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Darshan Patel acquires majority stake in maker of sanitary napkin Paree

Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Vini Cosmetics promoter Darshan Patel has picked up a majority stake for an undisclosed amount in Noida-based Soothe Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, the firm behind Paree brand of sanitary napkins.

A source told VCCircle that it was a “primarily” deal, though he didn’t disclose the size of the transaction. 

The development was first reported by The Times of India citing people it didn’t name. The report said the maker behind top-selling deodorant brand Fogg has acquired a 51% stake in the firm through this transaction.

Patel, who has invested in his personal capacity, also got his three family members inducted into the board of the company.

Sixth Sense Ventures, a consumer sector-centric venture investment firm, still holds nearly 23% stake in the firm while the rest of the shareholding is with the promoter Sahil Dharia.

Email queries to Vini Cosmetics and Soothe Healthcare couldn’t elicit any response at the time of filing this report.

Paree, positioned in the value segment of the market dominated by the likes of Whisper, Stayfree, She and Kotex, is currently available in more than 3,000 pharmacies and retail outlets besides e-commerce sites.

The company, which claims to be India’s first chemical-free sanitary napkin manufacturer also has distribution tie-ups with FMCG and retail majors such as ITC and Walmart.

Last year, the personal hygiene firm chose Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal as its brand ambassador. She had also invested in the company, though it is not clear if the investment is partly in lieu of fee for being the brand's face.

In the past, Soothe Healthcare also attracted seed funding by John Cioffi, managing director of wealth management at UBS. The firm was started four years ago by Sahil Dharia. Dharia had earlier worked as global head of operations, investment research content at Thomson Reuters, where he spent nine years in various roles. Prior to that, he worked on the buy-side at UBS Investment Bank in New York.

Patel is betting on a market with huge growth opportunity. According to a research report on market leader P&G, the firm behind Whisper, by brokerage firm HDFC Securities, “Feminine hygiene is among the most under-penetrated segments in the FMCG space.” It cited an old finding of market research firm AC Nielsen that shows that feminine hygiene market penetration was in fact at 11%.

Interestingly, Nikhil Vora, the founder of Sixth Sense Ventures, had put money in personal capacity in Vini Cosmetics in the past. Both have also recently backed Plywood maker Uniply Industries Ltd in its bid to acquire architectural design firm Vector Projects (I) Pvt. Ltd.

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Sixth Sense Ventures LLP is a venture capital fund owned by Nikhil Vora. It seeks to make investments in both listed and unlisted companies operating in India. The fund seeks to make investments in consumer, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and technology sector. It typically invests between $1 million to $5 million in its portfolio companies. The company was founded in 2013 and is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

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