[Funding alert] Alia Bhatt backed Phool raises $8M Series A investment

The latest round of funding was led by Sixth Sense Ventures. The round also saw participation from existing investors Alia Bhatt and IAN fund.
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Biomaterial startup, and fragrance-focussed wellness brand, Phool has raised $8 million in Series A funding, led by consumer fund, Sixth Sense Ventures. The round also saw participation from existing investors, actress Alia Bhatt and IAN fund.

With this fundraise, Phool plans to scale operations further, explore untapped domestic and global growth opportunities and build India’s largest fragrance brand. Furthermore, it will also rapidly scale R&D efforts to make animal leather obsolete with Fleather, the revolutionary vegan alternative to animal leather.

Alia Bhatt

Speaking on the funding, Founder Ankit Agarwal said, “In a short time, our modest efforts have managed to create a dent in the Indian fragrance industry. Phool as a brand today is synonymous with luxury fragrance products on account of our unwavering focus on superior product experience, and honest ingredients. We plan to transform the global home fragrance market, and build a distinct brand with our product range. We have already made strong inroads in the rapidly growing Indian market that has been starved for good quality products. The Sixth Sense investment is a testament to our vision to build a global fragrance brand from India. I believe Nikhil’s acumen and knack for unlocking opportunities will fuel our growth story in the years to come. ”

Phool.co has transformed the way Indian consumers look at home fragrances with their award-winning incense made from temple flowers. Reigniting India’s $3.2 billion home fragrance category, Phool has turned the jaded incense category into an experiential lifestyle one.

The brand has successfully captured the fascination of consumers looking for superior home-fragrance options, and made incense a part of their daily wellness routines. With a DNA driven by transformative innovation, and deep R&D, this IIT-backed startup has also put India on the global innovation map with their path-breaking invention, Fleather - ‘leather made from flowers'.

Nikhil Vohra, Founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures, said“The under-penetrated home fragrances industry presents a large, white space to be exploited. Plus, a clear shift to natural and sustainable alternatives is creating a strong demand for Phool’s products. The brand’s premium and international appeal can be easily leveraged across the globe, presenting a huge untapped opportunity for Phool's certified, Indian-origin products.

He added, "A keen innovator and acute executioner, Ankit and his unrelenting spirit has led him to build an outstanding team with multiple patents to their name. Their moonshot, Fleather, is a game-changing innovation, and presents a massive potential opportunity. Super thrilled to partner with Ankit and team to dominate the global market”

Fleather, a breakthrough material that performs and feels exactly like leather, is non-animal and non-plastic. The revolutionary material is an answer to the underserviced, rapidly growing, consumer demand for a vegan, cruelty-free alternative to animal leather. With this indigenous, homegrown alternative, Phool plans to transform the $550 billion global leather goods industry.

Speaking on the latest investment, Alia Bhatt, who is known for her environmental initiatives, said, “Phool incense is now my chosen gift for most special occasions. The natural fragrances and packaging are exquisite. Less chemical and floral waste means cleaner rivers so these products are also a gift to our planet. I believe Phool will be an important global aromatherapy story to emerge from India. And the company’s plant-based leather will also be a more humane choice for the world’s top luxury brands. As a Phool customer and as an investor, I’m putting my money where my belief is.”

With a solid IP portfolio in its kitty, Phool has signed pilots with some of the world’s largest fashion houses. Awarded the Best Innovation in Vegan Fashion by PETA , Fleather is the answer to one of the world’s highest polluting industries.

For its endeavours to make innovative and sustainable products, Phool.co has received several international recognitions including the prestigious United Nations Young Leaders Award for Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Momentum of Change Award at COP, Asia Sustainability Award, Hong Kong, Alquity Transforming Lives Awards, London, and Breaking the Wall of Science, Berlin.

Earlier, Phool.co had raised a seed round from IAN Fund, Social Alpha (FISE), Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (San Francisco), and IIT Kanpur.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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