Furniture rental platform Furlenco raises funding from actor Aamir Khan

Online furniture rental startup Furlenco, which is run by Bengaluru-based Kieraya Furnishing Solutions Pvt. Ltd, has raised Rs 7.7 crore (around $1.2 million) in debt funding from Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and four other individual investors, a person involved with the deal told VCCircle.

The startup raised the funding last month. The four individuals, who put in Rs 5.7 crore (around $884,000), and Khan were given non-convertible debentures. Vamsi Krishna Bandi, director at Hyderabad-based pharma-company Hetero Drugs led the round by putting in Rs 5 crore (around $775,000), said the person cited above.

However, VCCircle could not ascertain if this was a fresh round or a tranche of the funding round that was announced in October last year.

Ajith Mohan Karimpana, founder of Furlenco, did not comment. Khan was not immediately available for comments.

Actors and sports celebrities are often given equity in lieu of being brand ambassadors for startups.

In August, fitness startup CureFit, founded by Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal and former Flipkart executive Ankit Nagori, announced a Rs 100-crore endorsement deal with Hrithik Roshan, which saw the Bollywood star pick up an equity stake in the company.

Over the past few years, celebrities have also been increasingly backing domestic startups.

In April, Mumbai-based Rakyan Beverages Pvt. Ltd, which sells cold-pressed juices under the RAW Pressery brand, raised funding from actress Jacqueline Fernandez.

Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is a minority shareholder in fashion company Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd. Online fitness marketplace Fitpass had raised $1 million in a funding round led by Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and his business partner Gaurav Marya, chairman, Franchise India.

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh launched a $10-million seed-stage fund christened YouWeCan in 2015 to back Internet startups in the country. YouWeCan’s portfolio companies include online beauty services venture Vyomo, logistics startup Moovo and healthcare startup Healthians.

However, Khan will not be a brand ambassador for Furlenco, said the person.

Furlenco was founded in 2012 by Karimpana, former vice president at Goldman Sachs. He holds an MS in computer and information science from Temple University (the US).

It designs own furniture and gets it manufactured by third-party vendors.

The venture was running operations under Rent Ur Duniya but later re-branded as Furlenco in 2013.

Furlenco has been raising money through a mix of debt and equity financing in the last one year.

In October last year, Furlenco raised $15 million (Rs 100 crore then) in its Series B round of funding led by existing investor Lightbox Ventures along with Axis Capital Partners, a Hong Kong-based venture capital fund.

A few high-net-worth individuals too participated in the funding round. The company also raised $15 million in debt, during that time.

The firm has also raised $6 million (Rs 38 crore then) in a Series A round of funding from LightBox Ventures.

Players in the online furniture rental sector include Rentomojo and Rentsher, among others.

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