Sparkling story of BlueStone – from 200 to 5,000 designs across 14 categories
Started in the year 2011 with around 300 jewellery designs, BlueStone today has over 5,000 designs across 14 categories. BlueStone, a Bengaluru-based online jewellery startup, offers jewellery under its own brand name.
Since its inception, BlueStone never wanted to become a marketplace, which made it distinct from other similar players in the market. Therefore, it has established its own manufacturing unit in Mumbai, which employs around 100 people.
Gaurav Singh Kushwaha says,
We are not going to be a marketplace to expand the designs and we are very particular about that. Currently, we have more than 400 employees.”
Gaurav, a computer science graduate from IIT Delhi, started his entrepreneurial journey in the year 2006 with Chakpak.com. The urge to do something new made him start BlueStone. According to Gaurav, CEO and Founder of BlueStone, though e-commerce as a sector was booming during those days, jewellery as a category was relatively untouched and that posed an opportunity for him.
The venture has attracted an initial investment of $5 million from renowned VC firm Accel Partners and serial entrepreneur Meena Ganesh. In 2015, BlueStone had raised Rs 100 crore in its third round of funding led by Accel Partners, IVY Capital, and Dragoneer, with participation from Kalaari Capital and Saama Capital. Earlier in September 2014, Ratan Tata had also invested in the company.
Currently, BlueStone claims to have more than two million users and receives 5,000–10,000 orders per month. With the current revenue run rate of Rs 80–100 crore per annum, BlueStone claims to have grown by 150 per cent year-on-year.
While BlueStone has grown quite rapidly, it faces stiff competition. Tiger Global-backed CaratLane has much higher firepower in the form of funding raised. In January 2015, the Chennai-based company raised $31 million in Series-D funding. However, both the players have not opted to out-discount each other in this high-value segment. Apart from CaratLane, marketplaces like Flipkart and Snapdeal too retail precious jewellery. More traditional players like Tanishq and regional offline majors like GRT Jewellers have also gone online adding to the competition. Considering the entrenched competition, how will BlueStone fare is the million-dollar question. BlueStone will need to work hard to differentiate itself from the rest of the market. It will also need to raise higher amounts of risk capital to fund its growth, especially since CaratLane has got Tiger in its corner. This high-value battle will be interesting to watch.
Camera Person: H Rukmangada Raja
Video Editor: Anand