Ratan Tata-backed KAARYAH shuts operations

Gurgaon-based online women’s fashion brand KAARYAH.com has shut down due to lack of funds, Nidhi Agarwal, the founder and chief executive of the firm told VCCircle.

The firm has laid off all its employees, she said.

“It was not sudden. We have been trying to raise funds for the last 18 months. We had broken even twice in 30 months. Honestly, my aspiration for the brand was to take it to Rs 100 crore revenues within 4-5 years of having started it. It looked very realistic should we have received normal amounts of funding, given that we were a very capital efficient and working capital-light company,” Agarwal explained in a telephone conversation.

The company did not own inventory and its internal rate of return (IRR) and profitability was benchmarked against ZARA, added Agarwal. “But fact of the matter is, nobody is looking to fund anything right now,” she added.

At its peak, the startup had 50-60 employees.

Agarwal claimed that employees were given a notice period of two months. She also provided some with references and job placements.

Currently, Agarwal now serves as a consultant for startups looking to build brands.

KAARYAH Lifestyle Solutions Pvt Ltd, which operates the online fashion site, reported net sales of Rs Rs 1.7 crore and losses of Rs 4 crore for the financial year 2015-16, data with VCCEdge, the research platform of News Corp VCCircle, shows.

In December 2015, KAARYAH had raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai and Saha Fund.

In June 2015, it secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Tata Sons' chairman emeritus Ratan Tata.

Before Tata’s investment, Agarwal had approached more than 100 investors for funding.

“At that point in time, I had only a proven concept. Now, we have already made more money in revenues than what was invested,” she explained.

Agarwal established KAARYAH in early 2014. Prior to launching the venture, she was director of strategy at American multinational firm Honeywell International India Pvt Ltd.

KAARYAH exclusively focused on retailing private fashion labels and sold its products on third-party sites such as Myntra.

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