Excl: Myntra.com co-founder and CEO Mukesh Bansal says IPO possible in 2-3 years

Excl: Myntra.com co-founder and CEO Mukesh Bansal says IPO possible in 2-3 years

Bangalore-based Myntra Designs Pvt Ltd, which runs the lifestyle e-commerce site Myntra.com, was founded in 2007 as a customised gift printing company. It transitioned to a lifestyle e-commerce company about two years back. So far it has received $40 million from investors, with the last round worth $20 million being led  by Tiger Global. Its other investors are Accel Partners, IDG Ventures and Kalaari Capital (earlier called as Indo-US Ventures).

In November 2012, the e-com major closed its first acquisition by buying Exclusively.in Inc., the company behind the private label brand Shersingh.com and the fashion site Exclusively.in. Mukesh Bansal, its co-founder and CEO, told Techcircle.in that the company is looking at more acquisitions this year. He also had disclosed earlier that the company is in final stages of closing a second deal of a non-e-com startup (more on that here).

In a candid interview with Techcircle.in, Bansal talks about the expansion prospects of the etailer, his views on the marketplace model and possibility of a listing in the near future.

Excerpts:

After acquiring Sher Singh, a private label, how are you positioning Myntra's own private label that you launched recently? Will you do away with Sher Singh's brand any time soon?

Private label is a big bet for us and we will continue to expand. Since last four months, the team from Sher Singh have been integrated at Myntra and we are leveraging the talent for designing our own private label brand as well as fashion communication and content for marketing of our new collections.

On Sher Singh's brand, we believe a lot in it and we would retain it. It is among our top three private label brands. The moment we added it, sales picked up immediately. There is a lot of demand for that brand.

What more mergers or acquisitions can we expect from Myntra?

We will approach this very opportunistically. We are in talks with many companies. We may not do many acquisitions, but we are looking at various firms. We may do acquisitions either based on very specific technological capabilities or niche verticals, where someone dominates a particular sub category affiliated to the overall category of fashion and lifestyle.

Which are the sub categories that have scope for acquisition for Myntra?

If you look at fashion and lifestyle more broadly, categories like cosmetics, jewellery and innerwear are all of interest. Some of them we are developing on our own. If we find any niche player who has a very strong expertise, it would probably make sense for us to buy it.

What is your vision for expansion in existing categories?

Women's ethnic wear is a big focus for us. You will see a lot of action from our side on that. We would be launching a private label in women ethnic wear very soon and also expanding our product portfolio. Women in general are a huge focus area for us for now.

So, overall you plan to stick to your focus on fashion and lifestyle segment?

Yes absolutely. We believe the market is very good and unit economics is very good in this category. We dominate this category so we want to continue our focus on it.

Marketplace model is the new buzz word these days for e-com. What is your take on it?

I think it is very early to say. It has some pros and cons of its own. On paper, it seems very suitable from the business point of view. Since working capital is not there, you can expand product portfolio, etc. But there are challenges from customers' point of view -- whether the whole assortment will make sense for consumers, who will ensure the quality of products and such issues. Customer experience is also questionable. I would reiterate that it is still early days. A lot of companies are going into this model and we have consciously decided not to. We would just see how it evolves. It is certainly not on our priority for next 6-12 months.

What about your next round of funding? When is that planned?

We raised a round of funding in June last year and for now we are very well capitalised. There is no plan to raise funds for the next 18 months.

Do you see Myntra as a listed company 3 years from now?

Our ambition is to be the largest fashion and lifestyle etailer in India and we think we have got a very credible shot at that. We will continue to focus on that and build our expertise further. And yes, definitely an IPO is possible 2-3 years down the line.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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