London investment firm leads funding round in beauty e-tailer Purplle

Mumbai-based Manash Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, which operates beauty products and services marketplace Purplle.com, has secured around Rs 17.50 crore ($2.56 million) in a fresh funding round from a clutch of investors, two persons aware of the development told TechCircle.

One of the two persons mentioned above said that the funding, which was secured in multiple tranches, was led by an unidentified London-based investment fund.

The round also saw participation from Patrick Chong Fook Seng, founder of Luxasia Group, a Singapore-headquartered omni-channel retailer of beauty products, and existing investor JSW Ventures, the venture capital arm of ‎the JSW Group.

Others who also put in money in this round include Dubai-based NB Ventures and existing investor Ivycap Ventures. The second person mentioned above said that the deal valued the six-year-old company at roughly around $35-36 million (Rs 240-245 crore).

The latest round of funding comes six months after TechCircle had reported that Purplle secured Rs 3.44 crore ($537,000) from Singapore-based Mountain Pine Capital and Suncoast along with participation from a clutch of individual investors.

It is not clear whether this was part of a larger funding round.

Rahul Dash and Manish Taneja, co-founders of Purplle, did not immediately respond to email queries from TechCircle, seeking comment at the time of publishing this report.

The startup was founded by Taneja, an IIT Delhi alumnus, and Dash, an IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, in 2012.

Purplle retails products for skincare, make-up, haircare, body care and beauty from more than 600 Indian and international brands.

While the platform caters primarily to women, it also offers beauty products for men. It offers a virtual assistant to help users make purchasing decisions.

In October last year, the firm strengthened its top deck by appointing Pooja Acharya, a former executive at Japanese personal care company Shiseido, as its chief beauty officer. In her new role, Acharya will introduce Purplle’s products into the brick and mortar retail format, help the firm foray into new beauty segments and introduce exclusive international brands in India, media reports had stated.

While the company is yet to file its financial statement for 2016-17, data available with VCCEdge, the research platform of News Corp VCCircle, showed that the company saw its revenues rise more than three-fold to Rs 29.7 crore during 2015-16, up from Rs 8.42 crore in the previous financial year. However, total expenditure also increased nearly three times to Rs 49 crore, up from Rs 16.95 crore in the previous year. Net losses widened to Rs 19.5 crore, up from Rs 8.48 crore the previous year.

Some other ventures in the online beauty and wellness space that recently raised capital include Nykaa. In April this year, the beauty e-tailer raised $11.32 million (Rs 75 crore) from existing investors including the family offices of Hero Group’s Sunil Munjal and consumer goods maker Marico’s Harsh Mariwala, and Dalip Pathak, a special limited partner at private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

In the same month, French cosmetics major L’Occitane injected fresh capital into MyGlamm, a Mumbai-based beauty products and services startup.

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