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Saurabh Bansal

Exclusive: Former Snapdeal category management head Saurabh Bansal joins Lenskart

01 June, 2017

Snapdeal’s former vice-president and head of category management, Saurabh Bansal, has joined eyewear retailer Lenskart Solutions Pvt Ltd as senior vice president and head, buying and merchandising.

Bansal, who had recently resigned from Snapdeal, joined Lenskart last week. He is among a host of senior Snapdeal executives who have left the firm ahead of its impending merger with Flipkart. Bansal confirmed the development to VCCircle.

Before joining Snapdeal as associate vice-president in 2014, Bansal had stints with Spencer’s Retail, Metro and Jubilant. He went on to become the e-commerce marketplace’s vice-president and head of categories, and had also served briefly as head of SD Instant.

The other recent top-level exit from Snapdeal was that of Saurabh Nigam, the head of human resources. Ashish Chandra, the startup’s general counsel, too, had put in his papers a fortnight ago.

Snapdeal’s head of corporate development Abhishek Kumar and head of partnerships and strategic initiatives, Tony Navin, had left the firm in February. In November 2016, Vijay Ghadge, the chief operating officer of Snapdeal’s in-house logistics arm, Vulcan Express Pvt Ltd, had quit barely four months after joining.

Lenskart, which was started in 2008, is promoted by Peyush Bansal, Amit Chaudhary, Neha Bansal and Sumeet Kapahi. Its wholesale entity is engaged in assembly, wholesale distribution and supply of affordable eyewear products.

In January 2014, the company had set up its first offline store in Chandigarh. Now, it has 300 stores across 90 cities and plans to open another 200 stores by the year-end.

Besides eyewear, the company had launched a host of new online businesses, including Bagskart.com, Watchkart.com and Jewelskart.com, but had soon realised that it was stretching itself too thin. Subsequently, it shut them down by December 2014 to focus only on its core business.

Lenskart’s valuation has grown six-fold in the past three years, and 30 times since it had got its first investment from IDG Ventures. This is significant as many large e-commerce companies in India have suffered a valuation markdown over the past one year.

In January 2017, media entrepreneur-turned-investor Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures had invested  Rs 24 crore in Lenskart at a valuation of $294 million. He had purchased additional stake from Lenskart co-founders Peyush Bansal and Amit Chaudhary.

In September 2016, when PremjiInvest had pumped in about $31 million in Lenskart, it was valued at $262 million. In March 2016, the company was valued at $230 million during another round of funding.

Lenskart’s revenue has grown at a compounded annual rate of 63% since 2011-12. In 2015-16, its revenue grew to Rs 99.5 crore from Rs 61 crore year-on-year.

On Monday, VCCircle was the first to report that Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd, which runs Snapdeal, had received about $17 million in funding from existing investor Nexus Venture Partners and co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. The fund infusion came soon after rival Flipkart signed the term sheet for the Snapdeal buyout.

Earlier this month, SoftBank had written off $1.4 billion in valuation on its two biggest investments in India – Snapdeal and cab-hailing app Ola.

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Exclusive: Former Snapdeal category management head Saurabh Bansal joins Lenskart

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