Salon chain operator Bodycraft raises first external funding

Bengaluru-based salon chain Bodycraft has raised its first external round of funding to expand operations, a top company executive told VCCircle.

Manjul Gupta, promoter and director of Bodycraft, said the company, which is operated by Bodycraft Salon Skin and Cosmetology Pvt. Ltd, wants to expand beyond Bengaluru and foray into other south Indian markets. A part of the money will also be used for running marketing campaigns.

The firm currently runs nine unisex salons in Bengaluru and caters to approximately 20,000 clients every month. It looks to launch eight more units by next year.

The company has raised funding from Mumbai based M J Shah Ventures, the private investment arm floated by M J Shah Group of Companies which has interest in diverse sectors. MJ Shah Ventures picked up a minority stake through this transaction.

“With this capital infusion, we intend to expand the business to other cities and make Bodycraft a strong regional brand,” Gupta said. He declined to reveal the amount raised.

Mumbai-based Quest Profin Advisor Pvt. Ltd acted as financial advisor to Bodycraft for the transaction.

Launched in 1997, the salon chain offers more than 460 services across salon and styling, wellness, skin care and cosmetology categories. The company, which has over 500 professionals trained by international experts from Wella, Sebastian, SP, Dermalogica, Ainhoa and EZFlow, also retails more than 185 of its products.

The firm had posted net sales of Rs 20.8 crore during FY2014-15 compared with Rs 17.7 crore a year before. The financials for FY2015-16 could not be immediately ascertained.

M J Shah Group, which has presence in pharma, real estate and capital market, started M J Shah Ventures to invest in startups and SMEs that are looking for funds for expansion.

“We decided to invest in Bodycraft, as it is already a premium brand in Bengaluru. We share the company’s enthusiasm to grow the business,” said Mayank Shah, who heads MJ Shah Ventures.

The salon market, which is highly fragmented, has a few established players. Bodycraft competes with JCB Salons, BBLUNT, and other home-grown brands. Other players in the space include Hindustan Unilever's beauty products brand Lakme’s salon chain; Naturals; Kaya Clinic, which was spun out as a standalone offering by consumer goods firm Marico; VLCC; and Future Group's Star and Sitara, among others.

The salon and spa sector has not seen too many fundraising activities in the recent past. However, several investors are attempting to exit some of their investments made in the space.

Delhi-based Affinity Beauty Salon Pvt. Ltd is looking to raise capital and has also mandated an investment bank to reach out to potential investors.

Future Group said last year that it was looking to exit Star and Sitara. Venture capital fund Helion Venture Partners is also planning to sell its stake in the Bangalore-based beauty and spa salon chain YLG India.

Mumbai-based JCB Salons Pvt. Ltd was likely to acquire two companies—hair solutions specialist Trica Hair Clinic and home service brand The Home Salon—to enhance its offerings. In July, VCCircle first reported that JCB Salons is exploring a strategic acquisition and is in talks with a few investors to raise Rs 20-25 crore.

Another Delhi-based company Looks Salon Pvt. Ltd plans to accelerate expansion through franchisees after doubling the number of salons in its network.

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