Funding will be used for marketing, adding new business categories and brands, and expanding warehousing space.
IDG Ventures India led a $14 million Series B investment into Brainbees Solutions Pvt Ltd., which owns the FirstCry.com and GoodLife.com brands. SAIF Partners, the first institutional investor in Brainbees participated equally in the round, having earlier invested $4 million in the company in May 2011.
IDG Ventures' Manik Arora joins Ravi Adusumalli & Mukul Arora from SAIF Partners on the board of the company. IDG Ventures' US arm has been an investor in BabyCenter.com in the late 1990s and the company was acquired by eToys in a stock deal. The investment will be utilized for marketing, adding new business categories and brands, and expanding warehousing space. In addition, Brainbees will accelerate its growth in existing categories, recruit employees for expanding the supply chain and overall customer experience.
With GoodLife and FirstCry, BrainBees has also been able to do a lot of cross-selling, especially to young couples. Interestingly, FirstCry.com now has highest repeat customer base in the Indian e-commerce industry of over 50 per cent. BrainBees could also be looking at other verticals going ahead.
IDG Ventures' Arora said factors working for Firstcry.com are speed of growth of this market with coupled with lack of quality products in the offline market. Also, the convenience of delivery makes this appealing to young couples.
While the overall size of the market (including online and offline) is $10 billion in India, at least 5 per cent is expected to be online in an unorganised market in the coming years, said Saif's Mukul Arora. Currently around half a per cent of this market is online.
Pune-based Brainbees started operations in late 2010 and operates FirstCry.com, which has now become the top e-commerce platform in India for kids, babycare and maternity care. It offers products for moms, babies and kids from leading national & international brands. Its product catalogue includes infant accessories (diapers, toiletries, baby food, stroller, furniture), apparel, footwear, books, toys etc. for children up to the age of 15 years.
Around 2-3 months back, Brainbees also launched personal care products e-tailer GoodLife.com. The site provides products ranging from skin care products like face wash, toners, etc to healthcare products (nutritional drinks) like protein shakes and weight gainers, among others.
Brainbees currently has one warehouse in Pune from where it ships products to over 2,000 towns and cities across India. Brainbees has a collection of over 25,000 SKUs across FirstCry.com and GoodLife.com with brands such as Kimberly Clark, L’Oreal, Mattel, Revlon, Funskool and Disney.
BrainBees Solutions was formed by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha. In 2007, Maheshwari exited his e-learning company Brainvisa Technologies, an organisation he had co-founded and built over the course of eight years as its CEO, and employed 450 people. The e-learning firm, backed by Infiniti Ventures and Sequoia Capital, was acquired by Bangalore-based BPO firm Indecomm Global Services. Saha, the co-founder at Firstcry.com, previously headed the sales and business operations at Brainvisa Technologies. The IIM-L graduate currently heads marketing and customer acquisition for the site. “The FirstCry and GoodLife brands have achieved clear leadership in e-commerce for both baby and beauty products. We will continue this dominance and will also extend this position into new categories. We are delighted to have IDG Ventures as an investor given their successful track-record with Internet companies globally. We plan to use the funds to focus on providing customer delight by extending our product selection, shipping from multiple warehouses and investing to enhance the overall customer shopping experience,” says Maheshwari, Founder and CEO of Brainbees.
“IDG is delighted to invest in Brainbees Solutions, the #1 online company in both the baby and beauty products market. This is over a $10 billion market, which is well placed to move online. Supam and Amitava are seasoned entrepreneurial leaders who have clearly demonstrated their ability to build and scale-up a world-class organization. As early investors in Babycenter.com, the first global success story in this segment, IDG Ventures looks forward to partnering with Brainbees to rapidly extend the company’s leadership position," said Arora, Founder and Managing Director of IDG Ventures India Advisors.
"This second round of funding validates their market dominance. As active investors in Internet companies in Asia, we believe that Brainbees has all the makings of a successful company. It is sustaining its rapid growth trajectory and expanding its customer base while maintaining one of the highest repeat customer metrics in the industry," said Ravi Adusumalli, Managing Partner of SAIF Partners.