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All things noteworthy in the D2C space
Welcome to this week’s edition of GlobalBees D2C Pulse where we provide curated content on the direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecosystem in India - funding, acquisitions, partnerships, new start-ups, and more.
Hit reply and type away if you have any thoughts about what you read here. If you missed our previous editions, check them out here!
What’s in the news?
🎮 Play Fortnite in comfort & style
One of the reasons why D2C brands are becoming consumers’ preferred choice is their innovative solutions to hidden problems and inconveniences that legacy brands have failed to address so far; e.g. ergonomics i.e. designing utility products in a way that decreases fatigue and increases comfort. New-age brands are launching ergonomic solutions in the mattress (Wakefit), shoes (Neeman’s), earphones (boAt), and computer accessories (Logitech) categories, and impressing the public.
One such company making gaming chairs and furniture, called Green Soul recently got acquired by the consumer brands roll-up company, UpScalio for an undisclosed amount. The exponential rise in WFH, online gaming and schooling led to Green Soul selling 100,000+ chairs in just the last 12 months! Upscalio’s move is in the right direction given the online household furniture market is likely to hit at least USD 1.32 bn by 2026 as more people demand comfortable yet stylish furniture pieces.
🐣 Solving the chicken and egg problem
Most D2C players count on the 3Cs (content, community, commerce) for creating a moat for their brand; but what’s the correct order for executing this 3 pronged strategy? turns out it doesn’t matter! We have seen brands with opposing approaches towards the 3Cs make successful headways in the feminine beauty space and they are now getting ready to disrupt the men’s grooming space as well:
Incnut’s platform first approach: Incnut debuted in 2011 with beauty & wellness blog StyleCraze, followed by parenting blog MomJunction and created an engaged community. It then entered the e-commerce space in 2018 by launching 2 consumer skincare brands - SkinKraft and Vedix.
Vedix, a customised ayurvedic brand is now entering the men’s skincare category. Can we expect a men’s community platform acquisition soon, Incut?
Myglamm’s commerce first approach: Myglamm was launched in 2015 as a beauty products marketplace, and then pivoted to a content community play with the acquisition of content first platforms POPxo and Plixxo.
It now plans to foray into the men’s grooming segment; to take a head start, it has adopted a ‘content first’ strategy this time - it acquired digital media, lifestyle, and pop culture content platform, ScoopWhoop whose 60% of the audience is male. Earlier this month, the Group entered the baby care segment with the acquisition of the baby brand The Moms Co. with plans of leveraging the audience of its digital parenting platform, BabyChakra.
PS: If this acquisition spree goes any longer, we think we will have to earmark a separate section for MyGlamm in each of our weekly newsletters!
🧉Indian beverage market is gettin’ a refreshing makeover
For years, India has felt the need for an ‘upgrade’ in the non-alcoholic beverage segment, which is currently dominated by 2-3 players with their boring, overly sweet, and unhealthy offerings like Maaza, Limca, and flavored milk. People want something more healthy, refreshing, and interesting (it’s all about the oomph)!
New-age brands like Brew House and Jade Forest are tapping into this white space under the packaged non-alcoholic beverage market in India, which is forecasted to reach USD 20.4 bn by 2030 - their offerings include ginger beers and brewed ice tea. We covered this sector in our previous issue here and soon after noticed a hella lot of happenings:
Storia, currently offering no sugar shakes, juices, and natural tender coconut water has raised USD 6 mn funding from Sixth Sense Ventures. It is present across 33 cities across 50,000+ retail outlets in India. Storia will utilize the funds to release more new products and build a wider distribution network.
Svami, primarily known for its flavored tonic water is entering the energy drinks and mass-priced drinks segment in India to compete with Pepsi-Coca Cola monopoly. Svami, you will need a Redbull for this herculean task!
Acquatein - India’s first protein water maker received funding of an undisclosed amount from Eaglewings Ventures. The protein-rich product contains macronutrients and is neither a powder nor a milk-based beverage. It is sugar-free, water-based, and comes in interesting flavors.
👓 Clear Dekho eyes rocket speed growth
The years 2020-21 saw an unprecedented increase in screen time and digital activity as everyone is spending more time at home. This has resulted in increased demand for eyewear, especially for kids. While the D2C poster child of India, Lenskart is busy getting IPO ready, other small players are catching up and trying to swoop in to take a piece of the USD 14 bn eyewear industry in India.
D2C brands aim to provide affordable yet stylish glasses to the masses not just in the numbered glasses category, but also in other eye solutions categories, including blue light filter glasses, polaroid glasses, riding glasses, etc. Other than Lenkart, major players in the affordable online eyewear segment include Fastrack, and then there is a flurry of small players like Peter Jones, Elegante, Intellilens, etc.
Hard to ignore the B2B marketplace swag: ReshaMandi, a company that offers a full-stack digital ecosystem from farm to fashion, raised USD 30 mn in a funding round, led by Creation Investments. Also, Innodesigns, a platform where customers can choose any furniture design and get it built by the listed local SME manufacturers, raised INR 75 cr from the PAN Group.
Spotify <> Shopify: Spotify announced a partnership with Shopify to allow artists on its platform to connect their profile with their Shopify stores, allowing them to market their merchandise directly to fans through the Spotify app! ready for D2C Chai-met-Toast T-shirt?
Cred forays into the neo banking fintech business: with the acquisition of HipBar, a Prepaid Payment Instrument license (PPI) license holder.
Brands that caught our eye!
👗Crack dat style code yo
Stye cracker (backed by Alia Bhatt), runs a subscription service model wherein it curates and sends a box of customized fashion garments and accessories to its users, periodically. The process is pretty simple. A user has to fill an online form initially to help SC decode her style, SC sends the curated box, user can keep what she likes and return the rest - it only makes the next box closer to the user’s preference and taste.
Started by Archana Walavalkar who styles Bollywood actresses, SC provides pseudo personal fashion stylist services to its users, at a very affordable price.
🍏Say Hey to Health
Subscription and curation are not just working well for the apparel segment but also health and skincare categories. Supp Nutrition takes a 3 min survey from a user to understand her health needs and delivers a package with 30 days worth of personalized vitamin packs at her doorstep. Supp Nutrition claims that vitamins take a daily dose of 3 months to get absorbed by the body and start working and aims to remove any hiccups in the consumption process through its subscription model. Similarly, ayurvedic brand Vedix provides customized hair products to customers post taking a short survey and offers multiple subscription packs.
Trend of the week: Sustainable Fashion👕
What’s come mainstay? Minimalism and sustainability: with the focus being the environment. This has impacted the way people shop as well, classic fashion (yep!) is making a comeback over fast fashion. Consumers are also encouraging brands to demonstrate sustainability in their supply chains and innovation in products - brands are designing clothes using coconut malai, banana leaves, bamboo, and whatnot.
Here’s our list of sustainable fashion brands! do add your picks to the list in the reply section below:
Reads & Recommendations
The a16z list of consumer-facing marketplaces blowing up internationally.
Optimizing your Facebook ad copy:
That’s all for this week!
PS: A small correction in our last week’s issue, we might have been a little sleepy on a lazy Sunday and ended up writing ‘Sleepycat’ instead of ‘Sleephead’ as Duroflex’s sub-brand. We bid sleep goodbye yesterday with all the sports happening on Super Sunday!
PPS: Stay tuned for more insights about the D2C start-ups in India.
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