Mahesh Bhupathi’s beauty products startup gets funding from Unilever Ventures
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Scentials Beauty Care and Wellness Pvt. Ltd, which mainly offers beauty products endorsed by celebrities, has raised Rs 25 crore ($3.6 million) in its Series A round of funding from Unilever Ventures, the venture capital arm of consumer goods giant Unilever Plc.

Scentials was launched by former ace tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi and Jinesh Mehta in 2017. It says it focuses on developing beauty brands across fragrances, skincare and colour cosmetics.

The company launched Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s One8 brand in the fragrance category in January and followed it up with skincare label Arias from Bhupathi’s wife, actor and model Lara Dutta.

“There have been multiple success stories with celebrity beauty brands and licenses in the West. With our product and distribution offering, we feel we are able to offer the celebrity an opportunity to create serious value,” Bhupathi said in a statement.

The company’s products are available in both offline and online stores including Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, More supermarkets and Amazon.in. The company plans to expand its offerings by introducing new lines and limited editions, starting with a makeup line from actor and model Malaika Arora before Diwali.

“Scentials is building a unique beauty brands studio platform that combines fast-paced innovations across beauty categories with endorsements from top-tier Indian celebrities in sports, films and entertainment,” said Pawan Chaturvedi, investment director at Unilever Ventures.

Unilever Ventures

The investment firm backs early-stage companies and helps accelerate their growth by providing access to Unilever's global ecosystem, assets and expertise. It looks to invest in personal-care companies and those that use digital transformation technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, e-commerce and internet of things.

Earlier this month, it pumped more money into Gurugram-based micro-delivery grocery startup Milkbasket along with the company’s other institutional backers.

In December, Unilever Ventures invested in Mumbai-based Shop101, a mobile storefront and commerce platform for sellers; and also in skincare brand Plum.

In 2017, the investment firm backed software-as-a-service startup Peel-Works and came as a Limited Partner in a fund of venture capital firm Chiratae Ventures, earlier known as IDG Ventures India.

Deals in personal-care segment

Earlier this month, personal care brand mCaffeine raised $2 million in a Series A round of funding from a clutch of investors led by RP-SG Ventures.

Mid-market private equity firm Samara Capital recently inked back-to-back deals in the personal care segment. It invested in Delhi-based cosmetics firm Blue Heaven and Nature’s Essence.

In January, early-stage investment firm DSG Consumer Partners invested in personal-care products maker Arata Zero Chemicals.

A number of companies in the broader beauty and wellness segment have recently attracted investor interest.

In September last year, mid-market private equity firm Lighthouse Advisors invested in beauty e-tailer Nykaa.

In June last year, Mumbai-based Manash Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, which operates beauty products and services marketplace Purplle.com, secured around Rs 17.50 crore ($2.56 million) from a clutch of investors.

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