Sachin Tendulkar-backed Universal Sportsbiz raises $15 mn from Accel
Sachin Tendulkar | Photo Credit: Reuters

US-based venture capital firm Accel Partners has invested about $15 million (Rs 100 crore) in Sachin Tendulkar-backed celebrity fashion company Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd (USPL), a press statement said.

Following the funding round, USPL's valuation has crossed $100 million (Rs 650 crore), the statement added.

USPL will use the funds to expand its product portfolio and retailing capabilities, and to enhance its geographical reach.

The Economic Times, which first reported the development, said the VC firm will pick up over 15% stake in the follow-on round.

USPL was founded in 2012 by former national-level badminton player Anjana Reddy, a member of the business family that once controlled media firm Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd. Tendulkar is a minority shareholder in the firm.

Reddy, who is also the company's CEO, said, “I am happy that Accel Partners have once again reposed their trust in us... With this investment, we will be able to accelerate our growth in this high-potential, fashion retail space.”

Neelesh Bhatnagar, owner of Dubai-based NB Ventures and a strategic partner in USPL, said, “USPL has a high brand recall with the youth, establishing a strong base for rapid growth... Middle East is a big market due to its young population and a potential market for emerging brands.”

USPL is also associated with cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Shraddha Kapoor, whose fashion labels—Wrogn and Imara—it launched in October 2014 and February 2015, respectively. The company also sells celebrity fashion accessories and merchandise on online platform Collectabillia.

In July 2015, USPL raised Rs 46 crore ($7.5 million) in a Series B round from Accel and another Rs 8 crore from venture debt firm InnoVen Capital India, the venture debt platform of Singapore state investment arm Temasek Holdings.

Recent deals in the online fashion space include Pune-based Benoit Fashion, which last month secured funding from Deepak Nathani, founder and chief executive of consumer Internet company Relfor Labs.

In June, fashion portal Fynd raised raised $3.4 million (around Rs 21 crore) in a Series A round led by IIFL Seed Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of wealth management firm IIFL Wealth & Asset Management.

In the same month, Hyderabad-based online fashion startup Fabulyst Pvt. Ltd, which operates an artificial intelligence-based platform emulating a personal stylist, raised Rs 1.4 crore ($216,000) in seed funding from iB Hubs, a launchpad-cum-accelerator for startups.

In March, Flipkart-owned fashion e-tailer Myntra diversified into the business-to-business space by renaming one of its associate entities. The new entity will act as a B2B seller of fashion and fashion-related merchandise to e-commerce marketplaces.

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* This article was updated to include a press statement from the company.

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