Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt Ltd (Pepperfry.com), a lifestyle e-commerce start-up co-founded by former eBay India country manager Ambareesh Murty but yet to be launched, has raised $5 million in venture capital funding from Norwest Venture Partners.
The company has said in a statement that over the past few months, it has built a team of over 70 e-commerce and retail professionals. By Christmas 2011, Pepperfry aims to offer a range of 25,000-plus lifestyle products across categories like clothing, furniture & home décor, precious & fashion jewellery, lifestyle accessories and personal care. The company is headquartered in Mumbai and has ground sourcing and fulfilment operations in Delhi and Jodhpur.
The company was set up in July and targets the $30 billion offline retail market for lifestyle products spanning these categories. Discounts available on the site will vary between 20 per cent and 70 per cent. Currently, the site is in the last stage of testing and is set to be launched before December 25, 2011.
Ashish Shah, former head of eBay Motors, will be the COO of the company. Shah’s LinkedIn profile shows him to be a co-founder of the firm.
“Pepperfry’s goal is to make affordable indulgence possible. We will ensure that our customers get competitively priced lifestyle products without needing to compromise on style or choice,” said Ambareesh Murty, CEO of Pepperfry.
The differentiators for Pepperfry.com are its product range and transparency in pricing. “In terms of differentiation, it is the sheer range of products that we offer. We have 25,000 products and one can easily search through those to find what he wants. Second factor is the transparency – when you come to our site, look at the product page and you will find there are terms, descriptions, pricing details, price of gold and the gems used for jewellery, for example, as well as return arrangements. We have tried to be very forthcoming about our prices,” said Murty.
“Pepperfry has a strong team, extensive e-commerce and retail expertise and great execution abilities reflected in the imminent launch of Pepperfry.com in less than five months since commencing operations. We are excited by the e-commerce opportunity in India and believe that Pepperfry is a great addition to our robust global Internet portfolio,” said Niren Shah, managing director of Norwest Venture Partners India.
Incidentally, Norwest has recently invested in Fashionandyou.com and Smile Group’s daily deal site Dealsandyou.com.
According to Murty, products and goods-related e-commerce has come into its own in the country. “It is symptomatic of the trend that customers are comfortable with using their credit cards online and buying from someone who is not in front of them. This fundamental shift in customer behaviour has translated into purchase of goods online,” he said.