Fashion ecommerce portal Freecultr is in final stages to be acquired by Arvind Internet, an online arm of the textile manufacturer and the flagship company Arvind Group.
Inc42 sources close to the development, confirmed the acquisition and most of the employees have been asked to leave as the company. The core team and founding members will be joining Arvind as the part of the deal.
Mail sent to Freecultr did not elicit any response.
It is also anticipated that Rajesh Naikar, Chief Product Officer & co-founder of Freecultr, who was earlier the CEO Global Sourcing Solutions at Arvind Ltd, would have led the deal.
Last month, Freecultr’s chief product officer Talvinder Singh had quit the company within a few months of joining.
Freecultr is a lifestyle apparel brand started by Sandeep Singh, Rajesh Naikar, Harish Bahl, and Sujal Shah in 2011. Sujal Shah had left the company in 2013 and Nikita Sukheja was appointed on the boards of the company in 2014.
March 2015, the company launched the crowdsourcing platform FREECULTR Express that had over 25,000+ designers on board. The company also operates nine Freecultr-branded brick-and-mortar stores including in the NCR, Mumbai, Dehradun, Lucknow, and Bangalore.
The startup, incubated by the Smile Group, has raised a total funding of more than $13 Mn from investors like Ru-net Holdings and Sequoia Capital. It raised $4 Mn in Series A round from Sequoia Capital in 2011, and $9 Mn in Series B round from Ru-net Holdings in 2012.
Post Series B round, investors gained majority stake in the company, and hence had difference in vision on how to build a brand which eventually has proved not so successful.
Analysing the demand and growth in the ecommerce sector, offline retailers have been acquiring the online retailers in order to furnish them with their expertise. Just last week, Titan, the owner of jewellery chain Tanishq acquired a majority stake in online private label jewellery brand, Caratlane. Before that, Future Group acquired FabFurnish from Rocket Internet for $3 Mn (INR 20 Cr) and plans to re-launch it by merging it with its furniture retail unit HomeTown. In a similar deal, last year, Mahindra Group acquired online store for kids products BabyOye. This is not just the list. Many offline retailers have also launched their online ecommerce portals like Aditya Birla Group launched abof.com, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MF&L), a division of Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd launched Trendin.com, to earn larger share of brand equity.
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