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Delhi-based men’s grooming startup Bombay Shaving Company (BSC) has raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from new investors such as Colgate-Palmolive Asia Pacific Limited, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive, and existing investor Fireside Ventures.
Bombay Shaving Company plans to use the funding to invest in brand building, product development, and expanding its capabilities in technology and sales.
As part of the transaction, Colgate-Palmolive has picked up a minority financial stake in the company.
The Bombay Shaving Company, an online private label brand for male grooming products, was founded in October 2015 by Shantanu Deshpande, Raunak Munot, Deepu Panicker, and Rohit Jaiswal.
BSC, which launched officially in May 2016, designs and sells high-end shaving products. It has a portfolio of over 30 products across the shaving, bath and body, skin, and beard care categories.
BSC claims that it has more than 80K customers and is available at 500 offline stores.
Shantanu Deshpande, the chief executive officer of Bombay Shaving Company and a former McKinsey consultant, said, “We’re thrilled to have raised this round from stellar investors focused in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) space. All our investors to date have a track record of being patient, supportive, financial backers with a learning intent. Building a consumer brand in India needs time, capital, and long-term vision. After having proven product-market fit with promising repeat rates and product response, we are now looking to scale the brand.”
The company claims that it has been reporting a 100% quarterly growth rate.
Prior to this round, BSC raised $2.3 Mn Pre-Series A funding in a round led by Fireside Ventures in August 2017. It also secured $600K in an angel funding round from more than 25 investors in August 2016, led by the former vice-chairman of TCS and advisor to the Prime Minister, Subramanian Ramadorai, and McKinsey India managing director Noshir Kaka.
“We met with the team from Colgate-Palmolive and were very excited by the synergies across technology, direct-to-consumer distribution, and supply chain. The young team at BSC stands to leverage decades of experience in Colgate-Palmolive to grow the BSC brand and reach,” said S Ramadorai, former vice-chairman at TCS and a long-term backer of BSC.
The company had inked partnerships with BigBazaar and Affinity Salons. In an earlier interaction with Inc42, the founders indicated that they wanted to enter the men’s grooming category and build an FMCG company that is Internet-first.
Kanwaljit Singh, founder of Fireside Ventures and a board member of BSC said, “India is premiumising (sic) rapidly. Young men in India are demanding more thoughtfully made products and a better choice. The BSC team has been able to quickly ramp up its product portfolio and expansion of its online platform. We see BSC building a strong brand with emotional appeal and a compelling product narrative.”
Men’s grooming is speculated to be a fast-growing category in the FMCG space in India with growth rates estimated at 30% annually.
Ecommerce companies such as Flipkart, Amazon India, Nykaa, and Purplle are some of the well-known brands that sell male grooming products online, typically under a separate category on their flagship platforms.
In the past few years, brands such as Ustraa by Happily Unmarried have entered the market, seeking to offer slightly premium products. We also have players such as The Man Company, Beardo, etc, challenging established players such as Emami and Gillette.
Recently, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Amazon India co-developed a line of hair and men grooming products.
The country’s overall beauty, cosmetics and grooming industry currently stands at $6.5 Bn and is poised to touch $20 Bn by 2025.
A TechSci Research estimates that India men’s grooming products market stood at $1.4 Bn in 2016 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15% during 2017-2022, to reach $3.3 Bn by 2022.
Increase in disposable incomes, hectic lifestyles leading to early ageing, urbanisation, and adoption of western culture are a few of the driving factors aiding the growth of the country’s men’s grooming products market.
The Bombay Shaving Company and its competitors have hit upon an existing industry that was just waiting for revival with their freshly thought-of and premium products, and have a substantial market to explore.
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