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Men's Grooming Startup Ustraa Raises Fresh Funding From Info Edge, Others

New Delhi-based men’s grooming startup Ustraa has raised INR 16.8 Cr (approximately $2.1 Mn) in a strategic funding round led by Info Edge’s subsidiary Startup Investments. The round also saw participation from IIFL Seed Ventures and Wipro Enterprises.

According to regulatory filings accessed by Inc42, Info Edge has invested INR 7.5 Cr, while IIFL Seed Ventures Fund-II and Wipro Enterprises have pumped in INR 6.3 Cr and INR 3 Cr, respectively.

Ustraa’s parent company, Happily Unmarried, passed a special resolution to issue 1,960 Series I preference shares at an issue price of INR 85,711.84 per share.

The development was first reported by Entrackr.

Ustraa had last raised INR 20 Cr as part of its Series H funding round From IIFL Seed Ventures Fund in February last year.

Founded in 2003 by Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, Ustraa is a D2C men’s grooming startup whose portfolio includes shampoo, face wash, hair oil, beard oil, and other products. It largely sells its products via its web portal, ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart, and third-party retail outlets.

According to Crunchbase, the startup has so far raised $10.8 Mn in funding.

Ustraa reported a revenue of INR 38.73 Cr and a loss of INR 22.86 Cr in financial year 2022-21 (FY21).

The startup primarily operates in a space where its competitors are backed by consumer goods giants and conglomerates. It competes with Marico-owned Beardo, Emami-backed The Man Company, Reckitt Benckiser-backed Bombay Shaving Company, among others.

The men’s grooming market continues to remain untapped and pales in comparison to women’s beauty and personal care market. However, sales of these products have shot up over the last few years as the attitude towards men’s grooming is changing.

Amid the booming demand, a host of new entrants have emerged in the space and have received backing from consumer goods companies looking to diversify their portfolio.

Scaling Up Business

“The men’s grooming stage is at a nascent stage with the traditional players not innovating. While online is a strong platform, GT (general trade) continues to have a strong hold, hence expansion here is key. A company needs to expand into other channels to protect itself from channel concentration risk,” Tuli was recently quoted as saying.

As of July, Ustraa had a presence across 9,000 outlets in the general trade as well as the standalone modern trade verticals. Tuli also said that the startup receives a bulk of its sales, around 70-72%, from the online channel, and he expects the digital mix to reduce to 65% in the next couple of years.

With 120 distributors across India, Ustraa has also onboarded around 500-600 beauty advisors to sell products. Targeted largely at the young population, Ustraa claims to have a gross margin in excess of 70% with a net annualised run rate (ARR) of INR 1.2 Bn. The company targets to achieve an ARR of INR 1.5 Bn-INR 1.7 Bn by the end of the current year.

According to a report, the men’s grooming market in India was pegged at INR 140.50 Bn at the end of 2018 and is projected to soar to INR 319.82 Bn by 2024.

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