WickedGud Secures INR 2 Crore Funding for Expansion and Market Reach

WickedGud Secures INR 2 Crore Funding - D2C Verse

D2C brand WickedGud, known for its healthy food and snack alternatives, has raised INR 2 crore in additional growth funding from GetVantage, a financing platform supporting e-commerce entrepreneurs and SMEs.

The food start-up will utilize the recently acquired capital to drive marketing efforts, expand its product line, and enhance retail distribution. With a focus on achieving a 5X growth in net revenues in FY 24, WickedGud plans to increase its retail presence to over 2,000 stores across India through its distribution partner network.

Before this investment, WickedGud received INR 2.25 crore from actor, entrepreneur, and investor Shilpa Shetty. The company also appeared on the entrepreneurship-driven reality show Shark Tank India.

Bhavik Vasa, Founder & CEO of GetVantage, expressed enthusiasm about supporting WickedGud’s impressive traction, market knowledge, and ability to identify opportunities. He stated, “At GetVantage, we are thrilled to support their strong early fundamentals, exciting growth roadmap, and vision to un-junk India one kitchen at a time.”

Bhuman Dani, Founder & CEO of WickedGud, highlighted his previous experience at TGL and the strong founding team at WickedGud, which gives him the confidence to build a robust distribution network nationwide. He expressed gratitude for the backing of GetVantage as a strategic long-term growth funding partner, emphasizing their understanding of WickedGud’s objectives and their support in achieving expansion plans.

Aditya Birla Group’s D2C Startup TMRW Sets Sights on Public Listing, Expands Offline Presence

Aditya Birla Group's D2C Startup TMRW Sets Sights on Public Listing - D2C Verse

In a strategic move to tap into India’s vast retail market, Aditya Birla Group’s direct-to-customer (D2C) startup, TMRW, is gearing up for a potential public listing in the coming years. The digital-first fashion and lifestyle platform, founded by Aryaman Vikram Birla, son of group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, intends to bring its online brands offline to establish a stronger foothold in the market.

According to a top executive, TMRW plans to onboard external investors to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO). In an interview, Prashanth Aluru, co-founder and CEO of TMRW, stated, “We conceptualized this venture to be backed by the Aditya Birla Group. However, we will also seek other investors who can join us on this journey as we scale the venture to the next level, eventually going to an IPO.”

TMRW operates as a wholly-owned Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) unit. The venture focuses on creating a comprehensive “House of Brands” entity and actively invests in online-born brands that predominantly cater to online shoppers. The launch of TMRW aligns with Aditya Birla Group’s strategy to initiate and support new-age digital ventures, expanding its presence beyond traditional industries like cement and textiles.

With an ambition to curate the most extensive portfolio of disruptor brands in the fashion and lifestyle sector, TMRW aims to capitalize on the booming D2C growth in India. The country’s D2C market is projected to reach $100 billion by 2025. TMRW plans to acquire and nurture over 30 innovative brands prioritizing customer-centric approaches and possessing a penchant for disruption.

TMRW aims to enhance its market reach and establish a stronger connection with customers by diversifying its offerings and venturing into offline retail. Expanding offline channels will enable the startup to tap into a broader consumer base and cater to shopping preferences. TMRW’s strategic approach positions it at the forefront of the evolving retail landscape, where the convergence of digital and physical experiences is paramount for success.

As TMRW sets its sights on a potential public listing, it signifies a significant milestone in the growth trajectory of Aditya Birla Group’s D2C startup. The company’s commitment to innovation, customer obsession, and strategic investments reinforces its position as a key player in India’s rapidly expanding fashion and lifestyle market.

D2C Ayurveda Brand T.A.C. Aims for Profitability by Diwali 2024

TAC News - D2C verse

T.A.C., a D2C Ayurveda brand, has set a goal to become profitable by Diwali of 2024. The CEO and Co-founder, Shreedha Singh, believes that the brand will achieve profitability in the next 12-18 months. The operating profit margin is expected to be between 70-80%, which will enable the company to invest in product development and research and development to drive sustainable and profitable growth.

T.A.C. is targeting a revenue of INR 150 crores by the end of the current financial year. The company’s retail expansion, along with new product launches and a strong distribution network, supports this goal. In the previous financial year of 2023, the brand reported a revenue of INR 50 crores.

Amazon India 10-year Anniversary – to waive off 10% seller fee

Amazon India News - D2C Verse

Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is celebrating its decade-long presence in India. As a part of the celebration, the company has announced that it will waive off 10% of the seller fee for all transactions on June 5, 2023. This move is expected to benefit over 1.2 million sellers on its platform, making it easier and more profitable for them to conduct business.

Since its India operations began in June 2013, Amazon has invested over $6.5 billion to grow categories like e-commerce and video streaming through Prime. The company has launched vernacular languages on its platform, introduced two-hour deliveries, and announced Amazon Smbhav, a $250-million capital pool through which it invests in Indian direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies. However, it has also rolled back several initiatives like Amazon Food and Amazon Academy, which would be shuttered in a phased manner starting August 2023.

In a blog post published on June 4, Manish Tiwary, country manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon said, “It’s been an incredible journey of making an Amazon in India, for India. We are truly just getting started. With a young and vibrant population, rising income levels, and increasing penetration of (the) internet and social media, the future is exciting.”

Despite talks of downsizing, Amazon pledges to digitise 10 million small businesses, enable $20 billion in exports, and create 2 million jobs by 2025. Amazon has already digitised over 4 million small businesses, enabled over $5 billion in cumulative exports, and created more than 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs.

However, according to analysts at Bernstein, profit remains elusive for Amazon India even after investing over $6.5 billion. Competitors, like the Flipkart group, are gaining ground in categories like smartphones and apparel. Furthermore, newer companies like SoftBank-funded Meesho continue to increase their market share in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

Despite these challenges, Amazon remains upbeat about its future in India. Tiwary said, “We remain committed to innovating for customers, and enabling small businesses and startups to contribute to India’s vision of becoming a $1 trillion digital economy.”

While Amazon is optimistic about its future, the growth path for e-commerce players in India seems difficult. According to analysts at Redseer, the growth in e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) has slowed down due to price pressures, fewer online shoppers, and stagnating average dollar spend per shopper. E-tailing GMV grew by about 44% from $25 billion in FY20 to $36 billion in FY21. However, the pace of YoY growth slowed to 22% in FY23 when the GMV increased to $60 billion.

Despite these challenges, Amazon is committed to being a major player in India’s digital economy and is taking steps to help small businesses thrive in the country.

Berrylush Secures INR 8 Crore Funding to Strengthen Product Offerings and Expand Globally

Berrylush Secures INR 8 Crore Funding - D2C Verse

D2C womenswear brand Berrylush announced a successful funding round of Rs 8 crore from the revenue-based financing platform Klub. The capital infusion will drive strategic initiatives, enhance product offerings, and elevate customer experiences across platforms. With a projected surge in demand of 80% compared to 2022 during the upcoming festive season, the investment arrives at a crucial time for Berrylush.

Co-founder and COO of Berrylush, Alok Paul, expressed the significance of the investment, stating, “The funds, with zero equity dilution, will enable us to enhance our infrastructure, expand our product range, and amplify our marketing efforts to provide our customers with an unmatched online shopping experience.”

Berrylush has achieved remarkable revenue growth of 5X over the past two years. Alok Paul further revealed plans to expand the brand’s product portfolio, including the recent launch of swimwear, winter wear, knitwear, perfumes, bags, and belts. Additionally, the introduction of the size-inclusive sub-brand, Berrylush Curve, has contributed 11% to the net revenue.

Expanding its market presence and reach across geographies is another crucial objective for Berrylush. Alok Paul shared the brand’s plans to venture into global markets such as the USA, Europe, and Australia through their website, mobile app, and Amazon, starting in 2024. The necessary steps, including setting up the supply chain, are currently underway to support this expansion.

In the past two years, Berrylush has shipped over 2 million products, generating approximately Rs 110 crore in net revenue and experiencing a remarkable year-on-year growth rate of over 80%. The brand has also made strides in physical retail by opening its first brick-and-mortar store at Gaur City Mall in Greater Noida. Furthermore, Berrylush now boasts six other exclusive brand outlets in Delhi, Surat, Indore, Rohtak, Hisar, and Hyderabad.

BlissClub Raises $15 Million in Series A Funding, Reports Impressive Revenue Growth

Blissclub Funding - D2CVerse

Women-focused wellness D2C brand BlissClub has successfully secured $15 million in a Series A funding round during the first quarter of FY23. While the impact of these funds will be evaluated upon filing financials for FY23, let’s delve into BlissClub’s FY22 numbers.

According to the company’s annual financial statements with the Registrar of Companies, BlissClub witnessed a substantial revenue surge in operations, growing 41 times to reach Rs 14.82 crore in the fiscal year ending March 2022, compared to Rs 36 lakh in FY21.

However, the rapid scale also increased expenses, resulting in a loss of Rs 8.9 crore during FY22. It’s worth noting that FY21 marked the first operational year for BlissClub.

As a Bengaluru-based startup, BlissClub specializes in homegrown activewear brands and engages in retail trading of active lifestyle apparel, accessories, and related products for women. Approximately 90% of its sales are conducted through its website, while the remaining 10% are through other marketplaces.

The purchase of traded goods accounted for the most significant cost component, representing 33.5% of total expenses. This cost increased to Rs 7.97 crore in FY22 from Rs 21 lakh in FY21, aligning with the company’s scale.

Advertising and marketing expenses surged to Rs 7.93 crore during the year, followed by employee benefit expenses at Rs 4.87 crore in FY22.

BlissClub also incurred expenses related to shipping, legal matters, commission, rental, subscription, web domain and hosting, payment gateway, and more, resulting in an overall expenditure increase of 66 times to reach Rs 23.77 crore in FY22, compared to Rs 36 lakh in FY21.

On a unit level, BlissClub spent Rs 1.6 to earn one rupee of operating income.

BlissClub has raised nearly $17.25 million from notable investors such as Eight Roads Ventures, Elevation Capital, and Crimson Holdings. Based on estimates by Fintrackr, the company’s valuation stands at approximately Rs 540 crore or $70 million following the allotment of its Series A round.

BlissClub competes with brands like Playfiks, Kica Active, and SilverTraq, among others, in the market.

Start-up POP Revolutionizes D2C E-commerce with Unified Shopping Currency and Growth Solutions

POP Revolutionizes D2C E-commerce - D2Cverse

POP, a start-up dedicated to empowering e-commerce, has launched an innovative growth solutions platform exclusively for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands. Led by former Flipkart Senior Director Bhargav Errangi, POP has already formed successful partnerships with over 75 renowned consumer brands in just one month. A key highlight of POP’s offerings is the introduction of POPcoins, a universal shopping currency that users can earn and redeem for exclusive discounts and offers across the network of partner brands.

In a market saturated with numerous loyalty programs, POPcoins present a game-changing solution. Departing from fragmented rewards, POPcoins introduce a unified currency to foster long-term customer loyalty within the D2C ecosystem. The beta phase has yielded positive results, prompting POP’s plans to onboard more than 300 leading brands and platforms with an active user base exceeding 10 million on the POP network by year-end.

CEO Bhargav Errangi highlighted the necessity for a new channel to help online-first businesses acquire and retain customers sustainably. He stated, “In this era of digital wars, Facebook and Google have emerged as clear winners. Direct online channels heavily rely on these advertising giants to perform, while current marketplaces aren’t the primary choice for brand discovery.”

In the coming months, POP will introduce new platform features to enhance its offerings. These include a flexible Referral Program with gamified incentives, integration of User-Generated Content (UGC) and Product Reviews to boost consideration, and a cross-sell feature enabling non-competing brands to promote on each other’s portals for improved discovery and acquisition. POP’s product suite seamlessly integrates with both Shopify-based brands and those with their technology stack.

Errangi emphasized that POP’s products aim to enhance crucial business metrics for digital brands, focusing on conversion, user retention, and user acquisition. While conversion and retention deliver short to mid-term outcomes, the primary focus is solving the long-term customer acquisition challenge as the network expands. Extensive research on the competitive landscape and analysis of over 100 brands guided the definition and alignment of POP’s product scope with the challenges they aim to solve.

With a team possessing vast experience in building and scaling e-commerce marketplaces and operating large coalition loyalty currency platforms, POP is poised to become the leading growth enabler for D2C brands in India. With a vision of establishing a comprehensive network of e-commerce buyers, POP aims to address the critical need for a new and reliable customer acquisition channel for digitally native brands.

Shikhar Dhawan Joins TagZ Foods as Brand Ambassador and Investor

Tagz Brand Ambassador - D2Cverse news

Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan has signed on as brand ambassador and investor for TagZ Foods, a Bengaluru-based health food brand. Dhawan, known for his dynamic batting style and love for fitness, is excited to be affiliated with the company, which emphasizes healthy snacking options and an active lifestyle.

As brand ambassador, Dhawan will help TagZ Foods connect with more customers and promote their line of hemp cookies, gourmet dips, and popped potato chips with 50% less fat. The company plans to expand its product line, production capability, and distribution to other cities across India.

In addition to his role as brand ambassador, Dhawan is also an investor in the company. He sees his partnership with TagZ Foods as a close and long-term connection, and is thrilled to join the company on its upcoming journey of growth and expansion.

The relationship between TagZ Foods and Shikhar Dhawan is set to launch soon, with several marketing and advertising activities planned to promote the brand’s snacking experiences.

Klub and Simpl Partner to Provide Low-Interest Credit to D2C Merchants

Klub & Simpl Partnership - D2Cverse news

Klub, a leading Revenue Based Finance company, and Simpl, India’s premier one-tap checkout platform, have partnered to provide D2C merchants with digital access to credit at low interest rates. The goal of this partnership is to help D2C merchants meet their working capital needs and overcome the major challenge of hyper-growth.

Simpl’s “Booster Package” includes capital-as-a-service for partner merchants. This initiative will enable long-term value creation and alleviate a significant pain point for many Indian businesses that are digitally native. Additionally, the “Booster Package” gives customers exclusive access to D2C enabler services, such as brand development, credit access, digital marketing, and e-commerce consulting, that promote business growth.

According to the “Beyond E-commerce 3.0” report by Kalaari Capital, the pandemic’s digitization has resulted in at least 50 million new users being added to the Indian e-commerce networks over the last two years. By 2025, India is expected to have 1.1 billion internet users, with 30% of them engaged in online purchasing. Therefore, it is essential to support D2C merchants on multiple fronts, including credit access, discoverability, and seamless payments.

Nitya Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Simpl, commented on the collaboration, saying, “As a company dedicated to building the D2C merchant ecosystem in India, we continuously strive to come up with novel solutions to the issues faced by the community. In support of this effort, we are excited to announce the expansion of our Booster Package, which will now give the D2C community access to credit through our relationship with Klub.”

Klub’s cutting-edge embedded capital product can be seamlessly synchronized with its platform allies, providing a plug-and-play lending option. Klub offers a variety of capital partners, including banks, NBFCs, and its own credit fund, to ensure that merchants receive the best funding options.

Anurakt Jain, co-founder and CEO of Klub, expressed his excitement about the opportunity to lead this shift and help platforms realize the full potential of their merchant ecosystems. The D2C ecosystem in India is expanding quickly, with merchants seeking to create a distinctive customer experience and establish direct relationships with end-users. To make this possible, it is necessary to build a complete digital value chain, including a payment infrastructure, to provide millions of customers with a seamless experience.

Beauty Brand VLCC Ventures into Men’s Grooming by Acquiring Ustraa

VLCC Acquires Ustraa - D2C Verse

Beauty and skincare brand VLCC has acquired Happily Unmarried Marketing Private Ltd, the owner of men’s grooming brand Ustraa, in a deal whose details were not disclosed. 

The acquisition will enable VLCC to venture into the men’s grooming segment through a combination of secondary buy-out and share swap. VLCC aims to leverage Ustraa’s leading men’s grooming position and its skincare products portfolio to drive growth. Additionally, VLCC plans to invest further in Ustraa to accelerate its expansion. The acquisition also allows VLCC’s existing product business to benefit from Ustraa’s tech and digital expertise. 

Ustraa, founded in 2015, is known for being one of India’s first direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands focused on men’s grooming, with a wide range of products and a substantial customer base. VLCC Group operates in multiple locations across various countries in the skincare, beauty, and wellness industries.