Marico Limited has announced a strategic investment in Apcos Naturals Private Limited with an acquisition of 60% equity stake for an undisclosed consideration. This equity stake will be acquired over a period of two years, through primary infusion and secondary buyouts.
Prior to this Marico has made strategic investments in companies such as men’s grooming brand Beardos and Mumbai-based Revofit.
The investment is in line with Marico’s strategy to accelerate its digital transformation journey through building scalable digital-first brands, either organically or inorganically, as well as to premiumise its play in personal care.
Cofounded by CEO, Arush Chopra, and Brand Director, Megha Sabhlok, Apcos Naturals Private Limited owns ‘Just Herbs’, a line of Ayurvedic skin and hair care offerings. While the brand garners majority of its business through its own D2C website, it is also available on online marketplaces (Amazon, Flipkart and Nykaa) and its exclusive offline stores in select cities.
According to Saugata Gupta, managing director and CEO, Marico Limited, the investment is another step towards the company’s aspiration to build a portfolio of at least three INR 100 Cr plus digital brands within the next three years.
Founded by Harsh Mariwala in 1990, Marico’s portfolio of brands include names such such as Parachute, Saffola, Saffola FITTIFY Gourmet, Saffola ImmuniVeda, Saffola Arogyam, Saffola Mealmaker, Hair & Care, Parachute Advansed, Nihar Naturals and Mediker. During FY 2020-21, Marico recorded a turnover of about INR 80.5 Bn ($1.1 Bn) through its products sold in India and chosen markets in Asia and Africa.
The international consumer products portfolio contributes to approximately 23% of revenues, with brands like Parachute, Parachute Advansed, HairCode, Fiancée, Caivil, Hercules, Black Chic, Code 10, Ingwe, X-Men, Mediker SafeLife, Thuan Phat and Isoplus.
D2C startups have lately received larger investor attention in the past few quarters. According to Inc42 Plus’ latest funding data, in the quarter of the year ended March 2021 (Q1 2021), D2C startups raised $142 Mn, which was 27% of the total funding for ecommerce startups. More importantly, between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, the funding amount for D2C startups has registered a 93% average quarterly growth.
Examples of D2C startups in the personal care and beauty sector that raised funding include Sugar Cosmetics, which raised $21 Mn in a Series C round led by Elevation Capital, and personal care brand Juicy Chemistry, which raised $6.3 Mn in a Series A round led by Belgium-based family-owned private investment firm Verlinvest.
Among Apcos Naturals’ Ayurveda competitors, The Ayurveda Company (TAC) recently raised an undisclosed amount in various rounds of funding from GetVantage, Velocity, and Shiprocket Capital through revenue-based financing.
According to Research and Markets, an Ireland-based market research organisation, the ayurveda market in India was valued at INR 30K Cr in 2018 and is expected to reach INR 71K Cr by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 16.06% during the forecast period.
In essence, modernising ayurvedic products and making them more relevant to new-age consumers have been an ongoing process. In recent years, startups such as Mamaearth, Kapiva Ayurveda, Gynoveda, AADAR and Durmeric have entered the niche segment and are trying to reposition ayurveda in the mainstream consumer market.