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Mensa Brands becomes India’s fastest unicorn with $135-million funding

Mensa has been valued at a billion dollars just six months after it launched.

Mumbai / November 16, 2021 / 02:02 PM IST

Mensa Brands, founded by former Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan, has raised $135 million in fresh funding, which valued the six-month-old venture at over a billion dollars. This makes it the fastest Indian start-up to become a ‘unicorn’.

Moneycontrol had first reported on talks of Mensa becoming a unicorn on October 4. Mensa runs a model similar to the US-based Thrasio, which buys profitable, well-reviewed online sellers on Amazon and turbocharges their growth with technology, marketing and product growth chops.

This $135-million Series B funding round was led by its existing investor Falcon Edge Capital, along with other existing investors like Accel, Norwest and Tiger Global Management. Prosus (Naspers) is the new entrant in the league.

Mensa has acquired 12 brands so far in categories such as designer sarees, jewellery, men’s wear, smart devices and personal care. Most of these brands are growing 100 percent year-on-year since the time of acquisition, the company said.

“Our deep focus on technology and digital brand building, as well as our people, has allowed us to grow three times 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 percent of our brands are led by women founders and that Mensa supports small and medium sized businesses across the country,” Narayanan said.

Mensa, which said it is profitable, has raised over $300 million in equity or debt so far. Debt is a key tool to acquire companies since it is cheaper than equity.

Mensa is among the best-funded players in the ecommerce rollup space in India, competing with GlobalBees, Upscalio and GOAT Brand Labs. GlobalBees is also in talks to raise funds.

“Mensa demonstrates a tangible uplift through a combination of product and pricing optimisation, technology-led process improvement, distribution and marketing augmentation and fine-tuning the supply chain. These levers meaningfully accelerate the growth and margin trajectory of the brands and make them well-poised to become category leaders,” said Navroz Udwadia, co-founder and partner at Falcon Edge Capital.

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M. Sriram
M. Sriram
first published: Nov 16, 2021 02:01 pm