Ex-Medlife CEO launches Thrasio-style venture, secures $50 mn in Series A round

By Debjyoti Roy

  • 31 May 2021

Mensa Brands, a Thrasio-style investment venture recently floated by former Myntra and Medlife chief executive Ananth Narayanan, has raised nearly $50 million (Rs 363 crore) in its Series A round of funding. 

Mensa Brands, which aims to acquire sellers on ecommerce marketplaces, has primarily raised the capital from Accel, Falcon Edge Capital and Norwest Venture Partners, as per a press statement. 

Angel investors including Cred founder Kunal Shah, DST Global's Rahul Mehta and Tiger Global's Scott Shleifer also participated in this round. Debt financing facilities from Alteria Capital and InnoVen Capital were also secured.

 “Scaling digital brands from India is a large opportunity. Incredibly excited and passionate about partnering terrific founders and helping scale their brands globally,” said Narayanan. 

Narayanan quit Medlife in March this year when epharmacy unicorn PharmEasy was on the verge of acquiring the Bengaluru-based brand. Prior to Myntra, he served as senior partner at McKinsey & Company. 

Over the next three years, Mensa plans to acquire over 50 brands across categories including home, garden, apparel, personal care and beauty. It will buy, consolidate and fast-track businesses that sell products on ecommerce marketplaces in India. 

 “In Mensa, we see the birth of ‘Thrasio of India’ and are delighted to back Ananth and team on their vision to create India’s first digital House of Brands,” said Niren Shah, managing director at Norwest Venture Partners India. 

Thrasio is a Boston-based ecommerce startup that acquires small merchants and brands that retail on the Amazon marketplace. 

Several Indian startups and sizeable players are already trying to replicate the model. 

Last month, omnichannel children’s retailer FirstCry received a $75 million commitment from Japan’s SoftBank, TPG, ChrysCapital and PremjiInvest to launch India’s largest Thrasio-style investment venture Global Bees. 

Earlier same month, VCCircle reported that consumer focused venture capital firm Fireside Ventures was in advanced talks to back a homegrown stealth mode startup modelled on Thrasio.

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