[Funding alert] Social community platform for women Pankhuri raises $3.2M led by Sequoia’s Surge
Pankhuri, a Bengaluru-based social community platform for women, on Tuesday said it raised $3.2 million in funding led by Surge, a rapid scale-up programme by Sequoia Capital India, alongside India Quotient and Taurus Ventures.
Pankhuri lets women in India network, learn, and shop through live streaming, chat, and cohort-based sessions, enabling them to be active participants in beauty and lifestyle conversations online instead of being passive consumers.
Founded in 2019 by Pankhuri Shrivastava — previously the co-founder of home rental startup Grabhouse — the platform provides users with information on topics, including beauty and personal care, through live and short videos, and encourages ongoing conversation with expert creators through hosted live sessions.
The startup blends entertainment with social commerce, allowing users to browse content and ask questions tailored to their needs while shopping.
CEO and Founder Pankhuri Shrivastava
Pankhuri boasts a completion rate of 95 percent for its live-streamed sessions and has a community of over 250,000 active women, of which over 60 percent have transacted via micropayments on the platform since January 2021.
Speaking on the development, CEO and Founder Pankhuri Shrivastava said,
“For many women, the thought of going online can be a daunting experience, especially given the rise in online bullying and trolling. Very often, these women also face social barriers, which restrict them from pursuing their aspirations and socialising outside of their homes. Pankhuri was created with the ambition to break down these barriers facing millions of women in India, improving their digital literacy and empowering them to regain their right to expression.”
"Beauty products and services are one of the first high involvement verticals, which will get disrupted. The characteristics of the vertical — high AOV, very sticky users, and curiosity for newer products and trends make high engagement, creator-driven social commerce a promising opportunity. The tremendous traction and love from women for creator-driven content is building up a thriving and sticky community on Pankhuri," said Madhukar Sinha, Founding Partner, India Quotient.
Pankhuri is backed by India Quotient, Taurus Ventures, and angel investors Farid Ahsan, Krishnan Menon, Kunal Shah, Sai Srinivas, and Sweta Rau.
The startup is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live, and learn better in a rapidly evolving post-pandemic world.