Thursday 9 April 2015

Firstcry raises Rs 62 crore more; to strengthen tech team with focus on mobile

Firstcry, Pune-based baby care and kids' products e-tailer, has raised an additional $10 million (about Rs 62 crore) from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as part of its fourth round of funding. The company had raised $26 million (about Rs 162 crore) in February from Valiant Capital Partners and existing investors IDG Ventures India, Vertex Venture Holdings and SAIF Partners. "We have raised a total of $36 million in this round," Firstcry co-founder and CEO Supam Maheshwari told ETin an email. 

San Francisco-headquartered hedge fund Valiant Capital led the round. NEA's infusion takes the total capital raised to date by Brainbees Solutions, the company that owns Firstcry, to $69 million. 

Menlo Park, California-based NEA brings on board prior investing experience in the baby care and kids' products e-tailing segment courtesy of its investment in the United States-based (acquired by Amazon in 2010). 

"Given our prior experience, we see a lot of similarities in building a successful model here," said Ben Mathias, partner and executive director at NEA. The firm's other investments in India include Naaptol and Nephrolife. 

Firstcry, which sells products both online and through offline franchisee stores, will use the capital raised this year to strengthen its technology team, with astrong focus on mobile. It also plans to expand its private label BabyHug. 

In order to capture a larger consumer base, the e-tailer has also started a content generation platform. "We are focused on building a community of mothers, WorldofMoms, as a part of consumer engagement and the number of non-transacting consumers is high," said Maheshwari. 

Part of the capital raised will also go into expanding its franchisee network, which is currently at 100-plus stores across 85 cities. It aims to have 400 stores in the next three years. 

There has been increased interest in the estimated $5 billion baby care products market in India, with an online share of $100 million (according to Assocham in 2014). Apart from horizontal players such as Amazon and Flipkart, there is Mahindra Partners, which recently acquired online retailer BabyOye to tap into the online customer base.

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