The company will use the funding to invest in technology to boost its ecommerce play
Founded in 1994 by Vikaas Gutgutia, Ferns N Petals started with a single store and was one of the first in India to adopt the ecommerce model in 2002.
The company reportedly generated net sales of nearly INR 500 Cr in FY21 despite COVID pummeling the gifting economy.
Gifting platform, Ferns N Petals (FNP), has raised INR 200 Cr in funding from private equity firm, Lighthouse.
The company will use the funding to fuel its expansion to newer geographies and to launch a brand campaign to raise awareness about the company.
FNP will also invest in technology to smoothen User Interface and shore up its ecommerce play. The infusion will also help the company set up hubs in metro cities to effectively cater to clients living in the cities.
Speaking to Inc42, FNP Managing Director, Vikaas Gutgutia said, “I wanted the brand to go to the next level via an IPO but it was suggested to me that we should go for the P (as in Public) first and in then it would sense to go for an IPO at a later date.”
Gutgutia also highlighted his background in the floral business, saying that he had an idea about the working of the industry and when he saw a lacunae in the segment, he jumped right into it.
On An Expansion Drive
The company currently operates more than 400 franchise outlets in 125 cities across India.
The company aims to open 70 new stores in this financial year itself, adding that it plans to have more than 1,000 outlets in the next three years.
On the international front, FNP has presence in three countries namely UAE, Singapore and Qatar Doha.
Speaking to Inc42, Gutgutia said that It also plans to expand into Saudi Arabia by next month and afterwards, will add a new territory to its kitty every two months.
He further added that the company was now focusing on Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities where the floral business was now emerging and could help speed up the company’s evolution in the coming years.
The company also plans to hire more on the management side. Gutgutia said that it plans to add more CMOs and CFOs to its fold in a bid to streamline its operations.
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Thriving Numbers And Aggressive Strategy
Speaking about expansion plans, FNP MD also told Inc42 that the company was looking to eventually follow the Uber model, wherein users would get their flowers delivered right at the click of a button at their doorsteps.
Despite COVID pummeling supply chain, the company continues to register 40% annual growth rate. Backed by impressive numbers, the gifting firm aims to achieve a turnover of nearly INR 600 Cr in the current financial year itself.
But what helped it sail through?
In a bid to minimise the fallout of the pandemic, the company opted for innovative offers and aggressive scale up plans to woo customers. FNP launched a slew of digital gifting options to woo customers during the lockdown including musician on call, digital caricatures, celebrity video messages and more.
This was also reflected when the startup recently ventured into the baby care space with the launch of its BabyBless platform.
The Gifting Major
Founded in 1994 by Vikaas Gutgutia, Ferns N Petals is a pioneer in the gifting segment. The company started with a single store in Delhi and has now expanded across the country delivering a slew of gifting services. It was also one of the first in India to adopt the ecommerce model in 2002.
The company has more than 40,000 products across various categories including cakes, flowers, plants, chocolates, and personalised merchandise. The company claims to cater to more than 2 Mn customers annually across Asia.
In addition, the company also has a dedicated arm that deals with corporates for their gifting needs. Its corporate clients range across sectors like Pharma, FMCG, BFSI and even PSUs.
Some major customers of the firm include Volkswagen, Maxlife, Metlife, Adobe, Bluestar, Lupin, Abott, among others.
Speaking to Inc42, Vikaas Gutgutia said that the core focus of the company was on the 25-50 age bracket, specifically on the newly financially-independent adults.
The company faces stiff competition from other major market players which include Archies’, IGP, among others.
In response to a query about competition, Gutgutia said that many more digital gifting companies could spawn in the coming years, making ‘the market more and more mature.’ He also said that online gifting was a recent phenomenon, having only emerged in the last 10 years. He further added that the next 10 years could see ‘maturing’ of the industry as the competition heats up.
He also said that the company had no plans for acquisition in the near future and that the company could see ‘healthy next 2 years.’
According to a report, India’s gifting industry was pegged at $119 Mn in 2019 and is expected to soar to $159 Mn by 2025.
Another report stated that the online gifting market in the country was estimated to be around $65 Mn in early 2021 and is expected to soar to $84 Bn by 2024.
The demand has been fueled by more disposable income for the middle class, easy access to personalised gifting and burgeoning gifting culture emerging in the country.