VelvetCase, a Mumbai-based online jewellery marketplace has secured $1.5 Mn in second round of funding. The investment was led by Uniqorn Ventures Fund and angel investors – T. V. Mohandas Pai and S. Somasegar via the LetsVenture platform.
Existing investors including The Chennai Angels also participated in this round. The company plans to utilise the raised funds technology, marketing and seller acquisition. It raised the first round of $1 Mn funding in November 2014.
Kayar Raghavan of The Chennai Angels has been on the board of directors at VelvetCase since the first round and will continue to participate in the board. In addition, Shiraz Bugwadia of Uniqorn Ventures Fund will be joining the board of directors.
VelvetCase was launched in 2012 by Kapil Hetamsaria and Runit Shah with an aim to connect Indian customers with international and Indian jewellery designers. The platform also allows its customers to send their own designs, which are then converted into the final piece of jewellery. Manufacturing is done in India.
It has now grown over 300% Y-o-Y with a unique cost-effective business model – no inventory, rich customer service, higher value product sales. Over the last 3 months, the core team has been strengthened with the hiring of experienced leaders from the likes of Amazon, MakeMyTrip & Pepperfry.
“The intersection of jewellery domain knowledge with experience of building cutting-edge technology is very rare to find and build, and we have done it reasonably well at VelvetCase,” says Kapil Hetamsaria, CEO of the company.
The portal claims to have a jeweller base of 300 plus from over 25 cities in India. It showcase jewellery designs from across the country. For instance, heritage Polki/Kundan jewellery from Jaipur, gold Temple Jewellery from Coimbatore, diamond jewellery from Bombay and Surat and more.
“To assure consumers of the quality of the jewellery, we have built our ‘VelvetCase Verified’ proposition in such a way that each product shipped to the customer passes through a stringent check for metal, gemstone, and manufacturing quality, and bears our assurance of trust, before being shipped out via secured logistics,” added Runit Shah, COO of VelvetCase.
Earlier this year, Online jewellery brand, Melorra, also raised $5 Mn from LightBox Ventures at the seed stage. Other prominent startups in this space are BlueStone, Caratlane, Pipa + Bella, Fourseven, Voylla and more.
The global market for jewellery is likely to beat USD 257 billion by 2017. In India, 96% of the total players in this industry are small family-owned businesses. There are over 2.5 million jewellery shops in India, around 450,000 goldsmiths and 100,000 gold jewelers. It is estimated that by 2020 the online sales of fine jewellery might reach 10% and that of fashion jewellery may reach around 15%.