Mensa Brands on Monday said it has raised about USD 50 million (about Rs 363 crore) in funding from Accel Partners, Falcon Edge Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, and others. The series A round also saw participation from angel investors including Kunal Shah, Mukesh Bansal, Rahul Mehta (DST Global), and Scott Shleifer (Tiger Global). Additionally, debt financing facilities from Alteria Capital and InnoVen Capital have also been secured. “Our aim is to create a technology-led ‘House of Brands’ that is built for the e-commerce world. We will partner and invest in digital-first brands and scale them. Over the next three years, Mensa will acquire over 50 brands across various categories,” Mensa Brands founder and Chief Executive Officer Ananth Narayanan told PTI.
These categories include home, garden, apparel, personal care, and beauty. He said Mensa – which means ‘constellation’ in the ancient Greek language – aims to create a cluster of star brands and will invest in a majority stake with a path to ownership over two to four years. Mensa will look at brands that are around Rs 10-70 crore in annualised revenue, are profitable and get the major part of their revenues from online marketplaces and their own website. “Scaling digital brands from India is a large opportunity…We will bring a lot of technology, digital marketing, and e-commerce expertise, while the partner is usually very good at sourcing and the actual product. So this will be a partnership that works on how do we make the brand a household name, how do we scale it,” he said.
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Narayanan said a major part of the funds raised will be used towards financing the acquisitions, growing the brands as well as in product and technology. “There is a real opportunity through product, technology, and e-commerce expertise to be able to scale these brands…The market is very large. In these categories (which we will target), digital-first brands with over 70 per cent revenues online, there are 4,000 brands in this space with Rs 7-70 crore revenue, there is an enormous opportunity,” he noted. The former Myntra executive added that new digital-first brands are also coming up and therefore, it’s the right time to work with these brands and scale them.
Subrata Mitra, Partner at Accel Partners, said with the digital acceleration of commerce globally, this model would be additive to the brand owners, the platforms, and the consumers and scale rapidly. In Mensa, we see the birth of ‘Thrasio of India’ and are delighted to back Ananth and team on their vision to create India’s first digital House of Brands, Niren Shah, Managing Director and Head of Norwest Venture Partners India, added. Thrasio is a digital consumer goods company that acquires third-party private label Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) businesses and direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands.