Merchandising startup Superhero Brands gets angel funding

Superhero Brands Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based character merchandising startup, has raised Rs 3.6 crore ($538,000) in an angel round of funding led by early-stage investment firm DSG Consumer Partners.

Lead Angels, UK-based The Character Group and a number of other angel investors also put money in this round.

The startup will use the funds to expand its product portfolio, build its distribution network, and expand its presence through online and offline channels.

“The company has demonstrated an ability to work with leading brand owners and over time will develop and sell merchandise across categories,” said Deepak Shahdadpuri, managing director at DSG Consumer Partners.

Planet Superheroes focuses on the character merchandising segment that includes fan-based merchandise for superheroes, cartoons, TV shows and similar genres with visually appealing graphics such as gaming and licensed art. It sells apparel, mobile accessories, laptop skins, electronics and collectibles on its website.

The company was founded in 2013 by Jaineel Aga, Sumit Shah and Karan Shah. Aga, an alumnus of Duke University, previously worked with Baring Asia and The Parthenon Group. Shah, an alumnus of the same institution, is also a director at Krysh Retail, which owns over 20 Lee and Wrangler outlets in western India. Rai, who is also the CTO of the company, is an alumnus of Oxford University and has been a serial tech entrepreneur.

“Our vision is to be the category leader in the character licensing and merchandising space in India with a robust omni-channel distribution strategy. We will continue to partner with the best international and domestic content owners to develop and distribute a portfolio of licensed merchandise throughout India”, said Aga, who is also the CEO.

The company manages licenses for more than 50 characters from Cartoon Network, Fox Network and Warner Brothers. “Each character comes in for a minimum package of $10,000. It may go as high as $100,000. We are also in talks with Indian content merchandisers to introduce local superheroes and animated characters,” Aga said.

Aga said that the apparel is priced between Rs 600 and Rs 1,300 and accessories are available in a price range of Rs 350 to Rs 1,500. “We are receiving 300 orders a day. With this funding, we hope to get nearly 700 orders a day from next year,” he added.

Besides this startup, DSG Consumer has so far invested in 19 companies including mobile payment services provider Mswipe Technologies, sauces maker Veeba Foods, restaurant reservations and rating platform Eazydiner, personal coaching firm GOQii, frozen dried fruits and vegetables firm Saraf Food, and specialty cheese maker Exito Gourmet.

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