ETtech Deals Digest: Mensa Brands is India's fastest unicorn

India minted another unicorn this week as Mensa Brands, the ecommerce roll-up firm founded by former Myntra CEO and Medlife cofounder Ananth Narayanan, entered the unicorn club.

Mensa Brands

Mensa Brands
raised $135 million in a new funding round led by Alpha Wave Ventures (Falcon Edge Capital). Prosus Ventures (previously Naspers) joined the fundraising as a new investor.

The firm is now valued at over $1 billion within six months of starting operations, making it the fastest startup to enter the ever-growing group of Indian unicorns—firms valued at $1 billion or more.

Existing investors like Accel, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger also participated in the round. In total, Mensa has raised $300 million in equity and debt funding.

It has acquired around a dozen brands already and is working on closing another 20 such deals, Narayanan said. Mensa intends to use the funding to continue to grow its portfolio and will use the new capital to invest in hiring across functions and continue building out its tech platform and other growth capabilities.


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Ecommerce beauty platform
Purplle has raised $60 million from Premji Invest, the family office of Wipro founder chairman Azim Premji, valuing the direct-to-consumer brand at $630 million, regulatory filings showed.

Kedaara Capital invested $75 million in the company last fortnight.

Purplle is expected to utilise the fresh funds for acquisitions and its offline retail push., a revenue-based financing startup,
landed $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. The firm plans to deploy over Rs 1,000 crore in India’s ecommerce brands, it said in a release.

Other investors who participated in the round include Presight Capital, Utsav Somani’s iSeed, Maninder Gulati (Oyo), Zac Prince (BlockFi) and Philippe De Mota (Hedosophia).

Combined with the $10 million seed round announced earlier this year, this brings Velocity’s total equity raised till date to $30 million.


Ecommerce enablement platform GoKwik
picked up $15 million in a Series A funding round, led by Sequoia Capital India. Existing investors Matrix Partners India and RTP Global also participated in the round

The company plans to use the funds to expand its client base to social commerce startups, scale up the product and technology teams and launch new products. It also plans to double its 75-people team.

“From a business point of view, our goal is to now help the fast-growing social commerce sector,” cofounder and CEO Chirag Taneja told ET.


Enterprise skilling startup Disprz
raised $13 million in its Series B funding round, led by Dallas Venture Capital and Mars Growth Capital.

Existing investors Go1 (an Australian unicorn in this space), Tara India Fund IV being managed by KOIS, Auctus Capital (the family office of Vikas Phadnis, cofounder of Euro Kids) and Kae Capital (a leading seed fund) also participated in the round.

Disprz will use the capital to build industry-specific product solutions, establish a sales and marketing division in the United States, and expand its existing presence in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Other key deals

  • Mindhouse, a Gurugram-based curative wellness platform, has raised $6 million (about Rs 45 crore) in a seed funding round led by Flipkart’s cofounder Binny Bansal.
  • PhonePe, part of the Walmart Inc-controlled Flipkart Group, has conducted an ESOP buyback worth Rs 135 crore, but the company’s founders—Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari—have given it a miss.
  • Trifecta Capital has raised Rs 750 crore towards the first close of its third fund, Trifecta Venture Debt Fund, within two months of launch.
  • Better Capital, a VC firm run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vaibhav Domkundwar, has raised its maiden fund of $15.28 million to scale its pre-seed and seed investment strategy, the company said.
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