In what is so far the fastest unicorn story in the country, Mensa Brands, a house of brands that acquires and invests in online-first brands on the lines of the popular American startup Thrasio, on Tuesday announced its Series B fundraise of$135 million. With this funding, the company has turned into a unicorn in just six months since starting operations.
The round was led by Alpha Wave Ventures of Falcon Edge Capital with participation from all existing investors - Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management. Prosus Ventures (Naspers) also invested in Mensa in the latest funding round. Mensa has raised a total of more than $300 million in equity and debt since starting its journey in May this year.
"We will continue to raise more capital. But, we are profitable in the first six months and also paid advance tax in the first quarter of operations, " Ananth Narayanan, founder and CEO, Mensa Brands, told CNBC-TV18.
Narayanan was previously CEO of Myntra and co-founder and CEO at Medlife.
Mensa Brands has partnered with 12 brands and it says that a majority of them are growing 100 percent year-on-year (YoY) since their integration with Mensa.
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Narayanan said, "Mensa is trying to build a global, tech-led house of brands." He added that some brands like Karagiri have started global operations and another brand Folkculture does 60 percent of sales in the US through amazon.com.
The roll-up model, also popularly referred to as the Thrasio model, has seen frenetic activity in India in recent months.
Thrasio is an acquirer of Amazon third-party private-label businesses. The company finds “top-reviewed, bestselling” products on Amazon and buys brands from small business owners.
It has so far acquired and scaled over 100 businesses.
Over the recent months, at least half a dozen such startups have emerged. These include Global Bees, Mensa Brands, 10Club, G.O.A.T Brand Labs, Powerhouse91, and Upscalio.
Navroz Udwadia, co-founder and partner of Alpha Wave Ventures | Falcon Edge Capital said, “We are excited to continue backing Ananth Narayanan as he executes a best-in-class playbook of brand aggregation and acceleration focused on Indian and global e-commerce brands.”
He said, Mensa demonstrates a tangible uplift through a combination of product and pricing optimisation, technology-led process improvement, distribution and marketing augmentation and fine-tuning the supply chain.
According to him, these levers meaningfully accelerate the growth and margin trajectory of the brands and make them well-poised 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,” Udwadia said.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)