These 6 beauty and wellness startups have become hot targets for investors

Powered by online platforms, these six startups have gained huge popularity among Indian consumers due to the increase in demand for beauty and wellness products at the doorstep.
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According to the Research and Markets report, the beauty and wellness market in India was valued at Rs 901.07 billion in 2018, and is forecast to reach Rs 2,463.49 billion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 18.40 percent during the 2019-2024 period.

The per capita spending on beauty and personal care products was around Rs 450 per annum in 2017, which is expected to increase during the 2019-2024 period, as per the Indian Beauty and Hygiene Association (IBHA).

Rise in the income of the middle-class and awareness about holistic wellbeing among people in India have propelled the demand for beauty products and wellness services.

YourStory has curated a list of those recently funded beauty and personal care startups, which are taking the Indian beauty and wellness market to the next level with their products.

Believe 

Founded in mid-2019 by Ankit Mahajan, the Singapore-based Believe is a consumer products startup that sells skincare, fragrances, make-up, and hair care products. 

It is a house of brands that includes Lafz, ZM, and Dr Rhazes

The startup claims that it has received incredible customer love in Bangladesh and India with a growing base in GCC countries. It is sold in over eight countries and is manufactured across the globe including countries like South Korea, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and the UAE

In April 2022, it raised Series C funding of $55 million from Venturi Partners and IIFL AMC along with the participation from Jungle Ventures, Accel, Alteria Capital and Genesis Alternative Ventures.

This fundraise will help the beauty startup catalyse consolidating market share in Bangladesh and India (via strategic acquisitions) while deepening reach in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and SouthEast Asia (through both organic and inorganic growth) paving the path to becoming a large global consumer packaged goods (CPGs) conglomerate.

Over the last two years, it has cumulatively raised over $80 million. The Series A and Series B fund raises were led by Acceland Jungle Ventures with participation from Wamda Capital, a Middle East based fund.

Plum

Launched in 2013 by Shankar Prasad, Mumbai-based vegan skincare brand Plum Goodness offers cruelty-free and toxin-free beauty products across skincare, haircare, personal care and makeup.

As per the startup, its user base is close to two million across online and offline channels and getting the highest traction from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai among metros.

In March 2022, it raised $35 million in a Series C round led by A91 Partners along with existing investors Unilever Ventures and Faering Capital also participated in the round.

The startup will use the raised funds to accelerate product development and marketing activities.

As per the startup, the latest funding valued the firm at $250 million (around Rs 1,900 crore).

Plum has raised $50 million so far since inception.

In FY21, Pureplay (Plum’s parent) earned Rs 92 crore in total revenue, up from Rs 53 crore earned at the same time last year, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). The company also made a profit (before tax) of Rs 1.72 crore in FY20.

Smytten 

Founded in 2015 by former Googler Swagat Sarangi, and former Unilever executive Siddhartha Nangia, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru-based Smyttenis a premium discovery and trial platform. 

It provides free trials and curated shopping across 15+ lifestyle categories like beauty, skincare, male grooming, food and beverages, health and wellness, and more only on the Smytten App.

The startup says it hosts 900 D2C (direct-to-consumer) brand partners on its platform across varied categories and enables millions of product sampling every month for them. 

Mamaearth, Plum, mCaffeine, etc many leading D2C brands are already leveraging Smytten’s platform to reach relevant users at scale and deliver first-hand product experience through sampling. 

Currently, the startup is present in 15+ categories, and is looking at adding five more categories, and category experts. 

The startup claims to serve over 10 million consumers, and aim to add over 10 million more going forward. Currently 70 percent of its users are women.

 

Recently, the brand raised Rs 100 crore in Pre-Series B funding led by Fireside Ventures and Roots Ventures. The round also saw participation from Sharrp Ventures, Waao Partners, Survam Partners, and Sattva Group Family Office

As of now, the startup has raised over $20 million funding. Rajan Anandan, former MD of Google India and South East Asia, and many other industry veterans are also some of its marquee angel investors.

RENEE Cosmetics

Started in 2019 by Aashka Goradia Goble along with Beardo (later acquired by FMCG major) co-founder duo Ashutosh Valani and Priyank Shah, Ahmedabad-based Renee Cosmetics is a cruelty-free beauty brand offering a wide range of eye makeup, lip colours, skin serums and highlighters. 

The startup claims to have a portfolio of over 30 products across the categories like lips, nails, eyes and face and over 50 million people have been reached so far. It has sold over 2 million units since last year.

As per the brand, it is getting the highest traction from Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad for online purchase and for offline it is getting the traction in Guwahati, Ludhiana and Mumbai.

 

In February 2022, the beauty startup raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Mensa Brands along with active participation from the existing investors, including  Equanimity Investments and 9Unicorns. 

As of now, it has raised a total of $11 million including the current round. 

Last year in October, it secured $1.5 million in a pre-Series A round led by Equanimity Ventures and 9Unicorns, with participation from Titan Capital.

The startup plans to use the funds majorly in strengthening the brand presence and widening offline presence. A part of the fund will also be leveraged for catalogue expansion and marketing budgets.

At present, it claims to clock an ARR of Rs 60 crore and is all set to reach Rs 150 crore by the end of this fiscal year.

Earth Rhythm

Launched in 2019 by Harini Sivakumar and her father, Gurugram-based Earth Rhythm (formerly known as Soapworks India) offers professional-grade products in haircare, skincare, and makeup lines. The products are safe, non-toxic, sustainable, and biodegradable.

The startup claims that its products combine natural raw materials and science-backed formulations with a zero-waste philosophy, and each product formulation takes anywhere from months to years to perfect.

In April 2022, it raised $8 million from Nykaa in a Series A round, with participation from existing investor Anicut Capital.

In July last year, clean beauty personal care D2C brand also raised $1.2 million seed funding from Anicut Angel Fund, the equity arm of Anicut Capital.

CureSkin

Launched in 2017 by two former Google employees Guna Kakulapati and Rama Rajanna, and dermatologist Charu Sharma, Bengaluru-based CureSkinis providing AI-dermatologists on your smartphones.

It offers expert-designed personalised regimens through its technology platform. It claims that it has served users in the remotest regions across all states in India.

The app, which is available on Google Play store, enables users to take photos and instantly get AI analysis for acne, dark spots, pigmentation, wrinkles, and others for free. 

Its technology is built using a database of millions of images that detect skin conditions with high-level of accuracy across different skin types.

Once the analysis is complete, it prepares a personalised treatment that can be purchased through in-app transactions. The plan includes free diet and lifestyle guidance.

For users with good skin, the app suggests a dermatologist designed plan to maintain healthy skin and hair.

In March 2022, the beauty and personal care brand raised $5 million in a Series A round led by JSW Ventureswith participation from Sharrp Ventures, SenseAI Ventures, and other existing investors.

The startup plans to deploy these funds to grow its overall customer base, expand into adjacent categories and make further investments in technology.

(The copy has been updated to reflect that Smytten serves 15+ categories.)

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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