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Ananth Narayanan’s Mensa Brands bags $50 Mn in Series A round

Mensa Brands has raised $50 million in its Series A round led by Accel Partners, Falcon Edge Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. Prominent angel investors such as Kunal Shah, Mukesh Bansal, Rahul Mehta of DST Global and Scott Shleifer of Tiger Global have also participated in the round.

The funding round in the Ananth Narayanan-led startup also has some debt components from Alteria Capital and InnoVen Capital. Narayanan has previously served as the CEO of Myntra-Jabong from 2015 to 2019 and then joined Medlife as its CEO. He left Medlife in March 2021 after its merger with PharmEasy.

Based on the model of US-based Thrasio, Perch and Branded, Mensa acquires brands that are primarily sold through e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. It partners and invests in online-first brands and scales them exponentially. 

According to Mensa, it will acquire more than 50 brands across categories including home, garden, apparel, personal care and beauty. The company would be looking at brands that have annual revenues of between Rs 10 crore to Rs 70 crore. 

Accelerating the scale of mid-size brands on Amazon has been attracting notable interest from investors in the US.

Thrasio has raised over $1 billion in the last three years and acquired more than 100 brands whereas Target Global, Tiger Global and others have led a $150 million round in Branded and brought it out of its stealth mode. 

On similar lines, the model is also hot in India and besides Mensa, FirstCry is also eyeing to raise $75 million from SoftBank, TPG Capital, ChrysCapital and Premji Invest to mirror Thrasio.

Goat Brands Labs, a similar startup launched by former Flipkart’s executive Rishi Vasudev, was reportedly in talks to raise about $20 million in its first round of funding led by Tiger Global.

Going forward, more companies in this space are expected to raise funds. In February, Powerhouse, a new venture launched by co-founders of women hygiene brand Azah, had raised an undisclosed round from Titan Capital. 

Entrackr had exclusively reported Titan Capital’s investment in Powerhouse.

It’s worth noting that Mensa will be the third investment in India for Shleifer in his personal capacity. Previously, Shleifer had backed social commerce platform DealShare. According to Entrackr’s sources, he has also invested in DealShare’s competitor CityMall through a secondary deal.

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