Funding

VelvetCase gets a boost from Uniqorn Ventures and others, raises $1.5M in funding

News Desk
29th Jun 2016
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On Tuesday, online jewellery marketplace VelvetCase.com raised $1.5 million in their second round of funding, led by Uniqorn Ventures with participation of angel investors, TV Mohandas Pai and S Somasegar. According to the company, the funds will be used for strengthening their technology, marketing and seller acquisition initiatives, while developing solutions which are seller centric.

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Earlier the company was reported to raise Rs 6 crore in 2014, in a funding round led by Chennai Angels and other angel investors, including Jacob Kurian, partner at New Silk route Advisors, Arihant Patni, cofounder of Nirvana Venture Advisors, and Jerry Rao, former CEO of software company MphasiS.

Venturing out by selling customised and designer jewellery, VelvetCase moved to a marketplace model in July last year, and has onboarded close to 300 sellers across 28 cities since then.

According to co-founder Kapil Hetamsaria, the firm plans to on board 1000 more sellers in the next six months. The firm is also planning to expand its offline presence by setting kiosks and collaborations with other brands in 8-10 cities. In an interview, Kapil said,

“We are looking to acquire or develop technology that will help sellers set up their online stores, while helping track and manage inventory amongst other things. We may look at other mediums such as print and television advertising as a means to build the brand.”

At present VelvetCase offers over 100,000 designs with an average order value of Rs 30,000. The company charges sellers a commission of 7-35 percent per sale, while receiving a repeat rate of 32-38 percent from customers.

According to Kapil, VelvetCase exports to 5-7 countries which constitute 10 percent of its total sales. Over the last three months, the core team has been strengthened by hiring senior executives from the likes of Amazon, MakeMyTrip and Pepperfry.

The market

According to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the jewellery market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.95% over 2014-2019.

The gem and jewellery industry’s total market size is supposed to touch USD 90 billion in 2018. Every year at IIJS (India International Jewellery Show) held in Mumbai, more than 1,000 jewellery manufacturers participate and several retailers from all over the world attend the show.

There are funded startups like Bluestone and Caratlane which are easing the buying-and-gifting problem. However, according to Vivek Krishna, founder of personalised jewellery startup AuGrav.com, products sold on Bluestone and Caratlane contribute to only five per cent of the entire jewellery available. 

To give an overview, brands like VelvetCase and WearYourShine are building marketplaces to help offline retailers sell online. WearYourShine recently announced that people could buy online on its website and return it in any of the 40 retail outlets it already has.

There are also niche brands like AuGrav solve the personalisation/customisation problem in gold jewellery and KuberBox, solves it in designer diamond space.

However, selling jewellery online is considered to be difficult in India, especially considering the plethora of offline retailers in neighbourhoods and increasing distrust of customers for online buying.

Website: www.velvetcase.com

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