Salon chain Naturals picks up controlling stake in beauty services startup Vyomo

Salon chain Naturals is investing $15 million (Rs 100 crore) in Vyomo Pte Ltd, a Bangalore-based mobile marketplace for beauty and wellness services.

While Vyomo said in a statement it is a Series A investment, given that the venture is being rebranded as Natural @Home, it is seen as a strategic deal for a controlling stake.

It isn’t immediately clear if Naturals’ investment is solely through a primary share purchase or involves a secondary transaction where some existing shareholders have sold their stake. The firm declined to comment further on the nature of the deal.

Vyomo said it will use the money to expand operations and improve technology. Vyomo co-founder Abhinav Khare will remain its CEO.

“We see that e-commerce is the way forward. And we want to be a part of this future… we want to use the tech platform to reach out to a lot more, who need door-step services,” Veena K, founder of Naturals, said in the statement.

Chennai-based Naturals is one of India’s top salon chains. It has about 550 salons in 80 cities. The company plans to take Naturals @Home to 80 cities in the next six months, the statement said. The first phase of expansion will start from Chennai in May, followed by Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.

Vyomo was founded in June 2014 by London Business School alumni Khare and Poonam Marwah. It connects people with stylists and salon chains through its mobile app. Users can search discover salons and spas, compare prices, read customer reviews and book services.

Vyomo had last year raised undisclosed amounts in funding from cricketer Yuvraj Singh's YouWeCan Ventures and TaxiForSure co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna. While YouWeCan invested in April in the fund’s debut deal, Radhakrishna put in the money in June.

The online on-demand beauty services segment in India has seen the emergence of a number of startups in the past year. Besides, horizontal home services startups such as Housejoy and UrbanClap also offer similar services. With beauty services offering high frequency, margin and repeat business, a large chunk of revenue for many home services startups comes from this segment.

Earlier this month, on-demand beauty services startup MyGlamm raised $6 million (around Rs 40 crore) in Series A funding from French beauty major L’Occitane International SA, Indian mid-market private equity fund Tano Capital and Brand Capital.

In other similar deals, Gurgaon-based beauty and wellness startup raised $250,000 in seed funding from Hong Kong-based Swastika Company Ltd. StayGlad, a mobile marketplace for on-demand beauty services, raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Silicon Valley-based VC firm Bessemer Venture Partners in November last year.

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