Mensa Brands, an Indian startup that was founded just six months ago, has become the newest entrant to the unicorn club, and the youngest member in that group. The company, owned by former Myntra chief executive officer (CEO) Ananth Narayanan, has raised $135 million at a valuation of about $1.2 billion, reports suggest. Mensa Brands is a startup that targets direct-to-consumer brands and helps them scale up their business within India and overseas. The company works in the same space as Thrasio, the Boston-based startup that has been acclaimed for its success following the same model. The milestone, reached by Mensa Brands, has been backed by a funding round recently.
The company, which has become a unicorn, started just six months ago after Narayanan exited MedLife and sold it to Pharmeasy. Before that, he was the CEO of Myntra. A unicorn is a company valued over one billion dollars, in terms of the startup sector.
Mensa Brands reached the unicorn club following a funding round led by Alpha Wave Ventures, while Prosus Ventures also joined the fundraiser as a new investor. Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global were among the several existing investors that took part in the Series-B round. A whooping amount of $135 million (about Rs 1,004 crore) was raised during this process.
Within six months of starting the business, Mensa has raised a total of over USD 300 million in equity and debt. In May, Mensa Brands had announced raising about USD 50 million (about Rs 363 crore) in funding, along with debt financing facilities from Alteria Capital and InnoVen Capital. “Mensa is already profitable and intends to use the funding to continue partnering with founding teams of customer-loved brands and help them become household names. In addition, it’ll invest in hiring across functions and continue building out its tech platform and other growth capabilities,” said a statement on Tuesday, as quoted by PTI.
Mensa had started its journey in May this year with a vision to partner and invest in digital-first brands across fashion and apparel, home and garden, beauty and personal care and food and scale them exponentially. It works closely with founding teams to accelerate growth on marketplaces, through the brand’s own websites, and global platforms by using a combination of initiatives across product, pricing, marketing, distribution, and brand building with a technology platform at the core.
As of now, Mensa, which means ‘constellation’ in Greek, has partnered with 12 brands, most of which are reporting a 100 per cent year-on-year growth since the integration.
“Our deep focus on technology and digital brand building, as well as our people, has allowed us to grow 3X of our initial plan and we at Mensa Brands are primed to build global breakout brands from India. I am especially proud that more than 50 per cent of our brands are led by women founders and that Mensa supports small- and medium-sized businesses across the country,” PTI quoted Narayanan as saying.
The business model, which was first popularized by Thrasio, is also gaining traction among marquee investors in India over the recent few months. While major Indian players have gathered interest of investors, Thrasio is also trying to enter the market, noticing the potential success of the model in the country. The company last month invested over a billion dollars to enter directly to the Indian market. In the domestic area, Mensa Brands is the first to enter the unicorn club following this model.
(With inputs from PTI)