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ru-Net-backed Smile Group venture BeStylish.com another casualty of e-com shakeup?

07 October, 2014

Smile Group incubated venture BeStylish.com, run by Gurgaon-based StyleGenie Digital Pvt. Ltd, has joined the league of e-commerce ventures shutting shop or transitioning into a different business. BeStlylish, which was also backed by Russian venture firm ru-Net, had previously gone through two pivots before pulling the plug on its operations early this year.

Originally a footwear e-tailer and styled as Indian Zappos, the venture pivoted from an inventory-led venture to become a marketplace two years ago. Early this year it pivoted again to become an aggregator for other lifestyle and horizontal e-com firms such as Myntra, Jabong and Flipkart.

Although the site seems still active and is populated with aggregated merchandise links from third party e-tailers, it shut shop in April, one source privy to the developmnent told Techcircle.in. A random check shows a god chunk of linkouts to third party sites are for products which are sold out.

When contacted over the phone Harish Bahl, chief of Smile Group, said the venture is in a transition mode but declined to comment more on the development immediately.

Mails sent to spokesperson of ru-Net did not immediately elicit a response.

Last year Shailen Amin, co-founder and CEO of BeStylish.com, had exited the company. Abhishek Lal, co-founder of the firm who took over as CEO last year also quit the company early this year and is now involved with Adidas Group’s e-commerce division.

BeStylish had raised over $26 million in three rounds of funding from ru-Net, Springstar GmbH, a German fund and Mangrove Capital Partners, according to VCCEdge, the financial research platform of VCCircle.

Smile Group had launched BeStylish in 2011 and roped in Lal and Shailen Amin (the then CFO at the market research firm Millward Brown, a WPP Group company) as the co-founders of the new venture.

Initially, the store was offering only international, high street and regular shoe brands including Woodland, Adidas, Buckaroo, Nike, Adams, Provogue, Franco Leone, PlayBoy, ID and Numero Uno. The company launched its own private label of footwear for women and men.

It was also supplying products to other e-commerce companies and online marketplaces such as eBay, Tradus and Naaptol, as well as offline retailers.

This was one of ru-Net’s twin debut investments in India along with another Smile Group venture FreeCultr. The fund was founded by Russian billionaire Leonid Boguslavsky and is investing globally in companies in the customer and technology space with a focus on e-commerce, marketplaces, platforms, SaaS and Big Data.

Smile Group is known for parenting e-commerce portals such as FashionandYou.com, DealsandYou.com and Freecultr.

The consolidation in the e-commerce sector has seen VC/PE money flow getting polarised towards a few large firms. Recently VC-backed Yebhi pivoted to become an aggregator for other e-tailers.


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ru-Net-backed Smile Group venture BeStylish.com another casualty of e-com shakeup?

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