Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal-backed platform wants to become content-to-commerce solution for sneakerheads in India

Backed by Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal and Bollywood musician Badshah, Mumbai-based Mainstreet Marketplace is a resale platform that sells high-end sneakers and luxury apparel along with a content vertical to drive sales.

Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal-backed platform wants to become content-to-commerce solution for sneakerheads in India

Thursday August 31, 2023,

4 min Read

Over the last few years, sneakers have gone from being a commodity to a cultural symbol, depicting youth and hype. From the Nike Air Jordans to New Balance, ‘sneakerheads’ are jumping on the bandwagon to own the hyped and celebrity-endorsed pairs of shoes. 

Mainstreet Marketplace, a multi-brand resale platform selling the world’s most popular sneakers, has created a niche ecosystem to foster the sneaker culture in India.

“The fanfare around sneakers in India picked up just a few years ago. I wanted to build something that caters to this demand that is niche yet cool. That’s how Mainstreet came about,” Vedant Lamba, the 24-year-old founder of Mainstreet, tells YourStory.

Lamba started a YouTube channel in 2017 to document what he did in his daily life—from visualising business ideas to talking about life goals—while he was building three different businesses dealing in content and sneakers. The YouTube channel had no clear vision for nearly two years, but helped Lamba get clarity on the business he wanted to focus on. 

“After my co-founders exited, I decided to hive off learnings from my YouTube channel to build Mainstreet full time,” Lamba says.

This was also the time when Lamba—a sneakerhead himself—recognised the glaring gaps in the luxury apparel industry in the country. For one, the demand exceeds supply because brands often underestimate the power of an affluent Indian consumer, he says.

“Why should a luxury goods fanatic have to visit international websites or stores to purchase a product? Why not create a homegrown website for them?” asks Lamba.

Started in 2017, Mainstreet, today, hosts a catalogue of over 3,000 products including sneakers, t-shirts and hoodies (commonly called streetwear among Gen Z consumers). 

With a monthly revenue of Rs 5 crore, the Mumbai-based startup recently raised a seed funding of $2 million from a clutch of investors including First Lap (led by Zomato Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal), Zerodha Co-founder Nikhil Kamath, and Abhijeet Pai’s venture fund Gruhas Proptech. Bollywood musician Badshah and content creator Tanmay Bhat also participated in the round, helping Mainstreet cement its position in the minds of status-driven consumers.

“We have exclusively served several renowned celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, and Karan Johar. There is celebrity appeal in these products and it helps draw in customers,” Lamba says.

The sneakers market in India was pegged at $2.46 billion in terms of revenue in 2022 and is projected to grow by about 9% annually, as per data by Statista. Globally, the market generated revenue worth $72 billion in 2022, nearly 30 times more than India’s.

“The numbers are proof that the sneakers market has tremendous potential to grow in India as the consumers are aspirational,” according to Lamba.

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Content to commerce

The 50-member startup primarily runs on a customer-to-business-to-customer model, much like eBay, OLX, and Cars24.

Customers who wish to sell their high-end sneakers can list their product on Mainstreet, while the company charges a commission to resell.

With an average ticket size of Rs 20,000, Mainstreet not only wants to resell sneakers but also wants to use its content to educate potential consumers about the sneaker and luxury apparel culture through the involvement of eminent personalities such as boAt Lifestyle’s Founder and CEO Aman Gupta and Bollywood Actor Harshvardhan Kapoor.

Mainstreet’s YouTube channel currently has over one lakh subscribers, according to Lamba, who adds that the content engagement often leads to sales on the website.

“We aim to become a content-to-commerce community which will work very well for a commodity like sneakers which is built on hype,” Lamba says.

Mainstreet competes with the likes of VegNonVeg, Superkicks, SoleSearch, and Flatheads. However, Lamba believes that Mainstreet has the “best in class supply chain and an operation bigger than what anybody else has built in the space”.

With two stores in Mumbai, Mainstreet now aims to expand its offline presence by setting up four more physical outlets by the end of the year. “The touch and feel of the sneaker adds flavour to the shopping experience, especially in a sector built on the back of hype and FOMO (fear of missing out),” Lamba notes.

Mainstreet has sold roughly 50,000 sneakers till date with Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad making up for the top cities in terms of sales. The startup logged a revenue of Rs 24 crore in FY23 and expects sales to cross Rs 100 crore by the end of FY24.

“We are building a niche for the aspirational consumers in India. It will come with its own challenges, but we’re willing to be patient and ensure we grow sustainably,” Lamba adds.

(The story has been rectified to reflect that Mainstreet raised a seed round of $2M and not pre-seed.)

Edited by Megha Reddy