Bengaluru based GOAT Brand Labs, co-founded by Flipkart’s former fashion head, is eyeing the growing direct-to-consumer (D2C) market in India. On Monday, the three-month-old company said it has raised a $36 million (about Rs 268 crore) in a Series A funding round led by Tiger Global and Flipkart Ventures, the early-stage venture fund of the homegrown ecommerce major.
The round, which is a mix of equity and debt, also saw participation from Mayfield, Nordstar and Better Capital.
Angel investors Virender Gupta of DailyHunt, Sujit Kumar (Udaan), Ranjan Pai (Manipal Group), Suhail Sameer of BharatPe, Neeraj Goenka (Texport) and Alex Kuruvilla (MD Conde Nast India) also participated in the round, the company said in a statement.
This is the first institutional round of funding for the startup which started in operations in May 2021.
GOAT Brand Labs follows a model similar to that of Thrasio, which acquires third-party private label brands on Amazon. Founded in 2018 by Carlos Cashman and Josh Silberstein, the American company has become the leading player among a new breed of ecommerce startups and has so far acquired around 125 brands on Amazon.
Founded by Rishi Vasudev and Rameswar Misra, GOAT acquires lifestyle D2C brands and helps them build as well as grow online.
Vasudev is a veteran fashion retail executive who has previously headed Flipkart’s fashion business, Lifestyle International, Home Center and Calvin Klein India. He was also associated with several other fashion brands like Madura Fashion & Lifestyle by Aditya Birla Group and Arvind Brands. He served as the CEO of Lifestyle and Home Centre for a year, before officially starting up GOAT Brand Labs.
Misra was co-founder of Menswear brand Turms and previously an SVP at fashion marketplace Voonik.
“G.O.A.T stands for Greatest of All Time. Through this venture, we are bringing together passionate entrepreneurs, their D2C brands, marquee investors, industry experts and a dynamic team, who believe in the philosophy of partnering and nurturing. We want these brands to have access to the best resources so that they scale rapidly to become G.O.A.T s,'' Vasudev said.
He added that GOAT will fuel growth of D2C brands across all channels - marketplaces, brand’s e-commerce platforms, offline retail, and global markets too, by providing them a tech enabled platform for end-to-end integration replete with deep digital marketing expertise.
“The potential of the D2C market in India will only continue to grow and G.O.A.T. Brand Labs is well positioned to effectively tap this, while helping brands scale. We are excited to partner with Rishi, Rameswar and team, as they build their tech-enabled platform and make the best resources available to native brands,” said Scott Shleifer, Partner, Tiger Global.
“Our investment in G.O.A.T. Brand Labs is aligned to this intent, as we aim to work with early stage startups that have the potential to address emerging business and consumer requirements leveraging the power of technology. The leadership team at G.O.A.T. have deep experience in this segment and we look forward to the transformation they will make in the D2C segment,” Ravi Iyer, Senior Vice President and Head, Corporate Development, Flipkart, said.
GOAT is in advanced discussions with at least 10 brands for acquisition and would be announcing the same shortly, the statement said. In its first phase of growth, the company is looking at brands in fashion, beauty, personal care, and Home & Kitchen.
Several aggregators of third-party sellers on ecommerce platforms, namely, Mensa, Powerhouse91 and 10Club have managed to raise funding in the recent past.
Last week, FirstCry’s Thrasio-style venture bagged $150 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners and others.