Mensa fastest to get unicorn tag

November 17, 2021 5:00 AM

Raises $135 million in funding round led by Alpha Wave Ventures, valuation hits $1 billion

In addition, it’ll invest in hiring across functions and continue building out its tech platform and other growth capabilities.

By Salman SH
Bengaluru-based Mensa Brands, which operates an umbrella of consumer brands, on Tuesday announced its Series B fundraise of $135 million led by Alpha Wave Ventures with participation from all existing investors, including Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management.

New investor Prosus Ventures (Naspers) also invested in Mensa in this latest funding round. The start-up is now valued at $1 billion post its Series B funding round, making it the fastest unicorn till date in the Indian start-up sector.

Within six months of starting the business, Mensa has raised a total of more than $300 million in equity and debt, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The start-up emulates a business model similar to US-based Thrasio, which acquires and manages around 100 independent Amazon sellers and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands. Thrasio is now valued at $9 billion and also reported a profit of $100 million on revenues of $500 million in the last financial year. The US-based company is reportedly eyeing the Indian market although it’s yet to finalise expansion plans.

Mensa Brands also claims to be profitable and intends to use the funding to continue partnering with founding teams of consumer brands and help them become household names. In addition, it’ll invest in hiring across functions and continue building out its tech platform and other growth capabilities.

Mensa kick-started its journey in May 2021 with plans to partner and invest in digital-first brands across fashion and apparel, home and garden, beauty and personal care and food and scale them exponentially. The start-up works closely with founding teams to accelerate growth on marketplaces, through the brand’s own websites, and global platforms by using a combination of initiatives across product, pricing, marketing, distribution, and brand building with a technology platform at the core.

To date, the company has partnered with 12 brands, and Mensa claims that the majority of which are growing at 100% y-o-y since their integration with Mensa.

“Our deep focus on technology and digital brand building, as well as our people, has allowed us to grow 3X of our initial plan and we at Mensa Brands are primed to build global breakout brands from India. I am especially proud that more than 50% of our brands are led by women founders and that Mensa supports small- and medium-sized businesses across the country,” said Ananth Narayanan, founder and CEO of Mensa Brands.

“Armed with exceptional prior leadership experience in two major businesses, Ananth has been able to build a top-class team and partner with more than 12 companies to embark on a journey of building a tech-first global house of brands from India. The speed and quality of execution has been impressive, and we are delighted to continue to back Mensa as it becomes the fastest unicorn in Asia,” added Niren Shah, managing director and head of Norwest Venture Partners India.

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