ChrysCapital buys minority stake in WOW Skin Science in primary and secondary deal

By Debjyoti Roy

  • 08 Apr 2021

Homegrown private equity firm ChrysCapital has invested $50 million(Rs 371 crore) in skincare care and wellness brand WOW Skin Science India for a minority stake. The transaction is a combination of primary capital infusion and a secondary sale by existing shareholders.

VCCircle reported exclusively in February that the private equity firm was in the process of buying a minority stake in the Delhi-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) retailer.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and J Sagar Associates advised WOW Skin Science on the transaction and ChrysCapital was advised by Quillon Partners, said a joint statement.

Details on the shareholders who sold their stake in the secondary transaction were not immediately available.

“The founders have demonstrated a robust historical track record by significantly outperforming the industry growth while demonstrating superior capital efficiency. We look forward to helping WOW grow multi-fold by further increasing online penetration, driving pan-India offline expansion, and launching new brands in adjacent categories,” ChrysCapital managing director Ashish Agrawal said.

WOW Skin Science was launched in 2014 as a nutritional supplements startup by four digital marketers -- Ashwin Sokke, Manish Chowdhary, Karan Chowdhary and Arvind Sokke. Gradually, the founders introduced paraben-free, sulphate-free and mineral oil-free cosmetics through the WOW brand. Later, three other brands – Nutrava, Body Cupid and Shaving Station -- were added. 

The firm offers supplements, herbal blends, creams, serums, lotions, shampoos, bath and body products, men’s grooming products, essential oils and massagers, among others. The company also has a US-based subsidiary. 

“WOW Skin Science is a ‘consumer first’ brand in the D2C Space. We strive to optimize the consumer’s experience, and address their problems and pain points by leveraging technology and innovation. From being a digital first brand, the vision now is to scale up to become the number one brand in the toxin-free space within the larger FMCG sector,” the company’s founder Manish Chowdhary said.

Apart from selling through its own website Buywow, the company retails products through ecommerce platforms Amazon India, Flipkart and Nykaa.It has also partnered beauty stores in Mumbai and retail chains such as Westside, among others.

The firm reported net sales of Rs 38 crore for 2018-19 as against Rs 21 crore a year before, according to VCCEdge.

The broader beauty and personal care segment has attracted a slew of investors over the past few  years.

In March, Juicy Chemistry, an organic personal care brand, raised $6.3 million as part of its Series A funding round led by Belgium-based Verlinvest. Prior to that, mid-market private equity firm Lighthouse placed its third bet in personal care with an investment in a skincare brand Dot & Key. The same month, Scentials Beauty Care and Wellness raised $6 million from local buyout fund TIW Private Equity.

Prior to that, SUGAR Cosmetics raised $21 million (Rs 153 crore) in its Series C funding round led by Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners).

In November last year, VCCircle reported that Sequoia Capital India had made an early stage investment in a skincare brand.  The same month, VCCircle also reported that US-based Fidelity Management & Research Company had come in as a new investor in beauty and lifestyle omnichannel company Nykaa.

In September, personal care brand mCaffeine raised $5.7 million in its Series B round of funding led by homegrown mid-market private equity firm Amicus Capital.

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