockdowns, and social distancing norms have changed consumer spending habits. It has pushed e-commerce sales to the forefront of retail and boosted online shopping. Gaia’s primary channel has been offline but the onset of the pandemic led to the company’s huge order inflow from online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart. We were receiving 500-600 orders a day on an average through these websites. Even though e-commerce contributes 5-7 percent share to the business, the company's sales from e-commerce rose by 80 percent.”
She added, “We realized that e-commerce is the need of the hour. Hence, Gaia is leveraging the trend by starting its own e-commerce website where consumers can directly purchase all their health food and nutritional supplements. Our aim is to establish credibility among customers and maintain brand loyalty. Hence, a platform that offers all our products in one place.”
The customers will benefit from the D2C platform rather than purchasing from other e-commerce portals due to the absence of an intermediary between business and consumer. The company’s weekly and monthly subscription packages for consumers have perks like the latest discounts, customized features, new buying offers and new launch offers along with notifications for all the upcoming products before anywhere else.
Launched in 2009, Gaia has managed to build a pan India presence in over 25,000 retail outlets, over 500 modern trade outlets, and e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, etc. While offline remains its strength, it will be pushing its D2C platform to get 20 percent of the e-commerce sales.
Bombay Shaving Company is one of the fastest-growing grooming brands in India with premium hair removal solutions for men and women. The brand has announced its association with R Ashwin as its ambassador. He just became the top wicket-taker in WTC 2019-21, and is one of the most admired, trusted, and loved cricketers in the world.
The brand has launched an omnichannel campaign ‘Shave to Shine’ featuring R Ashwin in a completely new avatar. The fresh and vibrant video captures Ashwin moving through different situations in his life, and in every instance, he is more confident, sharper, and brighter because he shaves. The amazing shaving foams and metal razor from Bombay Shaving Company help him shine, like a superstar.
Speaking on the association, R Ashwin shares, “I am delighted to support and co-create solutions with Bombay Shaving Company. Shantanu and the team have built an iconic brand that delivers an exemplary experience of grooming through the superior quality of their products. I have used all their hair removal solutions and find them to be thoughtful, consciously created, and specially crafted for Indian men’s skin. I spend a lot of my time on the field and need products that are gentle, effective, and high-quality. I have found that in Bombay Shaving Company. I am superbly excited with what the future holds for the brand, and wish them the best.”
With the festive season coming up in a few months, starting with Rakhi, the brand intends to capture the gifting market, with innovative shaving and gifting solutions like superfoods-powered shaving foams, fitkari aftershave gel, and a range of unique metal razors with precision feather blades. They have also launched their flagship silver metal razor in two exciting new colors and material changes – black oxidized metal with a water-repellent base and gunmetal with a soft finish for better grip. Both the razors are signed by R Ashwin, and are a collectible item for the shaving connoisseur.
The new range of shaving products and gifting solutions are available on the brand website, e-marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Cred, and across 25,000 retail outlets like Health & Glow, Metro, Reliance, Shoppers Stop, Apollo Pharmacy, and many more.
Licious, tech-powered full-stacked D2C fresh meat and seafood brand, announced Series F funding round of $192 million led by Singapore-headquartered investment company Temasek, and Multiples Private Equity.
Brunei Investment Agency also participated in the round. Existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India have also participated in this round of fundraising, reaffirming their faith in the category. With this round, a few early investors have exited from their investments.
The current round of fundraise puts Licious at the driver’s seat for being the highest funded company in this category. The company also recently announced its pledge to comply with the lofty global ESG standards, setting new benchmarks for sustainability and governance.
The funds raised through Series F will be deployed towards deeper investment in technology-led supply chain transformation, quality improvement, and customer experience elevation along with expanding presence in a greater number of Indian cities, powering the international expansion plan, augmenting capabilities in existing markets, strengthening the omnichannel presence and powering new product launches.
Avendus was the exclusive financial adviser to Licious for the transaction.
Commenting on the fresh round of fundraising, Vivek Gupta & Abhay Hanjura, Co-Founders, Licious, mentioned, “With every passing year, Licious has received overwhelming love and adoption across all cities of India. This is just the beginning of our pursuit of building an exemplary and iconic tech-led D2C brand. There is a massive opportunity to be unlocked in this large $40 billion sector which has hitherto been devoid of safety, innovation, quality, and sustainability standards. With rapidly increasing protein consumption being driven by a vast majority of Indian consumers, it was a matter of time before the larger global investor community partook in this ambitious and transformative journey. Temasek and Multiples have backed world-class entrepreneurs and businesses across the globe and in India. Their confidence in Licious heralds a watershed moment in the context of the category coming off age and occupying the front row in consumer businesses in the nation.”
“In the coming years we will bolster our presence through multi-geo and channel presence, unlocking true disruption for the industry through deployment of top-notch tech and supply chain practices & innovating the meat and seafood product roadmap in a way that India has never experienced before. We are thankful for the support we have received from our patrons, partners, and consumers. We are all set to continue celebrating the great Indian culinary heritage through more delectable products &unparalleled experience," they added.
"Abhay and Vivek have revolutionized the purchase of poultry, seafood, and meat in the country delighting customers with their promise of quality, freshness, and timely delivery. Their obsession with customers and quality gives them an eternal edge to create Licious as a category leader and as one of India’s most admired consumer brands. We are proud to be a partner in this journey,” said Sridhar Sankararaman, Managing Director, Multiples.
Currently, Licious is present in 14 Indian cities. This 3,500+ employee-strong company is touted as the fastest-growing consumer brand in India.
Kwik Foods, D2C, and social commerce brand, has secured an undisclosed fund in its seed round from 9Unicorns, India’s first idea-phase accelerator VC fund. The round has also seen participation from LetsVenture.
Prabhleen Kaur, Co-Founder of Kwik Foods, said, “We believe that a kitchen is a place of joy, and when cooking is stress-free, the food is always honest and delicious. Our range of product offerings consisting of fresh, healthy, and easy-to-cook, food items falls in line with this belief. We are delighted to secure the support of 9Unicorns. We will leverage the capital infusion to strengthen our product line and bolster our marketing operations.”
Founded by Prabhleen Kaur and Harshal Patel in 2020, Gurugram-based Kwik Foods is a D2C and social commerce brand that aims to disrupt India’s ready-to-cook space.
Abhijeet Pai, Partner at 9Unicorns, stated, “The post-lockdown economy has highlighted the value of home chefs within one’s vicinity that one can rely on for safety, security, and above all, the flavor and trust of healthy home-cooked meals and Kwik Foods is primed to meet this burgeoning demand and capture the lion’s share of India’s ready-to-cook market. We are confident in the founding team’s ability to steer their startup towards success. We wish them continued success.”
Sunitha Ramaswamy, President, Early Stage, LetsVenture, added, “With home food consumption on the rise, consumers tend to look for different meal options. While work from home continues, consumers are also looking for quick and hassle meals without spending too much prep time. Hence, the reliance on ready-to-eat food items is surely expected to gain momentum. We are happy to be part of the Kwik Food family, as they now look to propel the ready to eat segment.”
Wellbeing Nutrition, a whole food nutrition company that trusts plant-based ingredients to deliver wellness to individuals with fast-paced lives, has raised $2.2 million in a Series A round. The round has been led by Fireside Ventures and also seen participation from ACG, one of the world’s leading providers of integrated solutions for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
The funds will primarily be utilized to strengthen R&D and create the next generation of nutraceuticals which will rely on advanced nano Technology, delayed-release technology, and sustainability, to launch new products, acquire talent, and create better awareness and reach.
Kannan Sitaram, Venture Partner at Fireside Ventures will join the company’s board. Fireside is focused on investing in consumer start-ups and helping them become strong brands that people love. Its portfolio includes well-known new-age brands like boAt, Mamaearth, Vahdam, and Yogabar.
On the fundraising, Avnish Chhabria, Founder, Wellbeing Nutrition, stated, “Nutraceutical and dietary supplements space has witnessed unprecedented growth post the pandemic. We saw an increase in demand for our innovative and carefully designed research-driven products. As we enter the next phase of growth and innovation, we look forward to benefitting from Fireside and ACG’s pedigree, collective experience, and resources in helping us scale.”
Founded in 2019 by Avnish Chhabria, Wellbeing Nutrition was launched to provide organic, non-genetically modified vitamins and minerals that are not chemically synthesized. Wellbeing is a research-based wholefood nutrition company that uses plant-based ingredients to deliver wellness to individuals with fast-paced active lives. The products use research-driven formulations in innovative delivery formats that are proven to be more bioavailable, effective, and fast-acting compared to traditional formats like tablets and capsules.
Wellbeing, with a strong focus on research and clinical studies, has created a strong brand presence with customers wanting to choose organic and plant-based wellness alternatives to traditional lab-derived nutraceuticals. Wellbeing has grown 40 percent month-on-month with a strong retail presence across 600+ stores in India while also opening up a large export opportunity with sales to markets like UAE, UK, Germany, and USA. The brand is available on marketplaces including Amazon India and also has a strong D2C channel.
On the investment, Kannan Sitaram, Venture Partner at Fireside Ventures, said, “Healthy India is a big consumer theme and today's consumers want to invest in their everyday wellness. The nutritional supplements space is attracting a lot of interest from millennial consumers who are making considered choices on what they eat and how they look after their physical and mental health and we at Fireside believe that Avnish and his team at Wellbeing Nutrition are creating a brand that will be one of the leaders in this area. We value their focus on product innovation using high quality, organic ingredients which will drive rapid growth as consumers take their wellness into their own hands.”
MGB Advisors acted as exclusive advisors to Wellbeing Nutrition on the fundraising from Fireside and other investors.
In September 2020, Wellbeing Nutrition raised a $400k angel round.
Now, it is easier than ever to order your favorite Fortune products. Adani Wilmar Limited, which offers a range of edible oils and food products under the Fortune brand, has launched its own mobile application, Fortune Online, offering a one-stop solution to customers for their kitchen needs.
Angshu Mallick, CEO & MD, Adani Wilmar Limited, said, “The mobile app is another feather in Adani Wilmar’s hat, and reiterates our customer-oriented approach. The app has been launched at a time when more and more customers are preferring to buy groceries online, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out last year. The app allows customers to buy from the whole range of Fortune products, and get it safely delivered at their doorsteps at attractive prices.”
Fortune products will continue to be available on various e-commerce platforms, modern retail, and provision stores.
At present, customers in 17 towns including Ahmedabad, Gandhidham, Pune, Akola, Gurugram, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Noida, Panchkula, Mohali, Kanpur, Kolkata, Indore, Jodhpur, Raipur, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad can place orders for Fortune oils and its range of food & personal care products using the app, which is available on Android, iOS, and Website.
“We will be rolling out the app in other key markets in the coming days,” Mallick added.
In less than a month since the app was launched, it has been downloaded more than 11,000 times so far. The application has a convenient and user-friendly interface.
In addition to a range of edible oils, customers can also buy Rice, Soya Nuggets, Atta, Besan, Suji, Pulses, ready-to-cook Khichdi and Soya Chunkies, Sugar, and Maida, from the app. A range of soaps as well as recently launched handwash and sanitizer of Alife brand, which is another brand owned by Adani Wilmar, will also be available on the app.
Once the order is placed, the products are delivered with no delivery charges taken from the consumers. The deliveries are completed within 2-3 days.
Mallick further stated, “We have also adhered to all the safety parameters such as cashless transaction as the application includes multiple payment options, contactless delivery, and the delivery personnel follows all safety protocols too.”
O+O (Offline plus Online) describes how customers shop today. The customer journey almost always involves offline plus online. The traditional strategy of O2O (online to offline or offline to online) from the past generation drove customers from one channel to another; however, O+O is totally different. It is more about creating an integrated experience to better serve customers’ needs that enables them to shop across any channel, anytime, anywhere.
“Forget physical versus online. It's not either-or; O+O is the new standard for retail.” Malina Ngai, Group COO of A.S. Watson Group & CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe), explained how O+O becomes the new standard for retail and shapes the future.
“The motivation behind driving and delivering this new O+O standard is clear, there is no cannibalization in customers' spending in physical stores. In fact, O+O customer spends 3 times what instore-only customer shops with us. It's about creating a bigger share of wallet and higher customer lifetime value,” Ngai explained.
Customer Connectivity is the Centerpiece of O+O
With over 16,000 physical stores and 100 eCommerce platforms in 27 markets in Asia and Europe, physical and online stores are the perfect leverage for the A.S. Watson O+O model.
Ngai elaborated, “To be able to deliver O+O with excellence, it's a combination of our extensive physical store network as core touchpoints, our 140,000-strong customer service workforce, integrated with digital platforms, and most importantly, the customer connectivity with our base of 139 million loyalty members we’ve built over the past few years.”
“The new O+O standard is not about having physical stores and also an online store. It’s an ecosystem that is powered by technology, big data, and artificial intelligence. Just as important, it’s an organization cultural change when it comes to managing the business and prioritization.”
All of the group’s physical stores are connected to digital platforms, meaning the product offering is never limited by shelf space. In a few clicks, store teams can order products for delivery or pick-up by customers. Our loyalty members are also digitally connected with social media and digital platforms, so they can shop online not only on A.S. Watson’s mobile apps and websites, but also via WeChat, WhatsApp, and phone.
Technology-Enabled Shopping Experience
Ngai added, “Over the last 12 months, O+O has become more important than ever in terms of keeping customers engaged and ensuring a seamless retail experience. We doubled our development of digital assets and content to keep our customers engaged. We doubled our fulfillment capacities to cope with the surging demand through picking in stores, which enables us to deliver within hours which are what customers need.”
When it comes to the shopping experience, nearly all digital tools implemented are for O+O. “Customers of all generations are now increasingly mobile-savvy and digitally connected. The experience we developed focuses on using customers’ own mobile phone to align with customer habits.”
Retail is not Dead. It Just Needs to be Better
Ngai reinforced, “Converting more customers to O+O members will be our core growth strategy in 2021 and beyond. We will be laser-focused on customer lifestyle and their expectation on the shopping experience.”
“Physical stores will continue to play a significant role in creating our unique O+O experience. While some companies decide to disinvest in stores, we plan to open 1,000 new stores this year. Retail is not dead; it just needs to be better for our customers.”
Onelife Nutriscience Pvt Ltd partnered with Shoptimize to manage its end-to-end e-commerce solutions and online growth for its flagship brand Onelife, a premium preventive healthcare brand. The partnership will enable Onelife to implement a streamlined, data-driven approach to the D2C channel through Shoptimize’s end-to-end platform. The healthcare brand also received funding recently from Wipro Consumer Care-Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting.
In the wake of the pandemic, Indians are eager for solutions to boost their immunity and protect their health against Covid-19 and other viruses that may infiltrate the country. Social distancing norms in the wake of the pandemic necessitated a move to D2C e-commerce and also brought about a renewed interest in healthcare and immunity products. In this regard, Onelife offers tailored nutraceutical solutions that combine age-old wisdom with the latest advances in pharmaceutics to benefit people of every age. As Indians increasingly turn to their smartphones to cater to all their needs, it was a natural choice for the WIPRO-backed Onelife to move to a D2C e-commerce platform that brought them closer to their customers pan-India while offering the convenient shopping experience that buyers have come to expect.
Mangesh Panditrao, Co-Founder & CEO, Shoptimize, says, “India has a rich heritage of healing through nutritional choices and immunity-boosting medicine, and recent years have seen the millennial generation moving towards more preventive care and a health-conscious lifestyle to combat the ill-effects of pollution and stress. Also, the rise in disposable income across households has prompted Indians, particularly millennials, to invest in healthier food choices and better fitness regimes, and nutritional supplements are a big part of that. There is, thus, considerable scope for brands like Onelife to connect with customers online and assist them with choosing the right healthcare products for themselves, which is where a D2C e-commerce platform plays a critical role.”
“Last year was a turning point in the healthcare sector, and the use of digital technology in healthcare was brought to the forefront. However, there is still a growing disparity between the care seekers' needs and traditional healthcare services. We are here to bridge the gap by leveraging technology to develop locally relevant and innovative digital solutions for brands across sectors. Our technology includes pre-built integrations for a full ecosystem of payment gateways, shipping partners, POS systems, and more, as well as the ability to scale as the brand’s products, visitors, and transactions increase. We are thrilled to partner with Onelife and look forward to contributing to the brand’s success,” he further adds.
Gaurav Aggarwal, CEO & Founder, Onelife India, states, “We see a lot of potential in the D2C space, especially after witnessing how much e-commerce has grown since Covid-19. There was a clear need for an eCommerce partner that would grow with us and enable us to cater efficiently to health-conscious online shoppers, and Shoptimize seemed to be a good fit. We particularly appreciated how Shoptimize’s platform would enable us to foster a close, authentic connection with our target audience. Customers naturally want the best when it comes to healthcare products, and it’s essential for them to know us well so that they can trust our products as the best option for a healthy lifestyle. The Shoptimize partnership will help us foster that direct connection based on trust.”
Owing to the K-wave across the country, Korikart, India's one-stop online store for Korean products in India, has unveiled video commerce platform ‘Korikart TV Home Shopping’ and became the first e-commerce player to take e-shopping experience a notch up.
The move to promote TV shopping by Korean e-tailer, Korikart, is to strengthen its roots in India by being the first brand to not just sell products but also showcase its usage, USPs, making the shopping experience worthwhile. Every product they sell is demonstrated through detailed TV videos, making it extremely effortless for anyone to understand the tips and tricks of the products before adding them to their e-carts.
The intention to launch Korikart TV Home Shopping is to make life easier for everyone across the country. It will also help the label grow in smaller towns and cities where access to quality products and knowledge on how to use them is limited. Hence, this will make TV shopping a reliable, doubt-resolving, and value for money experience.
Seo Youngdoo, CEO & Founder, Korikart, said, “Indians have leaned towards Korean products for a while now and Korikart being a one-stop-shop for these products has a lot of unique items. Most of the products available on the website are used in our daily lives, but since the mechanism of most products is a little different, it sometimes makes the customer apprehensive to invest in and shop from the brand. Korikart TV Home Shopping, however, has videos to give the audience an experience clubbed with better awareness of the Korean products, opening doors for new shoppers too.”
TV shopping had already started gaining a lot of attention due to the pandemic hence the brand decided to amplify the Korikart TV Home Shopping game by officially launching it and working with the best team to bring alive videos that talk about the Korikart product range in detail.
Spinny, a full stack used car retailing platform in India, announces the closure of a $65 Mn Series C funding round from new and existing investors. The round was led by silicon valley based venture capital firm General Catalyst, early backers of Airbnb, Stripe, Snapchat, Vroom, Cazoo, etc. Other new investors in the round include Feroz Dewan’s Arena Holdings and Think Investments. In addition to these, the round saw participation from existing investors Elevation Capital (prev. SAIF Partners), the Fundamentum Partnership, and others. The additional funding takes the overall funds raised by Spinny till date to more than USD 120 Mn.
Over the last 12 months, Spinny has constantly added multiple industry-first initiatives such as Spinny360, interactive inventory viewing; Assured Buyback program, tenure-based flexible car ownership; online booking, and doorstep test drives & delivery. In Aug’20, Spinny acquired Mumbai headquartered Truebil to solidify its position in the Indian used car market.
The newly raised capital will be deployed towards improving customer experience, expanding in new markets, strengthening technology and product capabilities, launching new business categories, and building teams across functions.
While the auto market saw a dip in sales volumes during the COVID’19 lockdown, the lifting of the lockdown restrictions saw a major boost in car sales due to a change in personal transport preferences. Keen to capitalize on this strong tailwind, Spinny started operations in 4 more cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad, in Jan’21, taking its presence to the top 8 cities of India (including existing cities like Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune). A portion of the proceeds from the round will also be utilized to provide exits to a few seed and pre seed-stage investors of the company.
Commenting on this development, Niraj Singh, Founder & CEO, Spinny, said, “With the changing needs and expectations of the customer, Spinny’s full-stack capability allows us the control to set industry benchmarks in terms of a transparent and simple car buying and selling experience. We are super excited to see our existing investor General Catalyst double down on their conviction and lead this round. That's great validation and support for the work we are doing. We welcome onboard our new investors Arena Holdings and Think Investments, and thank our existing investors Elevation Capital (prev. SAIF Partners), Accel Partners, the Fundamentum Partnership, and others for their belief in our vision and tremendous support in building the platform. The proceeds from the new round of funding will enable us to further strengthen our quality and experience control capabilities and to experiment and build new product categories.”
Adam Valkin, General Partner, General Catalyst, stated, “At General Catalyst, we constantly seek out the best companies and the best entrepreneurs, wherever they are in the world. The used car market in India is huge and ripe for reinvention. We believe Spinny is uniquely positioned to tap this opportunity--given their compelling leadership and their real market momentum. As long-time investors, we've been impressed by how Spinny is reinventing every part of the buying process - injecting trust and safety into every aspect of the customer experience.”
Mukul Arora, Partner, Elevation Capital (prev. SAIF Partners), elaborated, “Spinny has become India's most trusted used car brand and is on its way to becoming India's largest as well. It's heartening to hear customers describe the experience of buying a used car from Spinny as being better than that of buying a new car. This has been made possible because of Niraj and the entire Spinny team's customer obsession and relentless execution. We are privileged to be their early partners and super excited to double down in this round.”
Anand Daniel, Partner, Accel, said, “The used car market is known for its notoriety and lack of trust, often leaving a trail of highly dissatisfied customers. Using the full-stack approach, Spinny has built the foundation of its business around trust and customer delight, enabling it to maintain quality consistency and deliver a premium experience. The vision and rigor exemplified by Niraj and the team have made this possible, and we are certain that Spinny will emerge as a market leader in this space.”.
Ashish Kumar, Partner, The Fundamentum Partnership, added, “We have been very pleased with the progress the company has made since our 1st Investment a year back and decided to re-invest along with the new investors in Series C. I have the privilege of watching very high-quality execution by Niraj and the team at Spinny from close angles and say with confidence that the combination of customer obsession and use of technology in a business that has largely remained offline is unmatched. I am very bullish on Spinny having a real chance at becoming one of India's largest consumer brands.”
Social commerce platform CityMall has raised $11 million in Series A funding, led by Accel Partners. Existing investors Elevation Capital and WaterBridge Ventures also participated in the funding round.
CityMall will be using the capital to strengthen supply chain, logistics network and to expand its footprint to 20 new cities in tier II, III, and IV markets. It also aims to expand its network of community leaders to over 200,000 and more than 2 million customers by 2022.
The latest funding comes six months after it raised $3 million as part of its seed funding led by Elevation Capital.
“India’s next 300 million Internet users from smaller cities, towns, and villages depend on assisted commerce formats driven by pricing, trust and feasibility to encourage online purchase for everyday products. The accelerated pace of our growth in the past 10 months is a testimony of our ability to create a sustainable and effective model to address the challenges faced by traditional e-commerce models in Tier II, III and IV markets of India," said Angad Kikla, Co-founder, CityMall.
"Grocery in Tier II geographies is a very large opportunity, which has remained untapped because of unique challenges that traditional e-commerce models have struggled to address. Citymall’s community group buying model has allowed it to bridge this gap and offer a high trust and super convenient purchase experience (while being price competitive)," added Akarsh Shrivastava, Vice President, Elevation Capital.
Launched in January 2020, CityMall is a social e-commerce venture that has developed a community commerce platform for everyday products. It sells lifestyle, grocery and other products through peer-to-peer referrals on instant messaging platform WhatsApp.
CityMall has close to 20,000 resellers that serve over 2 lakh customers across their communities.
Bengaluru-based payments and banking technology company, Cashfree, has announced its collaboration with India’s leading D2C sleep and home solutions startup, Wakefit.co, to enable seamless payment options and instant refunds for customers.
According to the latest data on consumer complaints by the National Consumer Helpline, out of 62,310 grievances registered in October 2020, nearly 24,658 were related to e-commerce, out of which close to 30 percent were refund-related glitches.
Wakefit.co has always set high standards of processes for return and refund requests, with its 100-day free trial policy and 100 percent refund within the trial policy time frame. In order to enhance the customer experience, especially during return and refund requests, and minimize the refund wait time for customers from the existing five to eight days, the company has partnered with Cashfree to leverage its Cashgram feature. With the Cashgram integration, Wakefit.co can directly send payout links generated by Cashfree to its customers over WhatsApp, who can then redeem the refunds in real-time by entering their bank account, UPI or preferred wallet details. Wakefit.co has also been using Cashfree’s payment gateway to collect customer payments online.
Akash Sinha, CEO and Co-founder of Cashfree said, “Cashfree enables businesses to offer their customers the most convenient, seamless and secure payments experience. By offering automated and instant refunds to customers, the number of customer queries would be mitigated, significantly reducing the business’ operating expenditure. We are delighted to partner with Wakefit and support their business growth.”
Commenting on the move, Parasar Sarma, VP - Growth, Wakefit.co, said, “Wakefit.co has always endeavored to create high-quality and affordable sleep and home solutions that are accessible to Indian households with a monthly income of INR 30,000 and above. We strive to understand the pain points of this demographic and are constantly attempting to create processes that can help enhance the customer journey at every touchpoint. Returns and refunds form an integral part of our customer journey and encompass an important element of one of our brand promises; the 100-day trial policy with 100 percent refunds within the trial period. Our association with Cashfree comes at a crucial point in our business, as we look to ramp up operations and go deeper into the Indian market. We are confident that this association will help solidify Wakefit.co’s position as a trustworthy, customer-first D2C brand in the sleep and home solutions space.”
Built with a marketing-first perspective to improve return on ad spends and maintain it at scale, Kartify is omnifying the brands to integrate their offline strategy. With over 60 integrations, quick, single-page checkout, order tracking, and pin code serviceability, ANS Commerce has made it a seamless and simple process for brands to migrate to Kartify and leverage the platform for both tech-led services and performance marketing.
The up-and-coming e-commerce enablement platform has brands with strict guidelines and international standards working with it to recreate a high-quality experience in terms of UI/UX design as well as other features.
Specifically built for Indian consumers and Indian brands, Kartify strives to fulfill all sorts of requirements in terms of functionality, integrations, etc. Kartify is designed to fit all types and sizes of businesses, especially growing startups. It offers flattering e-commerce features, word-class integrations, dedicated account management, and robust security.
Kartify has enabled omnichannel services for several brands on its platform including Bath & Body Works, Celio, Aldo Shoes, Khadim’s, etc. The omnichannel approach contributes to approximately 40% of Kartify’s Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and the data-driven platform is currently clocking USD 40 million Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) with over 12M monthly brand store sessions.
ANS Commerce had enabled gift cards on Kartify during the onset of the pandemic, which helped brands to boost their sales. This feature was offered for free to all their partner brands for three months. Kartify also offers integration with video commerce, virtual trial rooms, social commerce, and features such as OTP verification for Cash on Delivery orders & integrated tools for post-dispatch management.
Speaking on the new development, Sushant Puri, Co-Founder of ANS Commerce, said, “We are delighted to announce that we have onboarded 60+ notable brands onto our proprietary brand store tech platform Kartify. By adopting an omnichannel retailing model that is an integrated approach to selling, ANS Commerce ensures a consistent and integrated experience to our customers, regardless of the channel they use. Moreover, we are enabling omnichannel fulfillment via Arvind, Unicommerce, and Fynd integration on Kartify. We will also be looking for omnifying with hyperlocal delivery partners and neighborhood Kirana stores in the future to enhance and bolster our business model.”
With integrated third-party services for logistics, engagement and marketing, payments, and OMS/WMS/Omni, Kartify offers end-to-end services firmly coupled with marketing, control and data ownership, onboarding and migration support, sales, and ROAS focused, and a 360-degree e-commerce approach. The brand store also provides customers with a multitude of features including bulk review upload support, store locator that allows customers to add and display offline store details, design support to meet brands’ standards, optimized user site flow to improve experience and conversion, smart image zoom and richer product attributes, integrated payment gateway and payment method setup, and shipping configuration, amongst others.
D2C Brand WoodenStreet eyes launching 15 stores by the end of 2019.
WoodenStreet has opened its first brick-and-mortar experience store in Bangalore in 2016. The brand expanded its reach by introducing 2 stores in 2017 and 9 stores in 2018. This took the total count to 12 experience stores.
Lokendra Ranawat, CEO of WoodenStreet, said, "The aim is to bring customization and quality a step closer to everyone’s home. It’s not just about an online presence but getting down there and interacting with our customers makes buying furniture a more personal experience, as it should be. We want people to not just visualize, but also feel the quality of furniture that we offer. We want them to see the limitless configurations, combinations and customization possibilities that they can actually get for themselves."
Virendra Ranawat, COO, WoodenStreet.com, stated, "Last year was challenging but fun. But this hasn’t stopped us. We want to ensure that 2019 sees the addition of 15 more stores to our ever-growing roster. This means that by the end of this year, we’ll have 27 brick-and-mortar stores in total."