India’s Mensa, a house of D2C brands, becomes unicorn in just six months

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Mensa Brands, an Indian startup that acquires direct-to-consumer brands and helps them scale in the domestic market and overseas, has become a unicorn just six months after launching its business.

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Falcon Edge Capital led Mensa Brands’ $135 million Series B financing round, valuing the Indian startup at more than $1 billion, the duo said on Tuesday.

Prosus Ventures, as well as all existing investors including Tiger Global, Norwest Venture Partners and Accel, also participated in the new round, increasing Mensa’s equity and debt by more than $300 million.


mensa brands – Founded by Ananth Narayanan, who previously served as chief executive of fashion e-commerce giant Myntra, which was eventually scooped up by Flipkart – operates in the same space as Thresio, the Boston-based startup widely known for The credit is given for the success of this model.

But Narayanan believes that what Mensa is trying to do is different. Mensa, which means constellation in Greek, is striving to create a new-age consumer brand similar to Indian conglomerate Unilever or Bed Bath & Beyond, he said.

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“Brands are being built today in a very different way. Distribution has become completely democratic. I think you can do brand building in a very different and interesting way with a lot of virality and personalization,” he said in an interview with Nerdshala. Said in the interview.

Ananth Narayanan founded Mensa Brands. Startup has become the fastest Indian firm to become a unicorn. (Image credit: Mensa Brands)

Narayanan said Mensa Brands currently has 12 brands, of which 80% are driven by women. The startup operates in three categories – apparel, beauty and personal care, and home. “In all these categories, we are not trying to build a brand for India, but a brand for the world,” he said, adding that 30% of the startup’s revenue already comes from overseas markets. Is.

The startup buys a majority stake in each brand it partners with, with plans to fully acquire it in five years. Narayanan said all these brands are profitable and his founding team works with large firms by joining Mensa Brands. Mensa itself is profitable too, he said.

Mensa helps these brands organize and optimize their inventory across all popular markets and on their official websites. On the demand side, the startup does “technology-led marketing” and optimizes the prices of products, he said. “We also do a lot of technology-based product development such as identifying the products consumers are looking for and helping brands launch new lines of products,” he added.

The startup said Villain, a leading mens fragrance and accessories brand now part of Mensa, grew over 250 per cent in October. Another associate brand, Karagiri, a high-end designer saree brand, grew by 140% last month, it said. Narayanan said most of the brands Mensa has acquired so far have seen growth of more than 100%.

Navroz Udvadia, Co-Founder and Partner, Falcon Edge Capital, said, “We are excited to continue supporting Ananth Narayanan as he executes a best-in-class playbook of brand aggregation and acceleration focused on Indian and global e-commerce brands. Huh.” a statement.

“Mensa continues to demonstrate a solid uptrend through a combination of product and pricing optimization, technology-led process improvements, distribution and marketing growth, and fine-tuning the supply chain. These levers meaningfully contribute to the brands’ growth and margin trajectory. accelerate and prepare them well to become category leaders. We believe Mensa is well on its way to cement our reputation as the partner of choice for well-performing e-commerce brands .

Narayanan said Mensa plans to partner with 30 additional brands in the next one year.

Millions of entrepreneurs around the world are trying to find a better e-commerce model. Many investors believe the world’s Amazons and Flipkart have set the railroad for digital commerce, but smarter and more profitable businesses can be built on top of them.

“We are excited to support Mensa Brands in their journey to build a digital-first global brand from India. His team brings superior execution focus and technology chops to help emerging brands grow digitally. This is an incredible time for businesses made in India, and we look forward to helping fuel their future success,” Ashutosh Sharma, head of investments for Prosus Ventures India, said in a statement.

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