VLCC acquires VC-backed beauty services platform Vanity Cube

Homegrown health and wellness brand VLCC Health Care Ltd has acquired beauty services booking platform Vanity Cube Pvt Ltd, a media report stated, citing people privy to the development.

The firm also acquired direct-selling dietary supplements and nutraceuticals firm Well Science Health Pvt Ltd earlier this month for an undisclosed amount, The Economic Times reported.

Email queries and phone calls to Vanity Cube and VLCC went unanswered at the time of filing this report.

Well Science was founded by Lajinder Bawa, who set up the Indian business of Swedish cosmetics maker Oriflame.

Vanity Cube was founded in 2015 by Renu Bisht and Pragya Upadhyay. The platform hires beauticians on their payroll and makeup artists and stylists on a freelance basis. It caters to the women in the age group of 22-25 years in Tier 1 cities. The startup was selected by Mumbai-based accelerator Zone Startups for its women entrepreneurship programme, ‘empoWer’, in June last year. The firm had raised $300,000 in seed funding in March 2016 from Unicorn Ventures and angel investors.

Founded in 1989 by Vandana Luthra, VLCC has over 200 wellness centres in about 150-odd cities across the country and has centres in 13 countries in South and Southeast Asia, the GCC region and East Africa. The firm had received approval in January 2016 from the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its initial public offering (IPO). However, following the government’s demonetisation move in November 2016, the firm said it would refile for its share sale this year.

VLCC joins a number of offline players acquiring online firms that operate in similar business verticals.

Last week, Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail Ltd said it will merge its home furnishing brand HomeTown with online furniture store FabFurnish and will create a separate entity called Praxis Home Retail Pvt. Ltd.

In May 2016, the Tata Group’s watch and jewellery retail firm, Titan Co Ltd, had bought majority stake in Chennai-based online jewellery portal Caratlane.com.

In February 2015, the Mahindra Group acquired baby products e-tailer BabyOye and then later merged its baby and infant products vertical Mom & Me with the e-commerce venture. In October last year, online baby products retailer FirstCry acquired BabyOye for Rs 362.1 crore ($54.3 million) in a cash and stock deal.

In the salon market, VLCC competes with JCB Salons, BBLUNT, Hindustan Unilever’s beauty products brand Lakme’s salon chain; Naturals; Kaya Clinic, which was spun out as a standalone offering by consumer goods firm Marico; Bodycraft; and Future Group’s Star and Sitara, among others.

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