Mahesh Bhupathi’s D2C beauty and wellness brand Scentials has raised close to $6 Mn funding from domestic private equity firm TIW Private Equity (TIW PE). Founded by Bhupathi and Jinesh Mehta, Scentials Beauty Care and Wellness develops its own line of beauty & wellness products, as well as co-branded products with celebrities such as Virat Kohli, Lara Dutta and Salman Khan.
With the funding from TIW PE, the company plans to expand its product offerings and strengthen its distribution network across the country. Founded in 2017, Scentials manufactures and distributes products through multiple brands across deodorant, fragrances and skincare categories.
The company launched Virat Kohli’s’ One8 brand in the fragrance category in January 2019, followed by the launch of “Arias” skincare brand with actress and model Lara Dutta. Scentials’ products and brands are available across formats including Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Health & Glow, More Supermarkets and Amazon.in. The company also sells products through its native ecommerce store.
“Building beauty businesses with influencers has created a lot of value in the west and after Unilever Venture, we are proud to have TIW believe in this opportunity in India and will continue exploring growth categories.” said Bhupathi, a former India Davis Cup tennis player and multiple Grand Slam winner.
In its last funding round, Scentials raised INR 3 Cr in debt funding from angel investors Ambiga Subramanian and Goutham Ekollu in May 2020. Prior to this, Scentials had bagged $3.6 Mn in a funding round led by Unilever’s VC fund Unilever Ventures.
Given that Scentials creates products across beauty categories, it competes with a range of new-age D2C brands as well as legacy products in these categories. According to an Inc42 Plus report, D2C ecommerce startups saw three to six times the growth rate of the overall ecommerce sector. In 2019, D2C sales reached $14.28 Bn and in calendar year 2020, this figure is expected to grow by 24.3% to $17.75 Bn.
The average revenue surge of 11 prominent and funded D2C startups in India including beauty brands such as Ustraa, The Man Company, The Moms Co, Mamaearth and others between 2018 and 2019 was 213%. Besides these, Scentials will have also have to compete with the likes of Pureplay Skin Sciences, the company behind beauty brands Plum and Phy, as well as the likes of SUGAR Cosmetics, which is looking to expand rapidly into the beauty and skincare segment. SUGAR closed its Series C round last week with $21 Mn funding from Elevation Capital.
Family office Credence was the sole advisor to the deal. TIW claimed the investment in Scentials is in line with the PE firm’s philosophy of backing first-generation entrepreneurs with capital for scaling up and growth. It is primarily focussed on consumer-centric startups and companies across FMCG, media, education, digital platforms, financial services and real estate sectors.
Mohit Ralhan, managing partner and chief investment officer at TIW PE, said “The company offers a unique and powerful value proposition with brands envisioned by top celebrities and superior quality products crafted by a team of specialists. The founders have built a solid launchpad bringing a fresh approach to the business and will benefit from the strategic and operational inputs that we bring on the table. We are confident that the business can grow exponentially from here on to become India’s leading personal care business.”