FirstCry’s GlobalBees, a Thrasio-style venture which will look to invest and acquire online D2C businesses, has raised $150 Mn in a mix of equity and debt in a Series A led by the parent company FirstCry and some of the ecommerce unicorn’s investors. Besides this Lightspeed Venture Partners has also invested in GlobalBees in what is one of the largest Series A funding rounds in the Indian startup history.
The company announced that Vikas Agnihotri, operating partner at Softbank Investment Advisers, Lightspeed’s partner Harsha Kumar, Atul Gupta of Premji Invest, Sudhir Sethi of Chiratae Ventures and Kshitij Sheth of Chrys Capital will join the GlobalBees board.
With the funds raised, the company says it will look to partner with digitally-native brands in beauty, personal care, home, kitchen, food, nutrition, sports and lifestyle categories. It will target online sellers that have an annual revenue rate of $1 Mn-$20 Mn, which as per the company, is proof of a great product-market fit. The company’s statement also claimed that 4,200+ new brands on Amazon India crossed INR 1 Cr in sales in 2020, which indicates the large potential addressable base for the model.
GlobalBees invests in and acquires seller businesses on Amazon India, Flipkart and other ecommerce marketplaces. The company has offices in Delhi and Bangalore and will leverage the presence of the unicorn parent FirstCry in international markets for sourcing and distribution. GlobalBees will look to acquire 30-40 D2C brands across categories. It will deploy the funds over the next 3-4 years, investing $2 Mn-$6 Mn per brand acquisition or investment.
Nitin Agarwal, who founded Brainvisa with FirstCry cofounder Supam Maheshwari in 1999 will lead GlobalBees as the CEO. He said, “GlobalBees aims to unleash the power of product innovation by Indian entrepreneurs and strategically partner with them to help them realize the full potential of their brand and products. Apart from capital, GlobalBees brings in strategic capabilities across marketing & growth, technology, distribution, sourcing, branding, warehousing, logistics, R&D, product development and operations- all things essential to rapidly scale the brands in the digital space.”
The funds raised will play a crucial role in helping GlobalBees hit the scaling targets for these brands globally, he added. It is already in the process of integrating over 10 digitally native brands into its platform. GlobalBees is one of the early adopters of the Thrasio-like model in India. Massachusetts-based startup Thrasio was founded in 2018 and is valued close to $4 Bn. The ecommerce company’s model revolves around acquiring third-party sellers on Amazon in the US and helped them to scale further.
GlobalBees is looking at a similar model and is looking to acquire 30-40 D2C brands across categories, Maheshwari told the audience at this weekend’s The D2C Summit by Inc42 Plus. The founder is confident about the core team from FirstCry pulling off the new venture. “The bond that you build in the first league of your journey takes you a long way because you can build a telepathic understanding of taking roles/responsibilities and deliver as you believe in the vision that you and your team have collectively signed on,” Maheshwari explained.