Mumbai-based D2C brand Sugar Cosmetics has raised $2 Mn in a debt led by Delhi-based venture debt firm Stride Ventures in the first tranche of the Series C funding round.
The company plans to use the funds to keep pace with working capital and inventory requirements and fuel growth through the peak sales season.
Stride Ventures has partnered with a private bank for the deal. Additionally, Stride Ventures will be a strategic partner in Sugar’s growth journey, with its customised offerings and relationships across banks and corporates, the company said in a release.
Founded by Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee in 2015, Sugar is currently present in retail chains such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central, Health & Glow, NewU, who receive products from the company’s logistics partners, just like at its standalone retail stores. When it comes to online marketplaces, the company has partnered with Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart and Nykaa. It also operates across 2,400 outlets in over 130 cities.
Vineeta Singh, cofounder and CEO, Sugar Cosmetics said, “Sugar plays in a high gross margin category which makes debt a fantastic choice for us. With superior product-market fit and long-term growth appetite, we are excited about working with Stride and their partner private bank and announce $2 Mn as the first tranche of the Series C funding that we hope to close later this year.”
Sugar crossed INR 100 Cr in net revenue for FY2020 and with revenue share from its native D2C app and website growing to 65% in August 2020 from 35% before March 2020. The startup is funded by five investors. A91 Partners and RB Investments Pte. Ltd. are the most recent investors.
Since 2017, the company has added over 40 exclusive brand outlets or kiosks and has a presence in over 1,750 retail touchpoints.
Sugar Managing Covid-19 Disruption
Singh told Inc42 that all discretionary spending like performance marketing ads were pulled, discussions were initiated with business partners for extended credit periods and most importantly — the pay cuts were offset by employees being offered 4X the forgone amount through ESOPs.
“Thanks to the collaborative effort and sacrifices of the team, we played as one and battled this together. Even our retail store colleagues pitched in by clocking brisk sales via their WhatsApp groups and networks to help the company generate revenues during the lean months,” Singh told about the early days in the lockdown.
According to the Inc42 Plus report, from 2016 to 2019, D2C ecommerce grew at three to six times the rate of overall ecommerce sales. In 2019, D2C sales reached $14.28 Bn and in 2020, the sales is predicted to grow by 24.3%, to $17.75 Bn.
The average revenue surge of 11 prominent and funded D2C startups in India including Ustraa, The Man Company, Yoga Bar, NUA, The Moms Co and others between 2018 and 2019 was 213%, whereas the expense surge during the same period was 151%.