After backing Snapdeal, Ratan Tata invests in jewellery e-tailer BlueStone

Ratan Tata, former chief of Tata Group and currently chairman emeritus of group’s holding company Tata Sons, has invested an undisclosed amount in Bangalore-based Jewels Online Distribution India Pvt Ltd, the company behind online jewellery retailer BlueStone, said a Times of India report quoting its co-founder Gaurav Singh Kushwaha.

The investment comes a couple of weeks after the business honcho invested an undisclosed sum in, the second largest e-commerce platform in India.

BlueStone was founded by Vidya Nataraj and Kushwaha in mid 2011. Before co-founding the e-commerce initiative, Nataraj was a senior strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in India. She also grew her family business Landmark Ltd, one of India’s largest lifestyle retail chains selling books and music, before its acquisition by Tata Group's Trent.

Kushwaha is a graduate in Computer Science from IIT Delhi and has around 10 years of experience in technology, e-commerce and internet marketing. Before starting BlueStone, he had served as CEO of Chakpak, an online entertainment portal which he had co-founded in 2007 whose catalogue was later acquired by Flipkart. Kushwaha started his career with Tavant Technologies, a global IT services & solutions provider, and subsequently worked with Amazon for around four years.

BlueStone offers a range of jewellery under five categories, including earrings, rings, pendants, bangles and bracelets. Various filters — such as gold purity, stones, occasion and stone colour—have been provided to help buyers select the jewellery. The firm, which used to source the merchandise from third-party manufacturers, has now started manufacturing on its own. The startup is also planning to go offline by setting up a physical store soon.

Earlier this year, BlueStone launched ‘Wedding Bespoke’ service, which allows end users to design and customise their wedding jewellery. A stylist from BlueStone exclusively designs the complete collection of jewellery matching the wedding trousseau. The website also has a live chat feature, where visitors can directly get in touch with experts for their design needs and queries. BlueStone is mainly competing with Tiger Global-backed CaratLane besides jewellery retailing major Tanishq's own e-com platform.

In March this year, BlueStone secured $10 million in funding led by Kalaari Capital with participation from existing investors Accel Partners and Saama Capital. Prior to this, it had netted $5 million in funding from Accel, Silicon Valley Bank and serial entrepreneur K Ganesh in 2012.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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