Bengaluru-based Thrasio-styled startup Mensa Brands, founded by ex-Myntra and Medlife (acquired by PharmEasy) cofounder Ananth Narayanan, has acquired a majority stake in 10 D2C brands within six months of launch.
The startup is eyeing the inclusion of 50+ ventures across fashion, home, garden, personal care, and beauty, in its portfolio by FY24.
Mensa Brands’ current acquisition includes Pune-based women apparel brand Karagiri, Delhi NCR-based jewellery brand Priyaasi and men’s casualwear brand Hubberholme, Mumbai-based men’s casual wear brand Dennis Lingo, women ethnic wear brand Ishin and smart FMCD startup Helea, Jaipur-based ethnic wear brand Anubhutee, Ahemdabad-based men’s personal care brand Villain among others.
The startup states that it invests in new-age consumer brands that are profitable and have revenue between $1 Mn and $10 Mn. While Narayanan declined to divulge the deal, he told Inc42 that Mensa buys out a majority stake (50-60%) within the brand at 5-7x the EBITDA of the company.
He added that the team brings in-house domain expertise in marketplace-native technology, data mining and digital marketing, category management and operations, brand building and global expansion; thus, thrusting the brands into the ecommerce segment with an omnichannel strategy, financial support, geographical expansion, and process optimisation.
The startup, founded in April 2021, claims to be profitable — “one of the earliest profitable startups within six months of launch,” Narayanan puts it.
“As we eye 50+ brands in the next three years, we are looking for great founders, partnerships, and we want to continue to scale,” he added.
Backed by Accel Partners, Falcon Edge Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, as well as angel investors such as CRED’s Kunal Shah, Cure.fit’s Mukesh Bansal, DST Global’s Rahul Mehta and Tiger Global’s Scott Shleifer, the startup has previously raised $50 Mn in a mix of equity and debt — debt from Alteria and InnoVen Capital. It has also raised $33 Mn in an undisclosed venture series.
Recently, reports also claimed that Mensa would be the youngest unicorn in the country. Refuting the speculations, Narayanan said, “We have all the funds that we need right now — venture as well as debt — and we are profitable, so we are not looking to raise funds right now.”
The Rise Of Thrasio-Styled Models In India
Mensa Brands follows a business model similar to US-based Thrasio which acquires independent D2C brands on Amazon and converts those into white-label brands owned under the Thrasio branding. In fact, US-based Thrasio may reportedly enter the Indian market with its first local acquisition of Delhi NCR-based home appliances startup Lifelong Online.
However, Mensa Brands isn’t the first such adoptor of the Thrasio-model in India — some popular names include Supam Maheshwari’s FirstCry’s GlobalBees, Rishi Vasudev’s GOAT Brand Labs, Utsav Agarwal & Pulkir Chhabra’s Evenflow, Bhavana Suresh’s 10Club, Presight Capital-backed Upscalio, and FJ Labs-backed Powerhouse91.
Testament to the rising Thrasio-style acquisitions, in the last 15 days, 10club has announced the acquisition of two brands — sports and fitness equipment brand, Skudgear and baby products brand My Newborn. On the other hand, GlobalBees portfolio currently includes sustainable home care products company The Better Home and women-focused D2C brand andMe.