Sumant Kasliwal, who quit ICICI Ventures last September, has launched his second e-commerce venture under the three-month-old startup Outletwise Retail Pvt Ltd. The new initiative is a high-end fashion and lifestyle portal.
Based in Mumbai, with a team of 12 on board, Outletwise went live in the last week of March. However, it is looking to scale up and will hire 10 more people within the next two months. Kasliwal, founder of the startup, has almost 17 years of experience in corporate strategy, business development and investments, and he had previously worked with Arthur Andersen, Star India, Microsoft and ICICI Ventures.
Outletwise offers a wide range of products including saris, suits & jackets, dresses, party shirts and tops, skirts & shorts, lingerie, home dÃ©cor items (paintings, photo frames, trays, bathroom sets, candle stands and bar accessories), shoes, kids' bags and even toys.
Talking to Techcircle.in, Kasliwal said, "Outletwise is a platform for offline designers and prÃªt label shops interested in selling online." Designers bring the products and decide the pricing while Outletwise takes care of branding, marketing, backend and technical assistance.
"There are stores whose physical presence is pretty strong with a healthy clientele, but who are not too keen to invest much on online marketing. Moreover, getting traffic for a single brand is also difficult. Hence, this platform is helping them promote their products," he said.
A self-funded company right now, Outletwise may look at external funding only after six months. "Now we want to focus on building the product, the brand and a respectable customer base," said Kasliwal.
Targeting the premium segment, Outletwise claims that its average ticket size is between Rs 5000 and Rs 10,000. However, order volumes are negligible at present. Currently, the site has partnered with 25 stores, but keeps adding one every alternate day. The e-com firm aims to partner with 150-200 stores within the next 2-3months. It would be interesting to see how the economics works for a high-value, low-volume e-tailer like Outletwise.
The new site is bound to face competition from various other lifestyle portals selling similar items. Among these are Fashionandyou, 99labels, Freecultr, Heaven & Home, Rooja and SherSingh besides the horizontal e-com firms who have also added apparel and home dÃ©cor products.
Last year, Kasliwal quit the private equity firm ICICI Venture, along with Satya Raghavan and Anthony Thottungal, to launch SkoolShop, a niche e-commerce site for school and education-related products. It also raised an undisclosed seed funding from Jaspreet Bindra, Microsoft India's regional director of retail, entertainment and devices division, and Rajan Anandan, an active angel investor and currently the managing director of Google India.