Mensa, the home of D2C brands, raises $135 million to become Asia’s
Within six months of commencement of business, Bengaluru-based Mensa has raised a total of over $300 million in equity and debt. The latest round of funding has valued the firm at over $1 billion, making it the newest member of the prestigious Unicorn Club and the fastest firm in Asia to reach such status. US shopping site Jet.com holds the unicorn speed record – its $1 billion valuation came just 4 months after the company was founded. Mensa is the 36th startup in India to achieve unicorn status in 2021.
Founded by former Myntra and Medlife CEO Ananth Narayanan, Mensa is already profitable. It intends to use the funds to continue partnering with founding teams of customer-loved brands and helping them become household names. In addition, it will invest in hiring all operations and will continue to build out its technology platform and other development capabilities.
“We are grateful for the trust of our investors and our brand partners. Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO, Mensa Brands said, “Our people, along with our deep focus on technology and digital brand building, have allowed us to grow 3X our initial plan. He started the firm this year after Blockbuster exited the PharmEasy-Medlife deal.
“We at Mensa Brands set out to create a global breakout brand from India. I am particularly proud that over 50 per cent of our brands are led by women founders and that Mensa supports small and medium-sized businesses across the country,” Narayanan said.
Mensa began its journey in May 2021 with a vision to rapidly grow and invest in digital-first brands in fashion & apparel, home & garden, beauty & personal care and food. Mensa works closely with founding teams to accelerate market growth through the brand’s own websites and global platforms, using a combination of initiatives across product, pricing, marketing, distribution and brand building as one technology at the core. with platform.
Navroz Udvadia, Co-Founder and Partner, Alpha Wave Ventures, said, “We are excited to continue supporting Ananth Narayanan as he executes a best-in-class playbook of brand aggregation and acceleration focused on Indian and global e-commerce brands. Huh.” Falcon Age Capital.
He added that Mensa continues to demonstrate a solid upswing through a combination of product and pricing optimization, technology-led process improvements, distribution and marketing enhancement, and fine-tuning the supply chain. “These levers meaningfully accelerate the growth and margin trajectory of brands and position them well to become category leaders. We believe Mensa is well on track to cement its reputation as the partner of choice for well-performing e-commerce brands,” said Udvadia.
The partnership with Mensa is highly efficient from inception to execution, often closing within 4-8 weeks. To date, the company has partnered with 12 brands, most of which are growing at 100 percent year-on-year since their integration with Mensa. Villain, a partner brand, a leading men’s fragrance and accessories brand, grew +250 per cent in October. Another associate brand, Karagiri, a leading high-end designer saree brand, grew by +140 per cent in October.
Niren said, “With exceptional prior leadership experience across two key businesses, Anant has been able to build a top class team and partner with over 12 companies, embarking on the journey of building a tech first global home of brands from India. Used to be.” Shah, Managing Director and Head of Norwest Venture Partners India. “The speed and quality of execution has been impressive, and we are pleased to continue to support Mensa as it becomes the fastest unicorn in Asia.”
Ashutosh Sharma, Head of Investment, India, Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers), said the organization is excited to support Mensa Brands in their journey to build a digital-first global brand from India. “His team brings superior execution focus and technology chops to help emerging brands grow digitally,” Sharma said. “This is an incredible time for businesses made in India, and we look forward to helping fuel their future success.”
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the superstar team at Mensa under the leadership of Ananth (Narayanan),” said Subrata Mitra, Partner, Accel Partners. “This is a new approach to ecommerce that aligns our ability to identify exceptional entrepreneurs and accelerate their business with Mensa’s technology platform and brand building capabilities.”
Mensa is a Thresio-type startup and many such ventures are emerging in the country. US-based Thracio is a digital consumer goods company that acquired private label Amazon FBA businesses and direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands.
In July this year, Flipkart Ventures and Tiger Global invested in Thresio-style venture GOAT Brand Labs. It is using the funds to accelerate the growth of indigenous brands digitally in India. GOAT was founded by Rishi Vasudev and Rameshwar Mishra, who bring with them decades of expertise in this field. Vasudev, a veteran retail executive who previously headed Flipkart’s fashion business. That same month, GlobalBiz, India’s largest Thresio-style investment venture, raised $150 million in a mix of equity and debt in Series A led by e-commerce firm FirstCry and some of its investors, with additional participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners.
In June of this year, 10 Club, one of the early movers in the e-commerce roll-up space, raised $40 million in seed funding. It is primarily using the funds to expand 10Club’s portfolio of brands, invest in building out its technology stack, and for working capital purposes. 10Club partners with e-commerce product vendors in India by acquiring their businesses.
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