Bluestone, PE funds in talks to raise $50 m Ratan Tata-backed online jewellery retailer Bluestone.com is in talks to raise close to $50 million from a set of private equity (PE) investors, two sources familiar with the development told FE. Among the prospective investors are General Atlantic (GA), New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Iron Pillar, the sources indicated, reports Deborshi Chaki in Mumbai.
While the extent of stake sale is not clear yet, it is understood that some of Bluestone.com’s current investors may sell a part of their stakes. These include Saama Capital, Kalaari Capital, IvyCap Ventures, Accel Partners and Dragoneer Investment Group, a San Francisco firm. Emails sent to Bluestone.com, Saama Capital and Kalaari Capital did not elicit any response till the time of going to press. Bluestone raised $5 million in 2012 in a Series A round from Accel Partners followed by another $10 million in a Series B round from Kalaari Capital, Accel Partners and Saama Capital.
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It raised another $16 million from IvyCap Ventures along with its existing investors.
Co-founded by Gaurav Khushwaha and Vidya Natarajan in 2011, Bluestone competes with the likes of Caratlane.com. In May this year, the Tata Group-promoted Titan picked up a stake of nearly 80% in Caratlane.com. Moreover, US hedge fund Tiger Global had invested $31 million in Caratlane in January last year.
Bluestone Jewellery and Lifestyle, which houses the business, earned revenues of Rs 59.83 crore in FY15, as per Registrar of Companies filings, compared with Rs 17.04 crore in the previous year. However, the losses in FY15 of Rs 42.82 crore were double those in the previous year. In an interview to news agency PTI in March this year, the firm’s COO Arvind Singhal said the firm clocked annual revenues of Rs 250 crore in 2015-16. The company is understood to be catering to 5,500-7,000 orders a month, with an average ticket size of about Rs 25,000.
Several online jewellers have attracted investments from PE and VC players. According to a recent AT-Kearney study, the Indian jewellery market is expected to touch close to Rs 5.3 lakh crore by 2018 and the market share of branded jewellery is expected to more than double from the existing 20%.
In October 2014, Warbug Pincus invested close to Rs 1,200 crore in Kerala-based Kalyan Jewellers for an undisclosed stake. SAIF partners invested $13 million in Kolkata-based Senco Gold in October. Caratlane and Bluestone have managed to raise steady funding rounds in quick succession.