Mumbai-based startup Kerfuffle Commercial Solutions Pvt Ltd, which runs Precared.com – a site that buys and sells pre-used baby products – has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from MyFirstCheque, a seed fund investor in startup ventures. Precared.com buys pre-used, durable baby products and sells those after cleaning and sanitising them.
But would there be a sustainable market in India for second-hand baby stuff? According to Tabrez Khan, owner of Precared, “The concept is new but we are promoting re-use of expensive baby products which lie unused because babies soon outgrow those. Of course, initially it was very tough to explain the concept to buyers and even sellers but gradually, we are getting there.”
Also, what differentiates the site is the brand value of the products, along with the discount pricing. Precared is offering good brands at less than half the market rates – so that they are sold on par with local goods as far as prices are concerned but the brand quality is retained, nonetheless.
“We started in June 2011 and initially, the traction was not that good. But from November-December onwards, we are able to get some business and adding some 15-20 customers a month. It’s less that what’s expected, but we have been able to maintain these numbers so far. We are also trying to push this concept because there is scope,” detailed Khan.
The company also runs a classifieds section called Usedbabyproducts.com, a platform which links buyers and sellers. But no products are now featured on this site.
Precared plans to use the funding to build inventories, operations and promotions. Currently, the company operates only in Mumbai but will soon expand its warehouses in northern and southern India. Khan also plans to add more products under the babycare category.
MyFirstCheque typically invests between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 25 lakh in early-stage startups and it is sector-agnostic. This is the fourth investment by the firm, after Mericar.com, apply2many and OfferGrid.com, and the first in 2012.
Gautam Sinha, Partner at MyFirstCheque, said, “We loved the innovativeness of Precared as a business. They are addressing a great space and have provided the necessary twist to make available high quality baby products at prices that make those competitive for a very large mass of Indian consumers. We also see a huge potential for these products beyond the metro cities of India, which makes it even more exciting.”
While babycare products are rapidly catching the interest of investors and promoters alike, second-hand branded products is a new area to venture into. In the past few months, quite a few babycare products-based startups have sprouted up, including Firstcry.com, Babybox.in and Hushbabies.com, among others. The sector seems to be growing fast – so keep watching this space for more.