Amit and Arihant Patni, sons of Patni Computer co-founder Gajendra Patni, have picked up a significant stake in Bombay Shirt Company (BSC), an online custom shirt retailer, for an undisclosed amount. The funds will be used to further scale up the startups' custom shirt platform.
“We are excited to announce our investment in BSC. Finding high quality custom tailored shirts at an accessible price point has always been a source of frustration for me. With BSC, customers are offered a comprehensive solution that not only allows for their own design elements and fabric, but also one that is 100 per cent custom made to suit their exact measurements,” said Amit.
The Mumbai-based startup was started in May 2012 by Akshay Narvekar, who co-founded the company along with a fellow student from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, where they completed their MBAs. But right now, he is the only one running the business on a full-time basis. Prior to this venture, he had worked with companies like BCBG Max Azria, a global luxury apparel brand and Everstone Capital.
BSC offers its customers made-to-measure shirts that are accessible to virtually anyone. Customers can choose one of the ready-to-order BSC designs, or start from scratch and customise the shirts to their specific taste. An extensive, hand-picked range of fabrics and colours is available for both men and women, providing them with options so that the shirt they design stays unique to them.
Over the past year and a half, BSC has ramped up from being a purely online player to a being a hybrid venture with several brick and mortar touch points.
“When fundraising, it was important for us to find the right investors who had the experience and passion for scaling a business like ours. Our investors, along with their entire investment ecosystem, bring exactly what we need. We’re excited to work together towards taking BSC to greater heights,” said Narvekar.
Amit and Arihant Patni, whose father is one of the Patni brothers who encashed by selling their IT services firm to iGate three years ago, have earlier provided angel and seed investments in areas of health care, education, quick service restaurants and apparels, among others. They have also been active members of networks such as Mumbai Angels, Indian Angels and Venture Nursery.
In September last year, they had launched a Big Data-focused early-stage startup fund called The Hive India. The fund invests in the range of $200,000 to $2 million ‘predominantly in early-stage Big Data ventures’, and has already invested in companies like California-based Colabo and Flutura Solutions, among others.
Lifestyle and apparel-related e-commerce has been one of the most buzzing verticals within digital commerce in India. Another player in this space is Mumbai-based The Stiff Collar. The site offers both casual and formal shirts across a number of categories including full sleeves, plus size, French cuff, banker’s cut, half sleeves, Friday wear and paunch fit. The company also offers custom embroidery and customers can choose the characters they want to get embroidered (name, initials, etc.), as well as thread colours.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)