MM Retail Pvt Ltd, which runs the artificial jewellery retail business Youshine, has raised $1 million (Rs 5.5 crore) in its second round of angel funding. In February this year, the company had raised $0.5 million (Rs 2.5 crore) from two angel investors based in Switzerland. The same investors also invested in the fresh round.
The company will use the current round to expand its offline presence. It is expanding its footprint in the country, starting with the launch of a store (instead of a kiosk) in Bangalore early next month, which will be followed by a store in Mumbai by mid-December.
“A majority of the funds will be used in setting up the new stores in Bangalore and Mumbai. Apart from that, we are also looking at adding new categories on the site that include sunglasses and watches, etc.,” said Ashish Sood, co-founder, Youshine.
“We will also look at going deeper into our existing categories. For example, going forward, we will not only offer western style jewellery, but also include Indo-fusion style jewellery and Indian jewellery to the mix,” he added.
The Gurgaon-based startup was founded by the husband-wife duo Monika Pal and Ashish Sood in 2010. Youshine follows a hybrid business model and runs both brick-and-mortar outlets as well as an e-commerce portal. The company currently operates around 10 kiosks in various shopping malls in Gurgaon, Delhi and Punjab. Ashish said the kiosks have also been completely revamped.
Monika, a fashion designer, previously ran an apparel export business, while Ashish had earlier worked for companies like Shradha Outdoor Equipments Pvt Ltd and TrekSta India Pvt Ltd. He is an alumnus of Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, and also holds an MBA degree from IMD, Switzerland. He had used his alumni network to raise the capital for his startup.
Petter Binde, president of Mustad Hoofcare Centre, which deals in horse-riding equipment, along with another investor who manages a French family trust, have invested into the company. Both of them are classmates of Ashish.
The company essentially imports the jewellery and accessories from South East Asian countries and sells the products under the Youshine brand. While the company’s e-commerce portal was not fully functional as of February this year, it now has over 1,000 products on it. Ashish also claims that as of now, the company is adding 40 SKU’s to it on a weekly basis. In addition, the logo of the company has also been redesigned; same goes for the look and feel of the brand.
The company had also launched Youshine Girl, a product range aimed at girls in the age bracket of 6-12. While Ashish mentions that it is doing well, the company has decided against introducing the same online, because of its average selling price (ASP).
As of now, the company’s team size is around 23 people (including the founders), but it is looking to increase this number to 30. For logistics, the company has tied up with Aramex, DTDC, etc.
In another deal in the jewellery retail space, Accel Partners, Silicon Valley Bank (the subsidiary and commercial banking operation of SVB Financial Group) and K Ganesh, founder of TutorVista Global (now under the UK-based Pearson Group) invested up to $5 million in Bluestone.com, an online jewellery store run by Bangalore-based Jewels Online Distribution India Pvt Ltd in January this year.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)