Online fashion rental platform Flyrobe raises $5.3 million in Series A funding led by IDG Ventures. This round also saw participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital and the Tokyo-based fund GREE Ventures, its first investment in India.
Flyrobe was founded by IIT Bombay alumni - Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena - in September last year. It had earlier raised $1.7 million in seed funding from Sequoia India. They also have had angel investments from Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl, Founders of Snapdeal; Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon, Founders of Freecharge; Leon Seynave, Chairman of Stanhope Capital; Zishaan Hayath, CEO of Toppr; and Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm.
With this round of funding, the total funding raised by Flyrobe will be $7 million. Speaking of what the funding will primarily be used for, Shreya, CEO of Flyrobe, said:
With this round of funding we will be strongly focusing on expansions, increasing the team strength in on the technology, business and product side. We currently are a strength of 31, and are looking to touch a team size of 45 in the next six months.
Flyrobe claims to have partnered with designer labels like Outhouse, Masaba Gupta, Ritu Kumar, and Shehla Khan. Live in Mumbai and Delhi, the team recently launched in Hyderabad and will be going live in Bengaluru in the next few days.
The platform supplies western wear on-demand with a three-hour delivery timeline and the ethnic wear on advance booking. The team claims that their average order value is close to other fashion sites. They say that the number of app downloads on android is approximately 75,000. While the app draws mixed reactions from customers, it has a 4.3 rating on the Google PlayStore. The team is launching their iOs app soon.
The team is also aggressively looking to onboard designers. “We have on-boarded 50 designers so far; not all are live on the platform yet, but will go live by September end. We have been aggressively scaling our supply as offering a great assortment to customers is key in this business. By March 2017, we hope to have over 150 designers,” said Shreya.
Pranay, Co-founder and COO of Flyrobe, adds that they have also partnered with French Laundry Company 5asec, to ensure complete hygiene and garment care.
As of April this year, Shreya said that they had served over 4,500 customers ranging from 18-year-old college girls to 35-year-old working women. Some of Flyrobe’s key clients include Parineeti Chopra and Sunny Leone.
Speaking of why they chose to invest in Flyrobe, Karan Mohla, Executive Director and Head of Consumer Tech and Media at IDG Ventures India, said that there is a massive latent demand for aspirational products that Flyrobe provides easy access to. Through two of their portfolio companies - Myntra and Zivame, IDG Ventures believes that they have made some right decisions in the first phase of fashion e-commerce. IDG sees social commerce and shared economy as the next leg of growth in the sector. Karan mentioned that Flyrobe is positioned well in the rental economy among its peers and can expand into C2C(consumer to consumer) business easily(if required). He added that with the tie-ups with prominent designers and growing brand offerings, Flyrobe is a vantage position. The founders' background in product tech gives them an advantage over others in the segment.
Yusuke Amano, CEO and Partner at GREE Ventures, said that they are excited to partner with Flyrobe as their first investment in India. He added that the evolving fashion needs of the Indian market works completely in favour towards supporting Flyrobe.
Speaking of their future plans, Shreya said that they plan to grow by over 4x by March 2017.
In the past few months, the online fashion rental space has been exploding. In the last 10 years funding worth over $166 million has been pumped in the space.
There are several startups mushrooming in this rental and re-selling space – Spoyl, Revamp my Closet, Once Again, Exchange Room, Elanic and Etashee to name a few. Two of which have even been funded small seed amounts.
For a category that is still in its nascent stage, there are quite a few business models. For instance, Revamp My Closet claims to have the largest inventory, whereas Elanic follows an app-only, social network model.